Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Star Wars: The Machete Viewing Order

After today's Star Wars discussion, my friend Adam coincidentally sent me a link to a post on about the perfect order in which to view the Star Wars movies. He discusses the pitfalls of watching them in Release Order and Episode Order, then goes on to discuss an alternative: Watch Eps 4 and 5, then after the Vader revelation watch the prequels and then wrap it up with Jedi.

He then goes on to present a variation on this, the "Machete Order," in which you watch them as was just laid out but skipped Episode I altogether.

"George Lucas has done everyone a favor by making the content of Episode I completely irrelevant to the rest of the series. Seriously, think about it for a minute. Name as many things as you can that happen in Episode I and actually help flesh out the story in any subsequent episode. I can only think of one thing, which I’ll mention later.

Every character established in Episode I is either killed or removed before it ends (Darth Maul, Qui-Gon, Chancellor Valorum), unimportant (Nute Gunray, Watto), or established better in a later episode (Mace Windu, Darth Sidious). Does it ever matter that Palpatine had an apprentice before Count Dooku? Nope, Darth Maul is killed by the end of Episode I and never referenced again. You may as well just start with the assumption that Dooku was the only apprentice. Does it ever matter that Obi-Wan was being trained by Qui-Gon? Nope, Obi-Wan is well into training Anakin at the start of Episode II, Qui-Gon is completely irrelevant.

Search your feelings, you know it to be true! Episode I doesn’t matter at all. You can start the prequels with Episode II and miss absolutely nothing. The opening crawl of Episode II establishes everything you need to know about the prequels: a bunch of systems want to leave the Republic, they are led by Count Dooku, and Senator Amidala is a senator who is going to vote on whether the Republic is going to create an army. Natalie Portman is called Senator Amidala twice in the first 4 minutes of the movie, so there’s no question of who’s who."

You might not agree with everything he says, but it's interesting stuff. Read the rest here.

Night of the Living Trekkies

 ****1/2 (ok, ok, ok I KNOW we don't rate books but this was such a unique find!!)

This delightful work of fiction opens with two quotes:

"It isn't all over; everything has not been invented; the human adventure is just beginning." -- Gene Roddenberry

"Horror is a genre that never dies." -- George A. Romero
I picked up this jewel at downtown Berkeley's Half-Price Books for $5 knowing it'd be the perfect read for the plane trip to the east coast. I hardly slept on the red-eye flight out of Oakland, CA to New York's JFK Airport.
Night of the Living Trekkies focuses on a Star Trek fan and US Marines veteran, Jim Pike, who's been lucky to survive two tours to Afghanistan and is awkwardly adjusting to the civvie life in Texas, taking on the least amount of responsibility as a bellhop of a small hotel. Before long, however, he finds himself heading a mission to get the hell out of Houston, accompanied by a memorable band of characters. Along the way they find out that these zombies are on a mission themselves to consume a lot more than just your brains.
I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that I feel Night of the Living Trekkies is a noteworthy contributor both to the universes of Star Trek and zombie fandom. It offers a new look at both, and is just as splattered with amusing Trek references as it is with entrails.

Why Not Travel During The Day, RED?


Avengers UK Trailer

Noooooooooooo! Davey Jones dies at 66

From ew, Monkees singer Davy Jones has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 66. Martin County Florida’s District 19 Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the news, first reported by TMZ. Authorities are still investigating the circumstances surrounding his death, which happened earlier today, according to TMZ.

Jones joined the Monkees in 1965 along with Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, and Peter Tork. Their hits include “I’m a Believer,” “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone,” “Daydream Believer,” and “Last Train to Clarksville.”

 [Edit by Johnny Sweatpants] Posted above is my favorite Davey Jones song Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow). Penned by Neil Diamond it pretty much has everything you could ever ask for in a Davey song including parentheses (which for some reason always makes me laugh when they're in song titles). The song centers around his typical conundrum of falling in love with two girls. The best part is near the end when he tenderly whispers "Mary, I love you" followed immediately by "Sandra, I love you".

Set blasters to "awww"

Lately Zack has been asking for Star Wars, as in literally saying "I want Star Wars" even though he doesn't know exactly what that means. He's too little to watch any of the movies, but he's thrown the title around for more than a year, because he sees his classmates wearing t-shirts and shoes with Star Wars stuff on them. I think the recent interest stems from seeing commercials for the next episode of Clone Wars while he's watching another Cartoon Network show called Ninjago (which is a whole story in itself).

We bought him a pair of toy lightsabers the other day, because he had fun bonking them together with his friend Geneva, who is eight. I really thought he'd like to see some "real" lightsabers in action, because the sound they make is so key to the experience. Of course I've always wanted him to experience Star Wars the way I did, with Star Wars (aka Ep IV) first. I decided to park him on my lap and pop in the dvd, just to jump around to the various lightsaber scenes without actually watching Obi-Wan get killed.

Naturally, if I want to manage his intro to Star Wars, he needed to see the opening. It's all about the opening. So there he is in my lap, and the blue words appear: "A long time ago..." I started to read them for him, and... and I choked up. I was so excited for him and his future loving these movies, I just got too misty to speak.

We watched the opening but I stopped it before any Rebels got shot. Then I hopped around to Luke getting his dad's lightsaber, practicing with the remote laser ball, and the first segment of the Darth/Obi-Wan fight. He's requested it a couple of times since. I can't wait to show him the rest of it.

Side story: This experience brought a fond JPX memory to the fore: JPX and I saw Star Wars together for what I think was my fifth time. He and I didn't really start hanging out together until 4th grade so this would've been fall of '78 (remember back when Star Wars was at Showcase for more than a year?) It was the first time I'd really noticed in the opening shot how frickin' huge the Star Destroyer was, because the damn thing just keeps on going. I leaned over to say something about it to JPX and before I spoke he said "It's so big!"

It remains one of my most memorable viewings of Star Wars, along with seeing the first time sitting next to my mom (from which sprang my long love of Dewback puppets) and watching the Special Edition Death Star Battle with Jordan in 1997 (along with our friends Sam and Mindy, with whom we formed a short-lived club around seeing the Special Editions on their opening nights). At another point watching it with young JPX, we both simultaneously got excited about the wacky white droid on the right, seen above.

Good times. The best, really, and in an indirect way responsible for this whole blog and everything we do here.

Cheers, fellow nerds.

Jupiter's Goddess

How many of you fellow Barringtonites remember Goddess Irena? She was always wandering around the Maple avenue area in her flowing white gown telling tales of Jupiter and giving (often accurate) predictions. Well she is still around via the web, experience her interstellar awesomeness here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

European 'Avengers' poster

Project X red-band trailer

New indie horror film 'Awake in the Woods' looks like it has potential

"Prometheus"/"Alien" Link Revealed?

From darkhorizon, An apparent translation of an interview with Hungarian website Mozinezo (via AVP Galaxy) has director Ridley Scott explaining how his upcoming sci-fi epic “Prometheus” and his cinematic classic “Alien” together.

Up until this point all those involved have downplayed the link of "Prometheus" being a prequel as much as possible, despite the teaser trailer for the film showing numerous connections to the original 1979 feature.

Go here for minor spoilers.

Trust Your Instincts Gretle

Monday, February 27, 2012

The world's shortest man

From Geekologie: Chandra Bahadur Dangi has officially been crowned the NEW world's shortest man (and is even smaller than the shortest woman), at a scant 54.6-cm (21.5") tall. Just kidding, they didn't give him a crown -- it was a thimble! Just kidding, he only got some lame-ass certificate. :/

Chandra has five brothers and two sisters, according to Guinness. He is a weaver by trade, but also cares for his family and helps look after the village's buffaloes and cows.

"I'm very happy that I'm being recognized by Guinness World Records and that my name will be written in book," Chandra said after he was awarded the two Guinness certificates. "It's a big thing for my family, my village and my country. I am very happy."

According to Guinness, Chandra claims weigh 14.5 kilogram, or 32 pounds.

Did I mention Chandra is 72 years old? Because I bet he was taller when he was younger but shrank in his old age. I bet he was like, five-foot at one point. "You know, GW -- you're so f***ing stupid sometimes it actually pains me." Pains YOU? I touched the stove this morning cooking oatmeal!

[JPX] It's terrible but my very first thought was this,

Box office

From ew, Patriotism ruled at the box office this weekend, as the Navy SEAL action film, Act of Valor, scored a big victory with $24.7 million.

Relativity acquired the military movie (which was independently financed by the Bandito brothers for $12 million) for just $13 million and then spent another $30 million promoting it — a large percentage of which paid for four Super Bowl spots — and their gamble has paid off in a big way. Relativity successfully captured their target audience of males 18-54 by campaigning to gamers, ethnic audiences, sports fans, country music fans, military, and the faith community. Crowds were 71 percent male, while 60 percent of audiences were above the age of 25. Act of Valor earned an “A” CinemaScore grade, meaning it may thrive at the box office for weeks to come.

Read the full analysis here

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Skull And Bones

The jig is up

I gave Octopunk a hard time yesterday for giving away the game on my "Meth coming to Riverdale" post (mainly because I'd linked it on FaceBook and it seemed like there was still a chance that other people might be taken in). What's funny is, I never intended for one second to fool anyone -- It was straight-out parody. As far as I was concerned the idea was so ridiculous that nobody would take it seriously for a second. Plus it was full of giveaways (like the initial reference to a site called Once I saw that you guys were actually believing it, I quickly went back and improved the artwork, fixing obvious errors in my drawing, but, again, nobody noticed.

I deleted Octopunk's remarks from yesterday. Here's what he said: "[Octopunk says] I got on the phone with Jordan tonight and the first thing he says is "I never thought anyone would think that was--" and I immediately cracked up because I realized I'd been had. I've reposted this at the top because it's hilarious. Kudos to JPX for being quicker on the draw than me (and really, I was told, so I didn't even get a shot off. Ha)."

Friday, February 24, 2012

First Glimpses of ‘Star Trek 2′ Reveal Villain Benedict Cumberbatch

Go to slashfilm for more information

Phantom Menace Crosses $1 Billion Mark At Worldwide Box Office

From cinemablend, This will be the answer to a trivia question some day: Name the only Star Wars movie to pass the $1 billion mark at the box office. Now don’t cry when I tell you that the answer – at least for the time being – is Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.

Thanks to the recent re-release in 3D, George Lucas’ first installment in his Prequel Trilogy crossed the $1 billion line at the worldwide box. THR reports that it is the first film in the six-film franchise to achieve that lofty mark. It’s also $1.5M away from surpassing Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight on the international box office charts. As if genre geeks weren’t already sobbing, that bit of news likely will push them right over the edge.

The trade notes that Phantom Menace has earned $74.3M in additional ticket sales since opening for its recent run, with $35.8M of that coming from right here in the United States. Episode I also becomes the 11th film to break into the prestigious billion-dollar club. James Cameron still has the top two all-time box office earners in Titanic ($1.8B) and Avatar ($2.7B), though the former will add more dollars to its coffers when it floats out its re-release in April.

And even though Lucas plans to release all six of his Star Wars films in 3D, Phantom Menace likely won’t have to look over its shoulder. The next-highest grossing sequel is Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, and it sits at a “measly” $848 million, so the chances of it catching Menace are slim to none.

Vader Can Dance

6 Giant Blind Spots in Every Movie Alien's Invasion Strategy

Octo: I thought this was relevant to the discussion barely started on the "How much would the Death Star cost?" post below.

From Cracked

Number 6: Wear Something

Everyone makes fun of Signs because it depicts an alien invasion that is thwarted because the aliens die if they touch water. But that's not the issue. It's not their fault that water is like acid to them, but it is their fault that they showed up naked. You have intergalactic starships, but you don't have goddamned pants? How does a civilization's evolution just skip over that part?

See the rest here.

Meth coming to Riverdale?

From, Archie Andrews and friends have never been afraid to tackle the issues of the day, and the newest story arc in the long-running comic book franchise will reportedly depict the legendary high school friends battling the ravages of methamphetamine. "It's time to use our beloved platform to address this scourge," asserts Bill Forsbush, spokesperson for Fawcett Group (who publishes the decades-old Archie Comics series). "Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and the others need to be shown falling prey to the evils of homemade drugs, as so many Americans have done. It's not our place to shy away from controversy."

Details of the upcoming storyline have not been revealed, but a rumored intervention by Dilton and a Weatherby/Big Moose-led gun battle (and subsequent jailhouse shiv-fight) are all rumored to be part of the plot. "We don't want to offend anyone," insists Forsbush, countering claims by church groups that the Riverdale gang's hard-core activities could provide bad role models for younger readers and possibly encourage illegal experimentation with harmful, addictive substances. "Archie and his pals are only human -- their mistakes will make their stories more appealing to children of all ages."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Raid looks awesome

Report: Google is developing 'Terminator' glasses

(CNN) - Looks like we're all about to get way more familiar with the concept of "augmented reality."

According to a report on The New York Times' Bits blog, Google is developing a set of glasses that will display digital information on top of the real world. Or, for the pop-culture inclined, they're making "Terminator" glasses.

Here are some details from the report, which CNN has not confirmed:

According to several Google employees familiar with the project who asked not to be named, the glasses will go on sale to the public by the end of the year. These people said they are expected “to cost around the price of current smartphones,” or $250 to $600.

The people familiar with the Google glasses said they would be Android-based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from someone’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a number of sensors including motion and GPS.

A Google spokesman declined to comment on the project.

Read about all the cool features here

Every face punch from Road House condensed into 45 seconds

[via iwatchstuff]

A Good Day to Die Hard

From worstpreviews, 20th Century Fox has announced that Jai Courtney ("Spartacus: Vengeance," One Shot) has been cast as John McClane's (Bruce Willis) son, John (Jack) McClaine Jr, in the fifth "Die Hard" installment, called "A Good Day to Die Hard." The studio also unveiled a photo from a test screening Courtney did with Willis. Check out the photo below.

Plot: The new movie puts McClane (Willis) on an international stage - truly a NYC fish out of water in Moscow - and introduces his estranged son Jack (Courtney). An apple that has not fallen far from the tree, Jack may even be more of a hardass than his father. Despite their differences, they must work together to keep each other alive - and the world safe for democracy.

"A Good Day to Die Hard" is directed by John Moore (Max Payne, Behind Enemy Lines) and is set to hit theaters on February 14th, 2013.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Classic Universal Monsters

What's going wrong with Blu-ray?

From denofgeek, Why hasn’t Blu-ray won quite the level of support and business that was originally anticipated?

I’ve had a couple of off-the-record conversations with people in disc distribution over the past month or two, and they seem to be in some kind of agreement: Blu-ray hasn’t taken off in quite the way that people had hoped. Perhaps that's why some films in the UK, Disney's Winnie The Pooh for instance, don't get a Blu-ray release at all.

In America, Blu-ray is faring well, but you only have to look at the quantity of new weekly releases in the UK against the same number for DVDs five or six years after that format launched, and the picture is fairly clear.

I like Blu-rays. I prefer having a physical disc format, and, appreciating that the download revolution is fully upon us, I still think that a strong packaged film, with interesting extras, is the best choice for home entertainment. But I can’t help but feel that Blu-ray has suffered as a result of some odd decisions that nobody seems in much of a hurry to fix.

Such as these...

The Best Satanic Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen

From slashfilm, With Lucifer on the mind I figured this week’s column would be about Satan, Satanism, demons, witches, possession and whatnot. There’s a whole world out there beyond the obvious (fantastic) Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby and the color-saturated visions of Dario Argento. Such as. . .

Night of the Demon (1957); Jacques Tourneur, director

See the rest here

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I hate snakes

Math nerds calculate Death Star cost at $852 quadrillion

From msn, If you've ever asked yourself "What am I going to do with the $852 quadrillion I stashed under the sofa cushions?" (Oprah, we're obviously talking to you), why not consider building your own Death Star? According to calculations posted on Centives, a blog run by Econ students at Lehigh University, building Darth Vader's planet-destroying mega weapon would cost "roughly 13,000 times the world's GDP" and would require so much steel -- writing the amount uses 15 zeroes -- it would take more than 833,000 years to produce it.

Oh well. The second-best thing to owning an intergalactic weapon? Reading the counter-arguments in the Centives article's comment section.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Box Office

From ew, President’s Day weekend proved to be another strong one at the box office. In its second weekend in theaters, Safe House, an action thriller starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, climbed past last weekend’s victor The Vow and topped the box office chart. Meanwhile, newcomers Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, This Means War, and The Secret World of Arrietty didn’t make a big dent on the chart, but they still contributed to a very sold frame overall.

Go here for full report.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

50P's Saturday Afternoon YouTube Adventure: Part 2

The YouTube video for Party All the Time was preceded by this ad for Ghost Rider 2. The ad didn't make me want to see the movie more, but I did think the footage of the DP zipping on rollerblades behind a motorcycle was pretty impressive. You might wind up seeing the ad before the Eddie Murphy thing anyway, but in case your music vid experience is ad free, this is what I'm talking about. Ummm...enjoy?

50P's Saturday Afternoon YouTube Adventure: Part 1

I just looked up the video for Eddie Murphy's Party All the Time because, whatever. Fuck it. I'm bored.

The video itself is pretty great, featuring a completely sincere Eddie Murphy, a young and enthusiastic Rick James, and some of the best hair you're going to see all day. But what made me feel like writing a post about it, other than that there hasn't been a new post in a while, is the Wikipedia article on the song, containing the following hilarious synopsis. Enjoy.

"The song tells a harrowing tale from the perspective of a heartbroken lover, portrayed in the first-person by Eddie Murphy. He begins by questioning, perhaps rhetorically, why the female with whom he is currently participating in a relationship would want to cause him emotional pain. The narrator goes on to list extravagant items he's purchased for her, including, but not limited to: Champagne, Roses, and Diamond rings. Despite the items that the narrator has given, the female still insists on staying out all night (presumably in the company of other men). The narrator then poses perhaps another rhetorical question as to what he should do to remedy this depressing situation. The listener is then repeatedly informed that the narrator's "girl" wishes to attend nightclubs and house parties at all hours of the day and night. Later on, the narrator points out that he's acted as a voyeur and observed said female whilst she was present at an unknown nightclub. She was seen providing her telephone number to virtually every male patron of the club with whom she came in verbal contact. We are then informed that the narrator's female companion never arrives at their place of residence in the evening. Her absence is believed to be caused by infidelity, presumably with one or many of the men with whom she became acquainted earlier that evening. The narrator then goes on to wish that his female companion would have sexual intercourse with him, instead of the many other men with whom she has been copulating."