Archive for the 'Screens' Category

War of Heroes

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

We went to see the latest Avengers movie today (okay, technically it was a Captain America movie), and by gosh those people know how to make a movie. Two hours and twenty-eight minutes of action and storytelling that gives you your money’s worth, even at today’s inflated prices.

Here’s a shopping list of the good stuff:

Jam-packed full of stars even in minor roles. You expect the stars who play the main characters, but the number of award-winners and -nominees is astounding: Alfre Woodard, Martin Freeman, William Hurt, Marisa Tomei, Hope Davis, John Slattery — I always say it’s a bad sign when a big movie skimps on the talent, and this one doesn’t.

Emily VanCamp. She’s cute as a button.

I’m also getting to like ELizabeth Olsen, who, if you don’t recognize the name, looks like a younger Rashida Jones.

Ant Man and Spiderman join the fight, and it’s a nice touch to have two eager, starry-eyed beginners battling alongside the sometimes-jaded professionals. As Falcon tells Spiderman at one point, I don’t know how many fights you’ve been in, but usually there’s not so much talking.

It was also gratifying to see the barely-in-puberty Spiderman hold off three experienced heroes all by himself.

The fight scene choreography was a star of the show all by itself. Watching Black Widow, with no weapons and no armor, take out a platoon of commandos was a joy to behold. And the fight scene in the stairwell, with Cap and Bucky taking out a team of SWAT police, was one of the best I’ve ever seen.

As my wife pointed out, the Scarlet Witch has very cool powers. In a movie full of combat-trained agents and masters of technology, her abilities are different and distinct.

Don’t think the technology isn’t great in itself, though. Falcon has a really neat drone that he uses for reconnaissance and air support, as needed.

So yes, a wonderful movie. This is why we have Hollywood.

Reputations In Jeopardy

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

Power PlayersThis week is Power Players Week on Jeopardy, which is different from Celebrity Jeopardy in that the Power Players are mostly from news and politics, which is why the show strongly implies that they should be smarter, and they really should be, but they’re not.

The one person this week not from news or politics is Louis C. K. I’m not sure why he’s there, unless the designated Andy Richter for the year, the comedian brought in to make the supposed smart guys look stupid. Or maybe he’s the Kevin O’Leary, the Shark Tank star brought in to look stupid himself.

We’ll find out tomorrow.

Speaking of such things, I notice that Wolf Blitzer isn’t competing this year. I guess he got tired of getting his butt handed to him.

Tonight’s celebrities — Anderson Cooper, Lana Logan and Michael Steele — aren’t much better that O’Leary and Blitzer, but at least they all ended up above zero. Still: Shouldn’t the people who shape public policy and opinion be better informed?

Good Guys

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

This week The Walking Dead stars Norman Reedus and Steven Yeun stopped to help car crash victims in Atlanta, but took off before anyone could bug them about who got killed by Negan.

It was Glenn. Or maybe Abraham — except it wasn’t. It was Glenn.

Houdini & Doyle

Sunday, May 8th, 2016

There’s a new show on Fox that looks pretty good — or at least better than the usual summer wasteland on TV — and that’s Houdini and Doyle on Fox, starring Stephen Mangan of Episodes as Sherlock Holmes’ creator Arthur Conan Doyle, who teams up with Harry Houdini and London female constable to solve crimes. Check it out:

“Back to the Future” is Now!

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Welcome to the future 2015

It’s Back to the Future day! Specifically, it’s the day we’ve waited 26 years for (and not 30, like they keep saying on the news, because the future wasn’t actually shown until BotF 2 in 1989) to see just exactly how much lamer it would be than the movie version … and it’s pretty lame!

Here is Time Magazine’s tally of the accuracy (or lack of same) for predictions of 2015 in Back to the Future II.

A more detailed look at the predictions:

Here’s what I want: An automatic fruit dispenser And also a Black & Decker pizza rehydrator!

The Cubs win the 2015 World Series! Or is that just in the alternate timeline?

And finally, two things: A collection of the best BotF fan art, and a sampling of fan art from all over the net. Here’s one of my favorites:

bttf

“Remember … “

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

In the wake of Leonard Nimoy’s passing this week, the internet is filled with Star Trek video clips, but those alone don’t do justice to the actor’s legacy.

With the memory of Star Trek being so strong, it’s easy to forget that he was well-established as a TV actor for years before being discovered by Gene Roddenberry. Here he is on Gunsmoke — as was often the case (see the Mission Impossible clip further down), in full ethnic regalia!

And of course, most of the Trek main cast “auditioned” on Perry Mason. Here’s Nimoy’s episode:

And speaking of his Star Trek co-stars, this episode of Man From UNCLE shows Kirk and Spock working together for the first time (Shatner as a drunken jackass, Nimoy as a Russian spy). Bonus points: Colonel Klink!

Like a lot of celebrities, as soon as Nimoy had a good bit of fame, he was allowed to try to leverage that into record sales — and one of the most notorious pieces was this novelty song based on The Hobbit. (And keep in mind that “hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” were not household terms back then. Long before the blockbuster movies, the only people to have heard of Tolkien were the ones who had read the books — and for the most part, that was limited to stoned college students. This song was actually groundbreaking in that regard.)

According to a Wikipedia entry, “When the single was originally released, Nimoy lip-synched to the recording during a guest appearance on the July 28, 1967 episode of Malibu U, a short-lived variety television series [and] survives as a ‘music video’.”

In addition to the occasional original tune, his singing career was mostly propped up using that time-honored (though hardly proven) route of the cover song, in this case of CCR’s Proud Mary. (Listen as your own risk, it’s kind of pitiful. Your level of respect for Mr. Spock might never recover.) Bonus points: As if it weren’t bad enough that he sings “toinin'” and “boinin'” at one point in the song (but not always), he sings “Pumped a lot of pain down in New Orleans”.

Nimoy’s next career move was as a regular for two seasons of Mission Impossible after the departure of Martin Landau, as “master of disguise” Paris. Shown here is surely his finest hour, in full Kabuki makeup!

And finally: Nimoy’s post-Trek career has been dominated with re-hashing Star Trek (including several feature films), but he did occasionally find work in other films, such as 1978’s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, with Donald Sutherland:

(Thanks to For the Win for some of these links!)

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

NaBloPoMo Day 5: I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this tonight, so, on this month’s topic of “Fresh”, here’s Fresh Prince of Bel Air memes!

Sixty Years Ago, Media History Was Made …

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

I’m often asked why I named my “band” (that is, my musical project consisting of just myself) The Checkers Speech. First of all, everything else in the entire world is taken. But mostly, it’s because I’m a bit of a Nixon hobbyist — he was the President that came along just as I was gaining my political awareness — and because what I’m doing with my music is, politics aside, the same thing that Nixon was doing with this famous speech.

In 1952, young Senator Nixon had been chosen by General Eisenhower to be his running mate, but the opposition was were accusing him of improper financial dealings, and Ike and the GOP bigwigs were having second thoughts about his place on the ticket. Nixon took a look around and noticed this fresh new medium of television, realized that he could use it to take his message directly to the public, persuading them to convince the political powers that he be kept on the Republican ticket.

Not only did it work, but the speech, which takes its name from the cocker spaniel puppy mentioned toward the end, quite possibly won the election for the GOP.

When it came time to choose a band name, I realized that I’m doing conceptually the same thing: Using cutting edge technology (digital music creation and distribution) to end-run the powers that be (the music industry) and take my message (music) directly to the people.

It’s still an odd band name, but like I said, I can’t be picky.

Anyway, for more information on this historical moment, check out What was the “Checkers Speech” and why is it so important?

Video Game History

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

G4TV has posted what they feel to be the Top 100 Video Games of all times. As are most mass media lists of this sort, it’s about 25% trash, but still it’s an interesting trip down video game memory lane:

The reason I haven’t posted about this until now is because the site posted the games in the ridiculous slideshow format — that is, one game per page, and if you want see all 100, you have to click 100 times. But tonight I found the list in some gaming forums (geeks are an persistent, enterprising bunch!), so here it is!

100 Pong
99 Words with Friends
98 Pitfall
97 NBA 2K11
96 Guitar Hero II
95 Burger Time
94 Braid
93 Star Wars: TIE Fighter
92 Galaga
91 The Sims
90 Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn
89 Left 4 Dead
88 Double Dribble
87 Mass Effect 2
86 OutRun
85 Silent Hill 2
84 Wii Sports
83 Ninja Gaiden (2004)
82 Super Smash Bros Melee
81 Resident Evil
80 Gears of War 3
79 Psychonauts
78 Spy Hunter
77 Excitebike
76 Blades of Steel
75 Fallout 3
74 Star Fox 64
73 Mega Man 2
72 Mortal Kombat
71 Wing Commander II Vengeance of the Kilrathi
70 Star Wars
69 Double Dragon
68 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
67 Minecraft
66 Assassin’s Creed II
65 Unreal Tournament
64 NBA Jam
63 Wolfenstein 3D
62 Civilization II
61 God of War III
60 Contra
59 Maniac Mansion II: Day of the Tentacle
58 Ultima Online
57 Pokemon Red Version
56 Super Street Fighter IV
55 Kingdom Hearts
54 Gauntlet
53 Deus Ex
52 Rock Band 3
51 Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando
50 Sonic the Hedgehog
49 Angry Birds
48 Tecmo Bowl
47 Myst
46 Red Dead Redemption
45 Metal Gear Solid
44 Grand Theft Auto IV
43 Quake III: Arena
42 Ghosts ‘N Goblins
41 Super Mario 64
40 Space Invaders
39 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater
38 Super Metroid
37 Halo
36 Batman: Arkham City
35 Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
34 Counter-Strike
33 Final Fantasy VII
32 Punch-Out!!
31 The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
30 Super Street Fighter II Turbo
29 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
28 Super Mario Kart
27 Chrono Trigger DS
26 Ico
25 Grand Theft Auto III
24 Madden NFL 2005 Collector’s Edition
23 Halo 3 Collector’s Edition
22 Panzer Dragoon Saga
21 Resident Evil 4
20 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
19 Diablo II
18 Ms. Pac-Man
17 Starcraft
16 Half-Life
15 Donkey Kong
14 Uncharted 2
13 Portal
12 Doom II
11 Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time
10 World Of Warcraft
9 Shadow Of The Colossus
8 Goldeneye
7 Super Mario Bros 3
6 Legend of Zelda (original)
5 Tetris
4 Asteroids
3 BioShock
2 Legend of Zelda: Link To The Past
1 Super Mario Bros.

New trailer for Pixar’s “Brave”!

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

There are two movies that I really, really want to see in theatres this year. One is The Hobbit (part one), and the other is this — and now there’s a new trailer for it!

Man oh man oh man …