Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What I'm Currently Watching 11/22/11

What I'm Currently Watching...

Ok so, its been over a year sense I've done this last, and I figured with all the new stuff on the air, I feel I need to just get around to doing this again, plus, its either this or watching Jerry Springer's gameshow Baggage on Gameshow Network at the moment, so really, it can't hurt to get a list out, plus its been forever sense I've done a list, as Mojo likes to point out. Anyway, enough rambling, here we go... Oh and I should point out, I'm listing stuff separately, current airing, on break and ended..

Currently Airing Programing:


Sons of Anarchy (US)
Bones (US)
Packed To The Rafters (AU)
House (US)
Burn Notice (US)
Wild Boys (AU)
Hell On Wheels (US)
Boardwalk Empire (US)
The Slap (AU)
Pan Am (US)
Love/Hate (Ireland)
Downtown Abby (UK)
Top Boy (UK)


The Simpsons (US)
Glee (US)
Being Erica (CA)
Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia (US)
Family Guy (US)
The Cleveland Show (US)
American Dad (US)
Heart of Dixie (US)
Auckland Daze (NZ)
the New Girl (US)
Raising Hope (US)
Suburgatory (US)
Threesome (UK)
InSecurity (CA)
Housos (AU)
Rev (UK)
Outnumbered (UK)
Him and Her (UK)
Meet Your Neighbors (Ireland)
This is Jinsy (UK)

Sci Fi:

Sanctuary (US)
Fringe (US)
Saor Sinn รณ Olc (Ireland)
Thundercats (US/JAP)
Misfits (UK)
Terra Nova (US)
Grimm (US)
Once Upon A Time (US)
the Walking Dead (US)
American Horror Story (US)
Young Justice (US)
Death Valley (US)
Lost Girl (CA)
Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil (CA)


Ghost Hunters (US)
Pawn Stars (US)
The X-Factor (US ver.)
Kitchen Nightmares (US ver.)


Shows On Break I'm Rewatching:

The Fades (UK)
Doctor Who (UK)
Torchwood (UK/US)
Underbelly (AU)
Underbelly NZ (NZ)
Haven (US)
Being Human (UK and US)
Bedlam (UK)
Fallen Skies (US)
Warehouse 13 (US)
Eureka (US)
Alphas (US)
Primeval (UK)
True Blood (US)
Beaver Falls (UK)
Slide (AU)
Raw (Ireland)
Skins (UK)
Justified (US)
Nothing Trivial (NZ)
This Is Not My Life (NZ)
The Yard (CA)
Awkward (US)
TwentySomething (AU)
Top Gear (UK and US)
The Almighty Johnsons (NZ)
Trivia (Ireland)
Weeds (US)
Wilfred (US)


Ended Programing I'm Rewatching:

Afterlife (UK)
Trailer Park Boys (CA)
Reaper (US)
Burying Brian (NZ)
Boys From The Black Stuff (UK)
Land Of The Giants (UK)
The 4400 (US)
Demons (UK)
Kath and Kim (AU)
The Muppet Show (US/UK)
The Witcher (Poland)
Survivors [both 1977 and 2008] (UK)
The Champions (UK)
Honey West (US)
The Middleman (US)
Twin Peaks (US)
Sinchroncity (UK)
Hex (UK)
The Champions (UK)
Thunderbirds (UK)
Captain Scarlett And The Mysterons From Mars (UK)
Satisfaction (AU)
Outrageous Fortune (NZ)
The Drunk And On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour (CA)
Suburban Shootout (UK)
10 Things I Hate About You (US)
Rabbit Fall (CA)
Wilfred (AU)
Durham County (CA)
Huge (US)
Legend (Ireland)
Pulling Moves (Ireland)
The Alice (AU)
Secret Diary Of A Call Girl (UK)
Marchland (UK)
Top Gear (AU/RUS)

ok well I'm watching alot of older shows right now... this list could take awhile

Anyway, thats it for now, hope some of you have found some shows you didn't know i watched, or are curious about, so feel free to ask away...



Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Reality Shock 10/30/2011

The Reality Shock 2.0:
Issue #3: ..Like A God Fire Phoenix I Rise..

Welcome back once again my dear friends to the show that never truly ends, mostly because whenever I feel I've had enough, somehow, someway, sometimes through funky ass shit that happens every single day, and sometimes by means of afew loyal followers (by which I mean mostly my friend Ashley) reminding me that its been so very long sense I've sat down and wrote out one of my much beloved sermons of truth and blunt honesty. I have to admit, I had a feeling I might not be so good at this after about a year or so break, but I'm surprised to discover that not only am I feeling the energy flowing like I used too, but I'm feeling like everything is old times all over again, which is really pretty good, cuz they were good times, atleast I thought they were, but hey I could be wrong. I do know one thing though, after a year off, and the 6 prior years of writing this soliloquy of serendipity, I still have no real clue how to write a proper opening paragraph. Amazing how somethings never change no matter how long of a gap you have to bridge isn't it?

Alright, with that out of the way, lets get down to it, shall we? And away we go... A'room'a'zoom'zoom!!

So the first things first, I wanna address a movie that a lot of people have been asking me my opinion on, now, I do get asked about many things still all this time after letting my pulpit of truth fade into obscurity, and sense I've brought this out of retirement, I figure I'll answer one of the most recent and most persistent questions I've been getting, and that is, being the big Shakespeare fan that I am, what is it I think of the upcoming movie Anonymous”, where in we are expected to believe that the great bard himself, William Shakespeare, was infact a fraud, a sort of Milli Vanili of his time, with the real writer of his work being The Earl Of Oxford, who believes that his writing deserves to be shared, but feels if he were to present it himself, it would only be heralded because of his status, instead of the actual talent. Now, though I understand the logic of that sort of theory, there has never been anything supporting this theory other then the theory itself, which though often debated over the last 30 or so years sense it was first put forward, there has never really, to my knowledge, never really been anything to support it, other then the original idea itself, which though a fun debate among classic literature lovers of the world, has never really been much more then that, a fun debate, until now. Now, as for my ideas and beliefs on this, though I will more then likely find the film to be a well acted, well written, beautiful bit of briefly controversial film, I believe it will be nothing more then just that, a film of fictional record, I've always been of the belief that Shakespeare is, as he always will be, one of the greatest writers of all time, maybe I'm too stuck in my ways, but I just can't believe one of the greatest dreamers that never quit dreaming, was basically Cyrano De Bergerac with out the giant penis nose, and played for the whole world to love, not just one woman. Its just not possible. But I am sure the film will be great though, and I look forward to seeing it.

Speaking of period based films, Ukrainian goddess Milla Jovovich, who normally is one of the most easy going and friendly people in the acting world, taken it upon herself to call out the film studio releasing her recent action/adventure steampunk like revision of The Three Musketeers, for their lack of proper advertizing of the film. Saying its ment to be more of a family friendly action adventure instead of a balls to the wall action film thats not for all ages. She has been taking to every media she can to state this. Some might find it in bad taste that an actor is speaking badly of the studio in the promotion for the film, but infact, going by what many critics are saying, she has a point, and this isn't a case of a star trying to incite bad blood between them and the studio, much like Richard Dreyfus did when he called out both Oliver Stone and Lionsgate films for not “hitting hard enough and making the world feel bad for George W. Bush” in the film “W” the George W. Bush biopic where Dreyfus played Vice President Dick Chaney, Milla simply wishes to show that her film is being mistreated by the studio, and she's just trying to save the film from ruin. What makes this case sad is, the film did bomb here in the states, though it did well everywhere else, and the studio is trying to make it out like Milla's questioning of their way of promoting the film is why it bombed, because they felt letting her promote the film with such an attitude, would be bad for them, which really is a shame, because the film is actually really good. It also looks bad on Milla Jovovich, who, in all honesty is possibly one of the nicest, respectful, friendliest of all the famous person I've ever come across, seriously she answers every single twitter, facebook comment, direct message, facebook PM, sent by every single fan, as long as its not lude or insulting or disrespectful ofcourse, she even goes out of her way to bring us all into her daily life, posting pictures of her kids and husband and her doing the silliest and cutest things, or video or pictures from the set of whatever film she's working on, and talking about how she loves sharing it all with the world as she does. Making someone that nice and caring to her fans look bad really just makes the studio look like shit, specially sense she was right.

Speaking of Milla's level of interaction with her fans, in my year off, I've discovered Twitter with alittle trail and error, learned that its not the waistland of endless self whoring like I figured it would be, infact I've discovered that many a famous person who's on twitter is a lot like Milla, taking the time to interact with their fans as much as possible, it kind of amazes me really, sure most of them are from outside of the United States, but still, the point remains, fame is fame, and here in America, its unheard of for a star to personally interact with their fans via social media, sure you get ones like Ashton Kutcher who doesn't so much interact with the fans so much as preach to them and preside over them, or Courtney Love who doesn't so much interact, so much as post drunken pictures of herself mostly naked or wearing something skimpy, but there is really no attempt to interact with the fans like they're people. I was amazed at the idea of this, and I figured sense as I writing this, I was having a conversation about this very thing with my charity case homeboy Mojo, I would share it all with you as well. And after a small amount of twitter and facebook stalkery as well as fumbling through my half wrong attempts at other languages, i've gathered that other then each country's super huge high end megastars, most famous people the world over, are very nice and respectful and friendly, as long as you are the same to them. When I talk about this, I always mention Lauren Socha, BAFTA winner for best supporting actress for her role as Kelly Bailey on the amazingly good sci fi dramedy Misfits, who literally lets her fans into every single part of her daily life, often sending pictures of herself and her family and friends, or her dog out to the masses, as well as often putting on her webcam via twitter and talking with the fans for hours, often with her friends, cast mates, her family, at random times during her day, sometimes even while sitting in bed when she can't sleep, she's covered up respectfully before you pervs get the wrong idea, she always answers questions about the show, what she's doing, what her brother who is going to be a semi regular on the next series of Being Human is doing, afew times even asked for fans to sell her a car, and offering to send a weekend afternoon having lunch and watching football (soccer to us americans) with anyone in Derbyshire who could get a good friend of hers who had been fired a job, even giving out her mobile number afew times for the fans, even promoting her show by stating if she can, she'll be live tweeting and using her cam to interact with fans during each episode of the upcoming series of misfits. That kind of full access is completely unheard of here.

There are a lot of others who are just as interactive with the fanbase the world over, I just use Lauren as an example because I find myself laughing at how far into her life she tries to integrate her fans to make everyone feel like they truly know her. Steve Pizzati of the now canceled Top Gear Australia is the same way, though his mostly involves him posting videos of him driving high end supercars around exotic racetracks stuff, which is great, but just rubs salt in the wound of people like me, who actually liked the aussie version of Top Gear and wish they'd keep making it, oddly, the loss of the russian version of Top Gear, which I also enjoyed, doesn't sting as much. Ah well, thats how it goes in life I guess.

By the way, if anyone who hasn't yet, and would like to follow me on twitter, you can at @ThisBrokenMind which some of you might take as me poking some fun at the fact most people think I'm crazy, but its actually shortened from the line “I am trapped here in this broken mind, and all I can ask is just be kind, to me.” a line some of you might know from the Molly Venter song “Good Mother” about watching her other slowly lose her sanity and memories as she got old. Speaking of Twitter accounts to follow, you all should give my friend Rose a follow as well at @EloquentParrot she mostly drops stone cold bits of truth about UK current affairs shows and provides hilariously truthful and blunt commentary on the UK version of The X-Factor, but its still rather entertaining, plus she can totally use the followers. Anyone else I know with a twitter account, don't get upset I'm not ignoring your accounts, I just haven't gotten your permission to plug yours, out of respect I won't do that kind of thing without y'alls permission or knowledge.

Now that I've mentioned it, all of you who are wondering what I think of the American version of The X-Factor, don't worry I plan on getting to it in length in abit, I just have afew other other things I'd like to mention before hand, so stay tuned faithful readers... or you know, skip down if you wish, it'll be there either way if you wait and read the rest of just jump then read back.. or if you go and make a sammich then come back and read the rest. Damn its 3:45am why am I craving a sammich?

Anyway, on to other things...

I'd like to give you all a heads up on an upcoming little known and little talked about film called “Chronicle”, which I'm betting could be the next District 9 type of sleeper. By which I mean people will dismiss as looking brilliant and having a brilliant concept, but they'll wait till it comes to dvd/blu ray/on demand to watch it, then they'll kick themselves for not shelling out the cash for theaters because of how amazing and wonderful the film is. Chronicle, is the story of three Portland Oregon based teenagers, who while recording themselves goofing about in the woods outside of town, are all exposed to a mysterious chemical they happen across, and as they go around their days videoing themselves as teenagers tend to do incase something is oddly youtube worthy, they start to develop superpowers given to them by the chemicals in the woods, the film goes from lazy loser teenagers mucking about with a handicam, to the story of three teenagers working together to train themselves in how to use their new found powers, and how they slowly start to turn on each other as well. The film is shot like Cloverfield, meaning first person view, so you feel you're right there in the middle of everything, a style that most seem to dislike for some reason, but I personally love to death, because of the surreality of how it puts you in the scene, while breaking the 4th wall, with out really breaking the 4th wall. Look for it February 3rd of 2012.

Why are people making such a big deal out of the suit for Catwoman in the upcoming Batman: The Dark Knight Rises? Yes it looks like a generic sneaking suit with knee boots, but do you people not realize, that Catwoman never started out to be a master thief? The character of Selena Kyle was originally a hooker who wanted a certain necklace so bad she decided to steal it from a high end jewelery store, and she discovered in the process, she had a nack for theft, and thats how Catwoman was born, she didn't start out in the more commonly known and perfectly named leather catsuit, infact if you look into the comics, she didn't wear the trademark catsuit until AFTER the 1960s Batman tv show that starred Adam West decided to make the character into the definition of female supervillain sexy, infact Catwoman wasn't even that major of a villain until that show made her as such, and also, female villains weren't really written as sexy and flirty toward others until that show put the idea forward as well. So everyone bitching that the Catwoman suit that we've all seen on set pictures of so far looks cheap and unimaginative, remember, not every character starts out in the suit we all know of them in, but by the end, they end up in them, so shut up and wait to see what happens, you'll get to see Anne Hathoway in skin tight leather and Emma Peel sized knee boots soon enough.... perverts.

So before we continue, I have to eat abit of humble pie, which for those interested, tastes abit like Shepard's Pie, but the kind with carrots in it, not the awesome kind with corn, peas and bacon. Also, if I offended you by not referencing the type of shepard's pie you're used too, oh well, it literally changes from town to town and region to region all over america and the united kingdom, even if its a traditional united kingdom dish. Anyway... I have to eat some humble pie, because as many of you are aware, I've many times stated I refused to go anywhere near the scripted original programing produced by MTV, no I don't just mean the “reality” shows that are totally scripted, or their “documentaries” I mean the actual scripted programing, after they ruined their chance to make a daring ambitious take on UK cult series Skins, and that horrible horrible attempt at making 1980s cult crapfest Teen Wolf, which according to Kayla Patterson ripped off Twilight 20 years before Twilight was published, because everyone knows Stephanie Meyer created werewolves and vampires, into girlwank fodder for Team Jacob, and after their much hyped The Hard Times Of R.J Burger fell flat of the target, and countless other attempts I'm probably forgetting thanks to expensive therapy, I must admit, after all of that, MTV has actually put out afew quality programs, three infact, which I feel are in need of mention; Death Valley, which is basically Cops, but set in a town over run with zombies, oh sure you'd think the idea would get tired rather quickly, but amazingly it doesn't, but then again, honestly, who doesn't love killing zombies? Another actual hit they have is the show Awkward, which is basically the tv version of the amazing but overlooked movie Easy A, both of which seemed overlooked by most, but truly are enjoyable. And ofcourse, the biggest highlight I have to mention, infact if I don't my friend Ashley will hang me from a tree and toss rocks at me, is ofcourse the relauch of Beavis and Butthead, which thankfully, didn't show its age, nor did it cross the line to straight up pandering to bring back fans, their relaunch had no frog baseball, nor did it have Cornholeo roaming about, it just established them back where they belonged, mocking music videos (and now reality shows too) and pop culture in general. I can't believe I'm about to say this but, good job MTV, you're officially now ahead of NBC and CBS in my “get out of the television shithouse” program.

You know, when I did my skit with the cast of Jersey Shore when I was hosing the prime time emmy awards, we had to constantly change the script, not to make if funnier, but because those wacky macaroni rascals couldn't pronounce certain words. Serious, I'm not kidding, if you saw my skit with them, I played a mafia liaison, but because none of them could say the word “liaison”, we changed it to they would simply refer to me as The Godmother... I know it made it abit trite to some, but god bless those guidos, they tried as hard as they could, they just couldn't say that word to save their lives.... not even that little orange one that looks like a cabbage patch kid...” - Jane Lynch of the hit series Glee on her dealings with the cast of Jersey Shore.

Lindsey Lohan working in a morgue is the most hilarious thing I've ever had the privilege of picturing in my head, whichever judge in LA made that happen, I thank you. I thank you hardcore. I thank him almost as much as I thank the person who thought the idea of the show H8R, where Z-List famous people spend a day trying to convince someone that called them names on the internet they're good people... shame it got canceled three episodes in.

Some movies you all should check out if you haven't yet; Rubber; the story of a tire that lives in the outer area of Lancaster California, is named Robert and one day, not only becomes self aware and alive, but also discovers that it has an unyielding need to kill as it rolls across the California sands heading toward LA, and somewhere along the way stops to watch a lot of classic car tv shows, movies and classic nascar. Attack The Block; a British attempt at a ghetto vs. aliens film, which starts off abit silly and kind of dumb, but after the first 15 minutes picks up and becomes one of the most delightful films I've seen in the whole humans vs. aliens genre in a long time, plus it helped me get the bad taste of the film Skyline out of my memory, which was a much needed scrubbing, plus there is talks of making a tv series based on it, which I could honestly see working, not for long, but maybe a 6 episode run with as much of the original cast as I can.

Some Television you all should check out; The Fades; a story of humans with angelic powers who fight to prevent the end of the world brought about the undead, its perfect Halloween time watching. Bedlem; a UK series about a mental hospital being turned into an apartment complex, its losely based on the former Danvers Mental Institution, one of the most horrific places in america, that was turned into a high end apartment complex. Once Upon A Time; a rather interesting and dark twist on fairy tales set in smalltown Maine. A little side note about The Fades, if you saw the rather well made and delightfully trashy Stanley Park pilot from BBC last year, and you're as clever as me, you'll notice the neighborhood where they do the exterior shots of one of the character's homes, is the exact same neighborhood where that pilot was shot.

You know, I will admit, after much shock and teasing by every woman I know for the fact I didn't know Zachary Quinto, one of my favorite actors of the modern era is totally gay till he came out of the closet last week, I will say this, after seeing his Halloween costume he posted on his twitter, I would have known. Seriously, if you've not seen him dressed as “new york city's fireworks on july 4th” go hit up his twitter (giggity), seriously its the most hilariously gay thing ever, Check it out once you stop laughing at the fact I said “hit up his twitter” in a serious tone and with a straight face.

Everyone keeps telling me I should love Terra Nova, its got everything one could want; dinosaurs, adventure, that guy from Avatar everyone thinks is a good actor for some reason.. but I just can't fully get into it, I just keep looking at it and thinking of things they did wrong, like not bringing back proper building materials and equipment, or proper scientists who have actual knowledge of dinosaurs and what would be found in a world like that, or how they seem to have no issue at all destroying an entire other timeline that they know nothing at all of, because, you know, fuck those guys and their reality, no one cares about them, they can go to the shitty deny's on the other side of town from now on. All of it just adds up to me having a giant question mark and the word “Hmm..” over my head about the show. Also, I'm not that impressed with what will probably be the final season of House so far either.

I don't really care what anyone says, I'm super excited about the upcoming new movie starring The Muppets, plus I seriously love the spoof trailers, Epic. Now if I could only get someone to look at my Fraggle Rock movie script....

I know a lot of you are wondering about this, so I'll put all your wondering to rest, YES I am super excited about The Avengers the more set photos and clips I see, I love that they aren't really putting much info out there other then that they're united to fight against Loki and his trickery. I'm also rather excited that word has come down that all the ties that bind these recent marvel movies together leading up to The Avengers, will continue to bind them all together after they come together, plus word that Avengers 2 will have a different cast but cameos by the current ones, I seriously can't wait. Seriously though, Marvel Studios, buy back the rights to Spiderman, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, and all the stray little kittens that are out there split among other studios, you need a full shared film universe, not just half of it. Plus, the marvel universe isn't the same without Peter Parker swinging around NYC, or mentions of Reed Richards inventing things, or the mention of mutants and the x-men in general, or even The Punisher and DareDevil running about the city working overtime, fighting crime, fighting crime. Plus with marvel putting out statements they feel their movies are chapters in movie sized comic books, and plan on using them as such, and that they wish to tell key storylines on the big screen, the awesome sauce is just amazing right now. So excited.

I might get flack for this, but, I would watch an entire episode of The Cleveland Show where you follow Cleveland Brown Jr. around all day just seeing what his day is like.

Alrighty, so as promised, once I finished everything else I had to say this week, I would spread forth my thoughts on the American take on the UK megahit series The X-Factor. And though I had thought of maybe just ignoring it and maybe writing about something else, like, how I hate there are 8 tv shows on tv about cake making at the moment, or 4 about midgets, or how I think its stupid the Hillsborough County Prison, where we keep pedophiles and child porn cases in my section of New Hampshire, is right on the highway, but also right across the street from a mini-golf/ice cream and burger stand, or something like that instead. But because I'm a people pleaser, I have to give the people what they want, me commenting on the rookie year of the American version of The X-Factor, and thus, because its what the people want, its what the people shall get, so lets get into it, before I start rambling about how awesome local television personality Fritz Weatherby is, which will mean nothing to all of you cuz you don't have a clue who he is... so.. lets get down into this...

Ok so, some of you might be amazed to discover, that I do not actually have any prior experience with The X-Factor, I always figured it was the same thing as American Idol, seeing as they have the same roots, assuming that, I figured there no reason to really pay attention to anything but the winner each year, after all one can only really put up with so much Simon Cowell in their life before you realize you wanna stab every douchebag in a tight dark teeshirt a haircut they stole from Richard Dean Anderson after his awesome kentucky waterfalls mullet phase, who thinks because they discovered 5ive and S Club 7 they're somehow entitled to be jerks to everyone.

I was amazed though, that though both concepts are alike, they are different in many key ways, and on theory alone, I'd actually give X-Factor an edge over the idol machine, I never liked the idea of Idol having an age limit, thats just moronic, because a music dream doesn't end at 30, and if you think it does, you're an idiot and no one cares what you think anyway you stupid Justin Bieber fan. I like that in X-Factor you have someone working with the contestants, molding them, instead of just tossing them out there on their own and expecting them to wing it, then tossing a winner out there expecting them to fly or fall on their faces, you have someone thats a go too thats in the business and can help you along if needs be, that should, assuming the mentor knows what they're doing, make for a better act by the time its over and done. I also like the sudden death aspect of X-Factor better, it allows for us to cut through all the dragging out of quarter and semi finals, though I do feel the build up rounds are abit much, you've gotta literally sing like 8 times before you make it to live tv tapings, and even at that point you can get cut one final time before it gets to the voting. That seems abit high pressure, but I guess that fits the idea of the show. I also rather like that they include groups and hip hop, I felt this gives you an all in one show vs. the many failed spin offs of the genre where they'd try to find group or rapper on their own and just failed miserably do to the lopsided ratio of shit talent picked to fill slots in a show of this nature vs. actual talent.

I only have three major issues with The X-Factor, and really two of them are more personal nitpickery instead of actual issues. My first issue, though it might sound abit narrow minded, is the lower end of the age spectrum, now I'm not saying there aren't talented young kids who could be out there putting the game on its head and making that big figga skrilla, but a lot of them at like 12 to 14 or so, aren't mentally or emotionally ready for what they'll have to deal with, plus, I just don't see how giving a not raving review of the work of someone that young could make the judges look like anything but an asshole, seriously who isn't gonna boo someone for telling a 12 year old kid they tanked a performance and then tell them the critical feedback they need to make it better? Most kids that age group, those watching live, and the viewers aren't gonna hear the important feedback to make it better that they'll be given, they'll just see a judge telling a little kid they fail at singing a certain song. No one wants to be THAT asshole, even if its important to their growth as an artist, it just looks mean. Unless that kid is Justin Bieber, then hate him all you like, specially now that its legal in most cities in the UK to hunt Bieber with a crossbow from Midnight to 6am. My other issues, as I stated are more nitpickery, I do not feel just because the judges felt the need to make two groups, to round out the groups category, that those two groups, which really aren't that good, should be pushed along to live shows simply because it seems the judges refuse to admit they might have been wrong, seriously, if you've not seen the show check on the website, they're “Lakoda Rayne” and “inTENcity”; one is a country pop girl group thats name sounds like a porn star and they all dress like slores, and the other is a random mash up of 10 not exactly talented kids that sound like a theme park show, its painful to watch. My last bit of nitpickery is in the choice of former Pussycat Doll and lover of wearing dresses so short and tight one most carefully sit down in them or they split in self destructive zones, Nicole Shrerzinger, as a judge. Ok I get it, she's hot, and not everyone is gonna wanna perv at cougartastic and completely insane Paula Abdul, but the problem is, even though she looks good in a tight slore suit, and apparently can sing moderately well, she doesn't really have the knowledge base of various genres of music or artists to properly work with the group she was given to work with, the over 30 group. It seems like a mistake to me, and that sucks because some of the over 30s could win the whole thing, infact I think the three that are left as of the top 12, have strong chances to win it all, with very few that I can see giving them a run.

Which leads me to my next point of interest, the actual talent of the show. Now, I have to admit, I see what the other critics have been saying about the show being a case of how many talented sob stories can you cram into one show, but Idol falls into that trope too, so I can let it go, but, also, unlike Idol, the talent that makes it through, thanks to the crowd, is infact very talented, not so/so with hopes of them growing in the Hollywood rounds, if you don't bring the very best, you don't have a chance in hell. As for the actual talent in general, they've got some great voices, and some I feel are just there because they're more of a package or a stage show, then a voice. Recent elimination and possibly the saddest of the sob stories and James Brown sound-alike, Dexter Haygood, for example, was more of a stage show then a singer, that doesn't make him any less talented then the others, but it makes it harder to showcase him, his unique but talented voice, and the stage show that a man who sounds like him would need, in a show of this nature, he's more of a go see them live singer then a listen to them on the radio singer, where in contrast, you have someone like LeRoy Bell, a man who was part of the short lived late 1970s soul group Bell and James, has written songs for Elton John, as well as played with Sir Elton as well as B.B King and many others, who when you listen to his voice, you just sit in wonder of how a man with such an amazing voice and such an ear for music, could have been overlooked for as long as he has been. But LeRoy is all voice and no real show, as a contrast to Dexter. Seriously, its mind-boggling, look him up.

There are other amazing talents as well that I feel have a chance at the crown, south Florida's contender for new latin diva Melanie Amaro, and lifetime original movie Stacy Francis, who will show down for the most powerful of the female voices, both have a chance at taking the whole thing if they keep with themselves on track. Other stand outs with a chance to actually make it to the winner's circle include; Rachel Crow, the youngest, and by far the most entertaining of the finalists, she might be more suited to be the likes of being an acting/singer double punch for a company like Disney that makes its own child stars then sets them loose in the wild after they grow up, but its ok, she's awesome. Other possible winners are Josh Krajcik, a guy who, when not trying to look like me, but sing astoundingly better then I wish I ever could, is normally making burritos at a shopping mall eatery. Josh's voice is amazing and has such a soulful sound to it, it just amazes me that this guy never went past the singing in bars stage of music. Another is rapper Chris Rene, who, not only is one of the most uplifting and positive stories in the competition, also set the internet on fire with his audition song, an original rap called “Young Homie”, which even had my mother, who is by no means a hip hop lover singing along and standing up and cheering by its end. As well as posibly the dark horse in this race, young soul singer Marcus Canty, who sounds like a soul singer straight out of the early 1990s, before R&B became bald idiots like Usher taking their shirts off and showing their abs more then about singing, plus, Marcus has the right to claim he sang right to a visibly turned on by his actions Rihanna, who was assisting judge LA Reid with selecting his final four, gotta put a guy who can use his voice to visibly get one of the world's most sought after women hot in the pants for him, in contention for the crown.

Fun Fact I found out this week; You might not know the name Shuki Levi, but if you were a child, or had a child between 1983 and now, you have heard his voice, or music he's composed, Shuki started out in the early 1980s as a failed pop singer, who was asked by Kenner toys to write and preform the theme songs as well as product the in show music for cartoons based on their biggest toy properties at the time; M.A.S.K and Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors, Levi wrote and recorded all the music for both series, even the themes, both of which most 1980s pop culture historians claim to be among the best themes of the era, from there Levi became in demand, creating themes and music for everything from Disney's Gummi Bears, to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or if you're in the UK Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles) to every single adaption of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Levi still puts out albums of his own music from time to time, though most critics find it odd that a guy that made an artform out of writing a theme to a cartoon or a show where people in spandex and motorcycle helmets do parkour to defeat people in foam rubber suits while pyrotechnics go off wildly behind them, can suck at making actual music for the masses. … And thats a fun fact, that I learned this week, and felt the need to share with you, because after all, knowledge is power, and knowing is half the battle, and knowing makes you, a superstar.

Songs I'm feeling this week: “Lucky” Katie Kole, “A Change Is A Coming” LeRoy Bell, “Dominion Road” The Mutton Birds, “Love The Way You Lie” Meghan Tonjes, “Empire State Of Mind” Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, “Shipping Up To Boston” The Dropkick Murphys, “White Trash Beautiful” Everlast, “The Transformers” Lion, “Creepshow” Kerli,“Tessie” The Dropkick Murphys, “Joline” Queen Adreena, “Feel This” Porsah Laine, “Companion To A King” Mieka Pauley, “Into The Mystic” Jason Isbell, “Self Destructive Zones” Drive By Truckers, “Sticks That Make Thunder” Steeldrivers, “Kabuki” by Aloan, “Window pain” Opeth, “Over The Hills And Far Away” Nightwish, “Akhasmak Ah” Nancy Ajram,
The Longest Road” Morgan Page and Lizze (various remixes), “From The Delta To The Golden Gates” Barbra Blue.

And thats where I'm gonna finish ride thats so wild that Mr. Toad wishes his name was involved in it, even though I've no idea why I made a Wind In the Willows reference in this day and age, with so little giving a crap about it because it doesn't involve vampires or werewolves, but for now, as I always do, I shall end it with some random thoughts, to dazzle, amaze, annoying, and bewilder you all... so.. here we go...

I seriously do not care for 98% of reality tv. At what point did the world decide Nickleback still deserves radio play? And on Canadian rock bands, why haven't Big Sugar or The Tragically Hip get the love they deserve instead? I'm thinking about giving afew followers of mine alittle segment where they give me a list of music they're listening to whenever I get around to writing this each time, kind of an interactive thing. I really feel glad I sat down and wrote this out, I forgot how much I missed it. The reason I was away so long is because nothing really interesting happened in entertainment, it was all just reality tv show “star” bullshit, and well I just don't give a fuck who Kim Kardashian's giant ass is married too now, people who are famous because they sucked the neverwas brother of a has been pop singer from the 90s off on video, really shouldn't be “famous”, thats just how I see it I guess. I'm so happy Haven's getting a third season, my life needs more Emily Rose in it. I'm getting really tired of all these Paranormal shows out there on tv, seriously, I don't care if Donny Most from Happy Days had an encounter with a ghost, because more then likely, that ghost was the ghost of his career, its been dead sense 1984 after all. American Horror Story is a lot like Marchlands, but instead of Alex Kingston hotting things up when it gets boring, you have Dylan McDermitt with out pants on, somehow that doesn't really seem like a great trade off to me. Speaking of Alex Kingston, if you haven't seen her short “River Song: My Story” from the final episode of Doctor Who Confidential, you have too, its a wonderful and beautiful thing. I'm so excited Misfits comes back tonight!!! Also, seriously I'm getting tired of waiting for the new Being Human series to start. Speaking of Being Human, I'd love a shirt that says “Team Annie” mostly because, well, Annie's awesome. And finally, one last thing I wish you all to remember, and take with you always, “Akhasmak, aah. Aseebak, la. Wi gowah ilroah hatifdhal habeebi illi ana bah-waah. Bahibbak, aah. Wa afarkak, la.” Remember it always, for its how I feel for all of my fans who love what I write, thank you all so very much.

And that is where I shall end it for this installment my fellow Indigo Children, so until next whenst we meet, I wish you all good times and blessid be your souls.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wonder Woman 2011

Unaired Pilots: # 2:

Wonder Woman 2011:
Possibly The Worst Thing I Have Ever Watched
And I've Seen Homeboys In Space... twice.

Superheroes are pretty much in demand right now, between big budget films, critically acclaimed cartoons, and in some cases tv shows that break out of the mold of only comic book fans will watch, or even movies and programs that dare to create their own super-powered beings out doing good and evil. But I'd like to talk about the television aspect for a moment if I could, now I know, in recent years, the idea of a a superhero vs. supervillain type tv show hasn't exactly worked out well, Heroes fell flat by the end of its run, and by the time No Ordinary Family finally started to get going and became good, it was too late to recover from its major stumbles out of the starting gate, and well, The Cape was horrible from the get go, it seemed that really the only who actually did any good and could break the horrible mold, as much as I hate to admit it, was Smallville, a fact that delights my friend Sally to no end. So with Superman's show coming to an end and Batman being the only DC Comics character able to make it on the big screen, it seems logical that someone would want to try and bring the last of DC Comic's "Big Three" back to popular culture's eye, and in that logic, is where the recent attempt at bringing Wonder Woman to television, which thankfully failed. Now after checking around and finally finding a copy of this pilot that wasn't ment to see the light of day, and watching it, I can tell you that its more then likely a good thing this didn't make it to television. But I'll get into that after I explain the plot.

The pilot starts with a young black fellow named Willis Parks, as he rushes into his mom's house and tells her and his sisters that he's just gotten into college thanks to a scholarship, only to start to bleed blood from his eyes and start to convulse and gasp for air. Cut to a somewhat sleazy looking criminal running through a downtown cityscape at a breakneck speed, he's running from our hero, this is the first time you see Wonder Woman, who's running about almost as fast as the guy she's chasing, and once she's had enough chasing, she whips out her lasso and ensnares the would be criminal, in a motion that can only be explained by being more like Scorpion's grapple move from Mortal Kombat, complete with yelling "G'ET OVER 'ERE!!" and all. Once she's disabled this scruffy malcontent out to do villainous debauchery, she draws his blood before the police come to collect him from her. Once they do, there is a short discussion between Wonder Woman and one Ed Indelicato, who states its the law that she hand him over to the police, which she does after a short disagreement between the two.

Next, as we see Wonder Woman flying in her high tech jet toward what we assume is her base of operations, we here the narrative of a current affairs talk show, where the host gives us abit of a background on this version of Wonder Woman, she is Diana Themyscira, the head of a multi-billion dollar company called Themyscira Industries, which I guess among other things, makes a Wonder Woman doll, you know, for the chiggin, more on the doll later. As Diana's walking in off the roof more of the news program plays, you have cameos by O.J Simpson Lawyer Allen Dershiwitz, fat ass windbag Doctor Phil, and whatever the hell Nancy Grace is, these were odd choices because all Phil does is talk about how her outfit makes her look too sexy and objectified and we're all left wondering if Nancy Grace is here taping this, who's out there sensationalizing every police case where a little white girl that goes missing? This is also where we meet Diana's assistants, Henry Jones and Etta Candy. Henry is kind of bitchy and always on about business and "the image" of the company, and Etta, though named to sound like one, is not a stripper at a nudie bar in the ghetto where all the other dancers are named after drinks or cars. At the end of the scene introducing them and showing Wonder Woman is a high profile figure of note, you see Diana dressed in street clothing and putting on glasses while doing her hair up, Henry asks her what she's doing, she says "I'm going home.." he says "But this is your home, you mean that apartment you keep under the Diana Prince identity?" she says yes, then he goes on about how acting as she does can cause multiple personalities, and she says she needs the ID to hide and "feel normal", she then goes to said apartment, and eats some chips while petting her cat and watching sad movies, and telling her cat she has to get around to making herself a facebook page, oh she also as flashbacks of her leaving where ever she was before, I'm assuming Washington DC, to "do some good" in Los Angeles, which also includes leaving her boyfriend Steve Trevor, there really isn't anything that would imply or explain why she picked LA, nor is there any real implication they care about each other.

The next day there is a big press conference where Wonder Woman explains to the world that the man she caught the night before was a super enhanced being who was treated with a drug that is almost completely untraceable and gives you enhanced powers, she also explains it was given to the man by a woman named Veronica Cale, who is the CEO of a giant pharmaceutical company, which she claims is also responsible for the deaths of several inner city athletes with promising careers ahead of them, stating that it almost killed Willis Parks, the black kid from the opening of the episode. After this Diana is whisked off to a meeting where she and her board of directors all sit around and discuss the business that is Wonder Woman, leading to a very awkward and stupidly placed rant by Diana about how Wonder Woman is, and this is a direct quote, "More then just tits and ass..". If this wasn't enough annoying, we're next whipped away to Diana sitting in her office as Etta comes in and tells her that the woman she exposed earlier in the day, Veronica Cale, as arrived to speak with her, concerning her earlier accusations. Which leads to the most uncomfortable and completely overt attempted at building sexual tension between two possibly bisexual super attractive females ever on american television. No, I'm not kidding, the press work even lists Veronica Cale as bisexual in the first sentence of the overview, and i am not exaggerating, the two of them are alone in Diana's office, both of them are wearing dresses they had to be poured into or painted on them cuz they're so tight and form fitting, and the dialog is so overt and blatantly attempting to build sexual tension between the two of them that its almost off-putting to the point you know had it gone to series, they'd have used this to garner a ratings stunt out of it somehow, like when Claire kissed that girl that used to be on The Nanny on Heroes for no real reason and then they just forgot about it. And there is a short pointless scene where a Senator who is in the pocket of Veronica Cale tries to find out what Diana's up too, he says they're sending an investigator to check into her and her methods, she laughs it off.

From here, Diana goes to talk to the guy she caught the night before, and after being told she couldn't see him, she says, and i quote directly here, "do you like my outfit? you know, my outfit opens alot of doors for me.." in what is possibly the sleaziest moment in the entire episode. Before this goes anywhere farther, Ed Indelicato comes up and tells the officer to leave, him and Diana have a brief arguement and then he leaves her alone with the guy for 5 minutes. In that 5 minutes she breaks his fingers and arm and he tells her were all the biological drug testing is happening, and where anyone that is harmed by the drugs is kept. She then hops in her weird little jet and flies off, after telling Ed where she's going. After a scene of her flying about where you see the inside of the jet, Ed calls Diana on her cellphone, and tells her that if she breaks into the location, that makes it a crime scene, and anything found while they're investigating the break in can be used legally as evidence. Which i guess makes sense in the land of people who don't understand the law. This also leads to the most screwed up thing of all time, the climatic fight scene, ok well not so much climatic so much as slightly better then those boring 30 second rogue angel fights in that Ghost Rider movie no one but me watched, which reminds me, you all need to remember, I watched that film for all of you so it would save your souls.

Anyway, you cut to the warehouse, where Veronica has instructed her muscular henchman to stop Wonder Woman at all costs, I shall call her henchman "GunShow" because he's constantly posing while showing off his muscles, seriously, no one wants you to take them to the gun show, thats why you got fired from that GNC supplement shop in the sad mall. So Gunshow agrees, and says him and his "men" will handle her. Next thing you see is Gunshow and his men talking about how there is only one wonder woman and she can't beat all 20 of them, honestly, I'm kind of amazed they weren't seacresting out at this point, when you suddenly hear a banging on the near by gate, then another bang, and a third bang, at which point the gate rolls up, and standing there, in the classic wonder woman outfit for some reason thats unknown to us, is Wonder Woman, the look on her face means she's either gonna get gangbanged or she's about to beat the shit out of Gunshow and his wash outs from the WWE, honestly at this this point in the horrible story I was kinda hoping it would be the gangbang to save me from some of this horseshit, but I was wrong, I was horrible wrong, she fights them, with almost effortless ease, which makes me wonder, she can dispense 20 guys with a punch and a kick and afew cracks of the lasso, but it takes her three tries to break a gate open? Not even Heroes at its worst was this bad with power consistency! After beating Gunshow and all his cartoon pals, Wonder Woman walks down a hallway where she finds an armed guard, he fires at her, and she, in classic wonder woman styley, deflects the bullets off her bracelets, after he empties his clip which she deflects, she then picks up a near by lead pipe and THROWS IT THROUGH HIS MOTHERFUCKING THROAT and half way through the door behind him, he hits it so hard it knocks it off the hinges. She walks over him and finds Veronica standing there, they have a short fist fight/rough lesbian sex foreplay moment, which ends with Veronica lifted off her feet against a wall, then thrown to the floor as Diana walks past here and finds where the drugs she's been on about all episode are being tested on men, and sees the ones that all it did was disfigure and mutate. At this point Ed walks in and says they've got everyone in custody and they're shutting the operation down. After this you see Veronica being taken to jail on television, then you find out the "inspector" the senator mentioned earlier was the guy Diana left to come to LA, you know, because they needed one more obvious plot issue to deal with.

End, fade to credits.

Now that I've given you all the blow by blow, lets get down to the nitty gritty dirt band of all, shall we? First off, let me state, this pilot, and the final draft of the pilot's script that hit the internet afew months ago, are NOT the same, either this was an original version of the pilot and then they ordered it remade, which happens more times then you think, recent cases where the US remake of the british series Life On Mars, which had a massively bad original pilot, and a redo was ordered, plus many cases of unaired pilots of shows that have never seen the light of day. The reason I say this about the pilot is simply, that alot of what the script we were all told is the final script from shooting, isn't in this pilot. The running "joke" about suing Katy Perry for dressing as Wonder Woman in a video with out permission, as well as the "I kissed a girl" jokes about Diana and Veronica, are missing, the script had lots of cues for songs to be used, none of which were in this, almost all of the pop culture references are gone completely, the script also had swearing which would be bleeped out here in the states, but let air outside the country, but all there was as far as adult language goes is you hear "tits" twice and "ass" once, but nothing else comes close to harsh language. And this might be a nitpicky thing, but, the opening chase scene isn't what it is written as either, in the script Wonder Woman is running down Hollywood Blvd, and she's running into people dressed as everyone from Buzz Lightyear and SpongeBob Squarepants as well as pretty much every known marvel and dc superhero you can think of, the last of which being a very well endowed prostitute dressed as her, which would lead to the outburst in the meeting about the looks of the Wonder Woman doll that happens afterwards, also the script implied it would run add free, but there are are clearly add breaks in this.

Now that aside, lets focus on whats wrong with this actual pilot instead of pointing out whats missing, and well, whats wrong is, well most of the pilot infact. Sigh, lets see, where to start... First off, the outfit itself, I understand its a television show not a movie, and the budget won't be exactly the same, but the outfit looks literally like it was taken off the rack at a costume shop that has an adults only section, I'm serious, also its too tight, now I'm as much a fan of checking out hot women in skimpy things as the next upstanding gentleman who is wise to the ways of the world, but honestly seeing Adrianne Palicki's breasts muffin top the outfit because its so small on her, it starts to become abit distracting and takes you completely out of the show at times because its so overtly obvious you find yourself hating it whenever you see it, also though the boots look like your standard issue red and gold hooker boots, the pants Wonder Woman wears for all but the final fight scene, seriously look like a pair of stretch pants taken right off the post July 4th clearance rack at Walmart, and the trademark lasso thats always on her side looks like someone cut the end off of a golden glitter jump rope that someone got at a dollar store at the last minute.Seriously, I'm not exaggerating or nitpicking, the outfit really is bad enough to spend a whole paragraph on.

Other things that are wrong is, ofcourse the script itself, it lacks any real feel of structure and is devoid of most attempts at telling a story, in a remotely proper way, and it fails to make us really see any of the stories its trying to string together, the scene with Steve Trevor told in flashback completely misses even giving him a name, and really makes no sense at all other then to tell you Diana lived somewhere else then moved to LA "to use her powers for good", you have no idea where they are, who Steve is until his name is mentioned near the end of the pilot, you also don't have a clue why she feels her powers would be best used in LA instead of say, Washington DC or New York City or one of DC's many fictional cities of note Metropolis, Gotham City, Keystone City, Coast City, ect, you're just expected to believe she just felt the best place for her to use her powers, was the city of angels for no real reason other then to just go there. Plus, there is no actual reference to the fast she's an amazon princess, there is a joke about amazons, but thats it, no reference in the very little we're told of her of her coming to the "world of man" or anything, its just, like she somehow forgot who she is, and the writer completely forgot to tell us this fact, seriously, its kind of annoying once you get down into it. My other massive issues is, Wonder Woman has no concept of the the law, and how justice works, in the real world you can't hold a press conference to say someone is doing something illegal and then expect everyone to trust your word on that simply because you're you, we call that "slander" here in the states, and its against the law, hell its even against Branigan's Law. She also has no issue torturing people, you know, because thats what heroes do, oh wait, I'm from the world that makes sense, where anti-heroes like Cable, Wolverine, Punisher, Lobo, Batman and the like all torture to get information, but heroes like Superman and Captain America and the like do not torture, Wonder Woman doesn't torture, she uses her magic lasso, which when tied around a person will make them tell the truth, I guess someone in the writing department forgot its for more then snapping a motherfucker's neck like a matchstick, but the thing that bugs me most of all, even far beyond the implication that Diana's secretly bisexual and is secretly attracted to Veronica Cale, who again, the synopsis points out in the first line about her, is very bisexual, and even farther beyond the fact they try to make Wonder Woman a mix of Batman and Iron Man, or the whole has three identities thing, above all of that, what gets me the most is how effortlessly, and willingly, Diana kills. Seriously there was no reason for her to toss a pipe through the throat of a security guard who was out of bullets for his gun, just because you're a door guard at a super secret super evil research building, does not make you guilty of being involved with what goes on there, she seriously murdered a possibly innocent person, and no one bothered to even call her out on it. It was seriously mindblowing.

So the big question, is it really worth it? No. It falls into the same category as the unaired pilots for the american versions of shows like Red Dwarf, The Vicker of Dilbey, Absolutely Fabulous, Little Mosque On The Prairie, and countless others that just should be relegated to things people who are only in the know and get a kick out of such things keep and show their friends, and should never ever be shown the light of day. But if you wanna have a good laugh, or wanna see Elizabeth Hurley as a purely evil super hot and super bisexual criminal as she flirts with Adrianne Palicki in a way too tight pleather top from Victoria's Secret or see that believe it or not, the crap that does make the air, isn't always as bad as the crap that doesn't make on the air, then by all means search it out and see if maybe you can find it, and then be amazed at the horror show that follows. Or just avoid it and run like the wind, your choice.



Friday, September 16, 2011

Weep For The Children: A Rant About Children's Films

Weep For The Children
A Small Rant About The State Of Children's Films

Recently, I had the displeasure of watching what passes for children's films these days. And after finding myself surprisingly able to hold in the rage and blood vomit from the full frontal assault of endless one liners aimed at being the children related equivalent of an internet meme, followed by endless pointless visual and audio gags and pointlessly uptight people played for "comedy" in completely watered down and ignorant tasteless lazy attempts at film making, I found myself thinking about it, and thinking how the genre of children's films has gone from a genre of much beloved classics that span the gambit of most genres; action/adventure, sci fi, comedy, animation, drama, and to the extent of just scary enough to give alittle fright, but not nightmares, there is even some things that would be seen as horror, well to a child anyway.

I can remember my childhood watching such great films as The Goonies, Time Bandits, the Explorers, The Neverending Story, Watership Down, and many others that when held up to what is made today, there is almost no honest way to compare, you look at the films of generations past, and you can clearly see the difference, there was storytelling, there was actual acting, there was conflict where a villain, though comical, was clearly a villain not some random uptight adult figure who is uptight for no real reason other then they're an adult. And bullies are bullies who are more then just a simple vague idea of a bully thats been watered down as to not offend anyone. Think about it, can you honestly put any modern children's movie bad guy up against characters like The Nothing, or Jenner from The Secret Of NIMH or The Red Bull from The Last Unicorn, or hell even Judge Dredd from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Hell can you even pick out a clear definitive out and out bad guy in any modern kids movie? One thats a legitimate evil person and not some adult trying to force a group of children to follow the rules but only ends up the punchline of 90 minutes worth of fart jokes, followed by one or all of said children screaming whatever the line they want kids to remember from the film at the top of their vocal range? Yeah, if you're having trouble, don't worry, you aren't the only one. I've sat down for a good long while, looked through my DVDs, my VHS, downloaded stuff, and went through every single list I could find of children's movies, and I couldn't really find one that had a truly scary definitively bad guy in them, its sad really.

But I noticed something else when I was looking through my lists and timelines, I found when this change from classic beloved children's movies that didn't talk down to you or insult the viewers, changed over the predominate slop they have now, it was, surprisingly, the same year I credit for children's programing and well entertainment in general going down hill, 1990, the year Jim Henson died, and the year a movie aimed at children came out that some of you might have heard of, it goes by the name of "Home Alone". Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Home Alone, but it signaled a change in how movies aimed at children were made, much like how Toy Story changed the way CGI films were made, it proved that if you take a young child who seems likable and funny and has just enough acting skill to make it believable that they can pull off being on screen for most of the film, set said child with an unlimited access to just bout anything in the house he will ever need, with no parents to tell him no, regardless of the danger involved, and somehow allow him to outwit some apparently stupid adults who are underestimating said child, and have each scene be literally visual gag over visual gag, followed by pretty lame 2rd grade level jokes and mugging dumb faces at the camera. This formula seems to have been the entire point of that film, and 90% of the films aimed at children sense then, have followed the same path, the problem is, though it worked once, that doesn't mean it will work again, lightening rarely strikes twice, no matter how much Hollywood would like you to think otherwise.

Now this isn't saying that every children's movie before 1990 was a work of art, believe me, for every wonderful amazing film like The Dark Crystal there was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3: Turtles In Time, much like for every Harry Potter film there has been twice as many Land Before Time films, but you get the idea, I'm not really crapping on the last 20 or so years, I'm just pointing out there is a massive lack of quality that started to slide back then and has been continuity sliding down the water slide of fail faster and faster as each year goes, and its really alarming, not just to me as a writer, but as a movie lover as I am, its sad to see a genre that went from such giant and brilliant productions as Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory and The Phantom Tollbooth which where just so amazingly visual and well written, has fallen to such horrible and lazy films as Unaccompanied Minors and the completely lazily named and lazily written film Hotel For Dogs. I just wish the people who make this slop, and more so, the people who write it, would look at what they're doing, and realize they aren't doing anything but dumbing down the youth of the world with their lack of ability to tell a compelling story.

Now to some this whole thing might not seem like a big deal, but think about it, each generation of film makers are inspired by the movies they watch as children, and sense I'm pretty sure most parents won't let their kids watch movies by Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, James Whale, Jean-Luc Godard, Howard Hawks, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, just to name afew, or even the more recent brilliance of some of the more recent directors who have shown they are very good at what they do, I know it makes me sound old, but honestly, I weep for what the next generation of film makers, and the films they will make, when they have the crap thats out there now to inspire them.

And if the rest of you think about it, maybe you will too. Or maybe I need to put a dollar in the Douchebag Jar.



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

3D: A Mini-Rant

How 3D Killed Summer Movies: A Mini-Rant

I remember as a kid, going to see a 3D movie was a cool event, it was a rarity and a treat and almost every single scene was designed and shot just to use that technology to its fullest, just as it was back in the 1950s when it was first used to mass effect. See back then, a 3D movie was a big deal, you had to shoot a movie in a completely different way, you had to use special cameras and when framing your shots would have too basically pander to the fact the film is in 3D, and ofcourse, it would be awesome, be it a spaceship flying at you headlong at a breakneck speed and shooting its photons as fast as Machine Gun Kelly would shoot a tommy gun, or Jaws coming up out of the water at you like you're a fun size snickers bar and he's had nothing to eat all day long, and all the many uses in between, but either way, shooting a film in 3D was alot harder then it is now. See nowadays, like with most things in hollywood, 3D is simply a filter applied to an already finished digitalized copy of a film, normally a final theatrical cut made as a second disc after the master has already been put on blu ray. Its a simple filter that anyone with Avid editing software and is aware one of the many filters you can get to add onto it is infact the same 3D filter that is used by the studios (Avid is still the king of hollywood video editing, no matter what mac tries to tell you about their video editing software). And though that has lead to so many interesting changes, just like in the theatrical films, it really seems unneeded and just another excuse to milk more money out of us all.

Now to some this might just sound like me being an angry nerd who bitches and complains about just about anything that isn't what I feel my personal idea of something should be, and I guess that statement wouldn't be 100% wrong, but it also wouldn't be 100% right either, for you see, its simple common sense and logic, mixed with a love of film that its hard for some to understand. Now, for just a minute, think about all the movies that have come out in 3D in a post Avatar cinematic landscape, now, of them, how many of them actually fit the concept of 3D? How many of them had something flying at the camera every scene? How many intentionally aimed things at the camera every single scene to give you that "brought into the film" feel that you get with 3D? Now, how many of them only had one or two scenes where the 3D visuals were even used? And how many had no scenes at all where it was needed, and felt like you were just suckered into paying an extra 4 dollars just to watch a film with a pair of glasses that weren't cleaned before you wore them and all you can smell is whatever the person before you was eating while wearing them? I'm betting there is alot more in that last category then in the others. Honestly, did you really need 3D for Captain America? I loved that film, but no. Did you need it for Transformers: Dark Of The Moon? Again, I loved that film, but no. Did you need it for The Smurfs? I don't know because I refused to watch that pile of dung, but from what I've been told it didn't need it, nor did so many other films, it seems like for the past year and a half or so, every single movie has been available in standard visual format, or "2D" and as well as in the modern take on 3D. And honestly it just doesn't need to be. Its not worth the ramming it down our throats, just for afew extra dollars and some glasses we're gonna steal because we got suckered into paying extra for a film that didn't need extra effects. I've always said this, if a film needs some extra filter tacked onto it in post production just to get sales, its not a good film. Did The Godfather need gimmicks? no. Did Back To The Future need gimmicks? no. Did Ghost Dad need gimmicks? Well it might have helped that pile of shit, actually. But anyway my point remains, a good film, should be seen as a good film, not a film where the only thing you remember from it is the one scene where Yogi Bear shot bear snot at the screen, or where a prehistoric piranha spit out someone's penis right at the camera. Thats not cinema, thats pandering to the easiest and lowest demographics for the easy cash. Its an insult to movies everywhere. Maybe I'm an old bitchy grumpy bastard on this, but it bothers me beyond more then when a well deserved film gets passed over for some flash in the pan gone in a month then on dvd two months later that really pissed people off instead of making the theater raving about what they just saw.

And now I've gotten that off my chest, I'm good now



Friday, July 29, 2011

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

Transformers: Dark Of The Moon:
Amazingly, With All The Brilliant Homages To Transformers Mythos
Micheal Bay Still Manages To Make Robotic Nightmare Fuel Awesome

For the few of you out there who are loyal readers, and for those of you who know me, you are all aware that among my many geek tenancies, the one that overpowers all is my love of The Transformers, I am the definition of lifelong fan, with a collection boarders on wasting my entire life spent in an eternal pokemon like hunt for new or old ones I am missing, and a collective value to match. I am constantly rambling off trivia about the various versions of the tv show or toys, to the point it annoys most around me. One of the most rambled off facts is how I really didn't care much for 2009's Revenge Of The Fallen, feeling it was made with almost no care or thought or even with out a real plot, almost to the point someone honestly thought because all of us Transformers fans came running like the bulls in Pamplona to anything with the transformers name, we'll pile money into anything. And yes, we flocked to Revenge Of The Fallen in almost Exodus like fashion, but that didn't stop us, myself included, from pointing out its many flaws, but assuming that like with every film series, there is always that one film that isn't as good as the others; with Star Wars its Jedi, with Harry Potter its The Half Blood Prince, with Back To The Future its Part 2, with Dirty Harry it was The Death Pool, and so on, it just happens that ours, we hoped, would just be Revenge Of The Fallen, and thankfully, that assumption was true. For you see, Transformers: The Dark Of The Moon has done what it was ment to do, show us all that Micheal Bay was sorry for how horrible the film before it was, and to maintain a promise he made to us all that the final film in his trilogy would be beyond epic, and oh my, did he ever make this film beyond epic!

What Bay did was almost as epic as his bold promises and statements that he was going to use Dark Of The Moon to make up for how bad Revenge Of The Fallen was, he made the writers sit and watch all of the original cartoon from the 1980s, something both writers stated they really hadn't done "but ment too" and from that, they not only took a plot for the film itself, but found many bits to homage that only us life long fans would have gotten, Bay also made them read what the film's fan consultant felt was the best comic books to give you the feel they're going for as well, which ofcourse lead to even more Easter eggs tossed in for the long time fans, which delighted so very many people, even if some things seemed a tad forced and like they slightly missed the point, but you have to allow for stuff like that, not everything is gonna always work outside the original context, and thats fine. Because what does work is just so awesome that afew weeks after seeing it for the first time, and only recently seeing it again to refresh before writing this, I'm as excited as I was the first time I saw the film, which as any of you will know is an astounding feat unto itself.

The plot of the film itself, is where the homages to the fanbase begin, but I'll explain all of that later. The film starts in 1969 on the day the first moon landing happened, they use the fact that there was that 20 minute gap in footage and broadcast rely to explain that the astronauts investigated and then brought back various things from, a giant space ship that crashed not far from the moon landing site. After that we are transported into the modern era were we once again meet up with our hapless male lead Sam Witwicky who is now living in Washington DC and is trying to find a job, because I guess saving the world twice, and getting a medal from President Obama, not only doesn't get you free college, it also doesn't get you a pretty sweet job working in the government with the robots whom you have helped save the entire world. Yes, apparently, saving the world kinda sucks. But, you get a brand new insanely hot blond girlfriend who works for some high up consulting company, who doesn't care that you were dumped by your last girlfriend for some unknown reason, but you were left with her pet robot who turns into a radio controlled car, and his weird little friend who turns into a laptop, and she also left you with her dog, this is Sam's life while BumbleBee is off doing top secret autobot stuff, which also leaves him with a broke ass old Datson to drive about in, Sam, as you can guess, isn't really all that happy. We then see the Autobots as they travel around the world tracking down any signal of energon they can find, making sure that its not a decepticon. In doing this, they discover, inside the reactor at Chernobyl, there is a power cell that is of Autobot technological basing. Not only that, but its from The Ark, which we found out is the name of the ship on the moon. To say this pisses the autobots off is an understatement beyond all comprehension.

When the autobots return to base, they not only meet a new agent from the Department of Defence whom they must deal with, but accuse her of holding out on them, which she then states she was going to brief them on, or more so, have someone more close to the mission brief them on it, that person being legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who explains he was sent to the moon to investigate the wreckage, and bring back samples and photos of what they see. Prime decides they must take the ship the last group of autobots came to earth in to fly up and investigate the wreck himself. After introducing the ship's crew "The Wreckers" as they're called, and being explained we've not met them yet because they're kept on site at NASA simply because they're, and I quote directly here, "A couple of assholes", Prime and Ratchet head to the wreckage of The Ark, where they discover only a small amount of pillars for what they call a "Space Bridge" they also discover the body of a former autobot leader, Sentinel Prime, whom Optimus claims was autobot leader before he was, and that he disappeared after creating The Space Bridge, a long distance teleportation system. They take him and what they've gathered, back to earth where Optimus revives Sentinel Prime with the power of the Matrix of Leadership. And from there, once the main cast is set, and they discover that Megatron's plan is to bring their home planet of Cybertron into orbit around earth, in true transformers style, it becomes almost nonstop action with bot on bot action, bot on Sam action, and general mindless and limitless ultra violence sent at you via breakneck speed with many wonderful and amazing action scenes, that range from amazing to dazzling to completely outstanding, and it doesn't let up till the very end through all the twists and turns and surprises along the way, Micheal Bay takes us on a rollercoaster ride one more time, and we all love it. All the way to the very end, which it really pains me to leave out a big chunk of the film so you don't get over spoilered or lost shock value, I've been trying to keep from giving way more then the first 20 or so minutes of the film, and well trust me, it pains me to not tell you! lol but you'll all have to see how it all goes for yourselves. I will say this though, the final battle between the Autobots and Decepticons, gets COMPLETELY dark, like, we're talking Deer Hunter POW camp dark, like to the point I actually felt alot of it was a tad TOO violent and unsettling, which really says something.

Now I'd like to explain why this movie was doubly amazing and just plain awesome, it was full of what we in the transformers fandom call "fanwank" or as most of the world would call them Easter Eggs, and let me tell you, this film is FULL of them. The Space Bridge is from the original cartoon, it was a transwarp transportation system that could send you from earth to Cybertron in afew seconds (though to be fair by the end of season 1 they'd traveled there via ship in what seemed like no more then afew hours max, so no one's really sure how far away the planet is), and at one point, in a multi part story called "The Ultimate Doom" where Megatron brought the planet to earth's orbit to try and generate power from all the earthquakes and floods that would happen if another planet came that close to earth, they literally lifted the concept from that episode, that also featured a human working with the Decepticons, however that plot point was more lifted from "Megatron's Master Plan" where he promised a rich business man reign over the enslaved population of earth once they took over everything, when all they had to do is convince the world leaders to banish The Autobots from the planet, and then take over, only be be double crossed. The scene with Megatron sitting on what used to be the Lincoln Memorial is taken from the episode "Atlantis Arise" though admittedly, it was ALOT funnier when you see it in animation form. There are other awesome homages too, The Ark was the name of Optimus Prime's ship in most versions of the mythos, and it normally crashes on earth, and in one case in the series "armada" did crash on the moon, it looked alot like the wreckage in the film. In every incarnation of the series that Sam "Spike" Witwicky appears, he dates and then marries a blond tech genius named Carley, though Dark Of The Moon is the first time she's depicted as British, this was to correct the fact that most of the fanbase were upset at this whole Mikaela Banes thing we had to sit through in the other two films. Shockwave as a solitary hunter is a play on his lone warrior of logic persona from the comic books, and his "pet" the Driller looks alot like a creature from the cartoon called The Dweller who ate the lifeforce of Transformers. And finally, possibly the best fanwank of all, when Laserbeak, the small bird like decepticon is hiding out as a photocopier, he beeps afew bars of the original cartoon's opening theme. I've seen this film 4 times now, and I'm not kidding he really does it, its the greatest thing of all time. Now how the hell is all of that for packing all sorts of fan love into one film? Simply amazing.

So ofcourse now we come to the big question, is Transformers: Dark Of The Moon worth watching? Well the answer is yes and no, it all depends on your taste and point of view. If you're a life long fan of the transformers, then its a must see, hell the fanwank alone makes it almost a religious experience, if you're a lover of action movies, then its a must, its 100% pure Micheal Bay style awesome and explosions and complex but insanely awesome action scenes that go on forever, you'll love it. However, if you are a parent, and your child wanting to go see it, then please, keep the kids away from this one, there is alot of swearing, which really is no big deal, in the 1986 animated movie we had swearing, but more so, this one isn't for the kiddies simply by the amount of dark and twisted violence in it. I'm not kidding, from about the half way point when a major plot point happens, the cast starts to drop like flies, all in very dark ways, infact during the final battle there is a scene where the autobots are lined up like POWs and Soundwave says "Understood, no prisoners, only war trophies", then he and the rest of the decepticons not only execute one of the autobots by means of shooting him in the back of the head, but then they attempt to shoot another one by shoving him down over the body of the one they just killed. Its a seriously unsettling scene, that might be nightmare fuel for the younger viewers of the world. So keep that in mind when deciding if its something you want your young ones to see. So there you have it, possibly the most nerded up review you'll ever read of a transformers film. My only hope is that assuming they do a second trilogy, they'll do more with it, maybe explore pre-earth life for the transformers, or something. So many ideas, but time will tell. So for now, if you're up to it, go enjoy this marvelous film.

And if you still need convincing, here is the trailer...