Friday, May 29, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

V trailer

ABC's V remake may actually be good, according to some reports I've read from people who were test-audiences of the pilot. Like this one I saw on AICN:

"the CGI, at times, looks cheesy, but for the most part, this is a very expensive looking pilot with some beautiful shots of the interior of the motherships. It looks like a cross between a big budget Hollywood blockbuster and a high-concept TV show; the limited budget is obvious, but far better than anything else on TV. ... It does what pilots are supposed to do: provide a good core of lead characters, establish the storyline, and leave the viewer wanting more."



Source: AICN

The Onion on Star Trek

If ever there was a reason to justify today's broadband speeds to people still on dial-up [yes they do exist] it's the video content now produced by America's Finest News Source - The Onion.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Trailer CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 2

COD4 was awarded the prestigious Whopper Award for best video game last year. Now, riding on the coat-tails of such an auspicious accolade, is this new trailer for the game's sure-to-be-a-hit sequel.

I was going to explain what I was doing for the past week. I have to deny I was anywhere near Pakistan, North Korea or an unnamed South Pacific island, but I won't deny I was up to the very shenanigans depicted here...


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

STAR TREK is resurrected!

*** No Spoilers ***

While not regarded as the pinnacle of science-fiction itself; the original series of Star Trek has always been heralded as great television and inspired one of first and largest cult followings ever. As it was created before the age of digital technology [hell, it was created practically before what we now refer to as technology], when one looks at it now, it can now look and feel incredibly dated. The fondness Star Trek inspires throughout all who grew up with it, or discovered it later in life is easy to explain: The original series continued longevity [some of which carried over into later incarnations, but not to the same extent], is owed in most part- not necessarily to the quality of it's plots, special effects, "futuristic" technology or even it's vaunted Utopian vision of our future - although those all do play some roles, no - it is in fact the dynamic relationship between "the big three" characters, Capt. James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy.

Captain Kirk was the quintessential hero, brave, brash and never afraid at just shooting at his problems. Spock was the antithesis of this, eminently logical, a voice of reason a perfect foil to Kirk's gung-ho attitude. Dr. McCoy was a gel that held them together, passionate and compassionate adding a touch of reality to the situation. This dynamic was at the core of all the best episodes of the series and the better of the six movies that featured them. While the writers can claim some credit for this, it was the actors themselves, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and the late DeForest Kelley that breathed the true life into the characters.

When J.J.Abrams, a somewhat controversial choice for a director of a proposed new Star Trek movie, was hired to rejuvenate the dead franchise after the damage caused by Rick Berman and the complete failure of the final two Next Generation movies toppled the Trek house of cards prematurely bringing the brilliant Enterprise series to an end; it sent ripples of discord throughout Star Trek fandom. Even worse was that Abrams intended to swim naked through a sacred pool – the pool from which the original series itself was spawned and - shock-horror recast Kirk, Spock, Bones and the crew with new young actors and touch on the character's Starfleet Academy days.

Not long after it went into pre-production Abrams "came out" by admitting he wasn't a Trekkie. The Internet came alive with chatter, there were angry cries, forum-wars, letter campaigns and suicide bombers* all with Abrams in their sights! Even in my own circle of friends, a circle constructed almost entirely of Trekkies, some were simple naysayers or those that were convinced that Abrams would "rape their childhood"**. I on the other hand, was delighted. If someone was to revitalise this dead franchise, it was someone with the drive, ambition and vision of J.J. Abrams and I'd have chosen him over Straczynski or Whedon any day of the week***. Sure he's produced a whole of of shite in his day like Felicity, Six Degrees, Cloverfield but I loved Alias [well the earlier seasons], I think Fringe is coming together as one of the better shows on TV now and you know what I thought of his feature film directorial debut- Mission Impossible 3 [I was "too late" to watch Lost - perhaps some day...] and all I asked was that people trust my judgement that it'll be Fuckin' - A, but some still weren't convinced even after seeing the trailers.

I'm delighted to say, that after seeing the movie, no less than 4 ardent naysayers [I'm still waiting on a few others] have contacted me to directly apologise for doubting [Brian ran across a busy road, almost getting nailed by a bus to prostrate himself at my feet begging for absolution****]. Whether it was doubting my judgement or J.J.'s ability, I was right, I always am - it's a blessing but also a curse. Almost riding on a celestial manifestation of my supreme confidence in J.J. Abrams - Star Trek is a hit, world over earning almost $150m domestically [please correct this in the comments if you've an updated figure], he got the most important thing right, the characters - specifically Kirk, Spock and Bones who have been born to a new generation of fans embodied by Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban respectively. They are quite different but yet so familiar - I was truly impressed.

Most of the remainder of the aspects of what J.J. created exceeded even my own expectations, which were pretty high. The standard of the rest of the cast was extraordinary, especially Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike. The quality of effects were outstanding from the opening shots of the destruction of the USS Kelvin to the parting shot of the reimagined Enterprise. Michael Giacchino provided an enchanting, sublime and perfect score. A dynamic, faithful and of course humorous [when it had to be] screenplay was borne magnificently by all players.

There are three issues however, which detract from the experience, denying it a coveted *****+ rating.
A very minor contention is Abrams' direction; there was a few too many lens-flares [something which he admitted himself], a bit too much shakey-cam and his characters were filmed at some very odd angles and inconsistently framed - I'm not blaming the DP for any of these, this is all J.J. - 5-Star producer 3?-Star director.
Something else that was a bit distracting was that Simon Pegg, while extremely funny, is not and will never be Scotty; everyone else turned themselves into their character but Pegg has turned Scotty into, well - Simon Pegg. I love the guy on screen but he's so wrong here - I'm wishing they went with Paul McGillion instead for Scotty and give a rewritten TFHC [Totally Fuckin' Hilarious Cameo] instead to Pegg as the Starfleet Academy barracks officer in McGillion's place. Sorry Simon, there was enough humour injected into this already without you trying to out-funny Star Trek IV.
Oh and finally, the plot was complete nonsense, but that's never bothered me too much :p

This Star Trek ranks below Star Trek II and on par with Star Trek VI. But comparing it to existing Trek movies is not entirely fair as it's so different. I went into this film with an open mind. There was a time when I would have yelled "heresy" myself at seeing uniforms / insignia / ship designs / technology that were out of alignment with established canon and would be forced to write letters into the Star Trek magazine explaining why these things are. But now to me, they're just all part of some new incredible background art. They're not important to be right or "Star Trek real", it's just important that they look good on screen and should be a problem only for the art director. So leave your cannon at the door people and accept this for what it is - a reboot, but with added Nimoy :)

A sequel is not only confirmed - they started writing in March. But anything can happen now: Antino Banderas as Kahn? The Mirror Universe? The City On The Edge of Forever with Megan Fox in Joan Collins' role? Or give everyone what they always dreamed - Kirk eradicates the entire Borg Collective from history after handing Q his own ass - BOOYAH! Yes my friends - the sky's the limit...

Final Verdict: Wheather you're a die-hard Trekkie or you wonder why a pediatrician is in a Sci-Fi movie, you should still see Star Trek- it's designed, built and was launched as a blockbuster to shatter the Final Frontier of Star Trek movies eschewing the edicts of standard canon to bring Trek itself where no fan has gone before: into a cinema with non-fans. Trust me. You'll like it.

Colonel Creedon Rating: *****





*Artisic exaggeration.
** OK, None of them actually said that quote, but I read it a lot when reading about Michael Bay and George Lucas and it's time Abrams had it associated with his name now after what he's accomplished. Think of it as a badge of honour.
***Did you see the later Babylon 5 "movies" did you see Firefly - those creators were considered for Trek? Hell no!
**** There was no traffic at that moment and he didn't actually kneel

Friday, May 15, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine - Snikt!

*** Contains Spoilers ***

I hate reviewing films like this, where there's so much good in it and in an equal measure on the flip-side there's so much wrong with the bloody thing that they cancel each other out. I hate to use the Iron Man benchmark here because this movie would never be anywhere in Shellhead's league, but the movies are similar in which they draw upon source material from Marvel Comics to create original origins for movie characters. In the case of Iron Man, this was done properly, it was unique to the movie, but faithful to the characters and original plot elements from 40 years of history. In the case of Wolverine it was in some part accurate but a butchered mess in equal measure.

This is a character driven movie as opposed to the borderline sci-fi FX-heavy X-Men trilogy so it's more important to have the characters believable [as much a mutant immortal can be] and somewhat faithful to the way they've already been presented - this is not an alternate reality - this should be the origin of characters we've seen already, but some 17? years earlier than the X-Men trilogy.

On the plus side we have Hugh Jackman, beefed up, all feral and already established as the Wolverine / James / Logan character from the X-Men movies to the effect that we can't imagine anyone else in the role, he really is great to watch and his star-power is obvious. The problems I have with the movie all stem from the rest of the cast.

Yeah I can be a fan-boy, but I'm prepared to ignore differences between the movie and the comic book, like Logan being a half-brother of Victor, Logan being old enough to have fought in the American Civil War, Agent Zero being Korean and not German etc., hell the comic book's own histories and origins vary so wildly out of control I can't blame them for tweaking it but you can't make such radical character changes between here and the three films of it's own main franchise...

- We have Liev Schreiber, who always impresses me and I think it's a shame that he's not given great roles [this year's Defiance, being an exception] but despite putting in some awesome gym-time for the part; this attempt at Victor / Sabretooth, Wolverine's arch-nemesis is not it. Why give Victor any such meat to his role when he had already been established by pro-wrestler Tyler Mane as a barbarian vegetable. Sure, have them trading machismo quips but Sabretooth should dwarf Wolverine period. Were there no wrestler-wannabe-actors available? Schreiber would have served better as Col. Stryker, a role which he originally negotiated for.

- Danny Huston, again an excellent actor with good roles recently in How To Loose Friends and Alienate People and 30 Days Of Night. Unfortunately he delivers nowhere near the performance of Brian Cox as Colonel Stryker, I know they couldn't de-ageify Cox because if they couldn't do it properly for 10 seconds with Paddy Stewart as Prof. X at the end of this movie, what hope could they have with Cox? But there was just too much lacking in Huston's somewhat controlled and subdued performance. The sad thing is Cox wanted to do it! Who says no to Brian Cox?
-It was chronologically essential that they cast a much younger actor for Scott / Cyclops, but there was no reason for inexplicably changing his power from his trademark concussive blast to heat vision like fuckin' Superman!
-Another plus to this movie was having Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, the wisecracking "Merc with a mouth," - until they take his mouth away! [this travesty automatically took one star from the movie because it was so fuckin' dumb-ass]. It's been confirmed Reynolds will have his own Deadpool movie in the future and hopefully they'll ignore most of this shit origin for him - oh he's alive because a "stinger" scene after the credits shows him putting his head back on... WTF???!!!
-At least Taylor Kitsch's Gambit was pretty good, although I never really followed/liked the character but maybe he'll get his own movie too?

There are some good aspects to the movie; the fight scenes and the action were well done and I can't fault them for being as good as any other example of the best movies of this genre. The Weapon X [I'll have to get used to saying "Weapon Ten" now in speech] sequences were not as "bloody" as Wolverine's flashbacks in the X-Men movies, but were done adequately [this is objected to by Vaughan who ranted for 10 minutes about why Logan should have been naked in the tank and have tubes attached to his orifices and one of the scientists screaming something about there being semen in the tube - I honestly don't know what the fuck type of movie he was expecting]. Harry Gregson-Williams produced a quality musical score in a style with which he usually scores his action movies and is therefore going on my iPod.

There is just one ultimate question I have about this movie, no it's not where did Scott Sommers get those glasses for his sight before he met Prof. X? How did the "endgame" Deadpool bend his arms if he was concealing two full length katana blades in them? Where did a Humvee and all those LCD & Plasma screens come from if the movie is set at most in the early 1980's? INo none of those, my real question is: What is the point of this movie? The Wolverine / Sabretooth relationship was never carried over into the trilogy other than some grunted animosity when they met but there was no recognition from either of them - was Sabretooth's memory wiped too? How? When? We know from X2 that Stryker had a hand in what was done to Wolverine but we didn't know what exactly or why. In the end it just wasn't that important to the audience with many I'm sure preferring the mystery of Wolverine's origin to this somewhat bland rendition and even causes the effect of making the character less interesting.

Final Verdict: Great action, excellent performance from Jackman, but Schreiber and Huston were miscast. Ultimately unnecessary tale which could easily have been shoehorned into the first 30 minutes or so of a better story with half the amount of characters. Stay home from the cinema but see it on DVD if you must.

Colonel Creedon Rating: **1/2




A sequel to Wolverine has been confirmed and according to early speculation it will focus on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's account of Wolverine's time in Japan with The Silver Samurai and Lady Deathstrike which sounds far more exciting than this.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy 65th Lucas Day

It's Lucas Day, the 65th Birthday of one George W. Lucas, a man worthy of only the most devout worship.

Happy 65th George and thank you for all you've done... and yet to do.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another missed opportunity...

While perusing through a favourite site of mine: Rebelscum.com looking at all the cool Star Wars toys that were released while I was in Afghanistan; I came across among other things, a Yavin hangar technician that bears an incredibly disturbingly accurate likeness of Neil - a bloke I know in Dublin and a new Lars Homestead playset.

I gleefully thought for a moment that the latter would be the oft-wished set for the collectors market - ie. the Lars Homestead that's a smouldering ruin after the Stormtroopers are done with their interrogation of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru! Alas it's just a depiction of a scene that was never on screen where a Sandtrooper arrives to begin questioning.

See how Owen is raising his hand to the Imperial? This is blatant disrespect! I always knew the Lars' got what they deserved! Actually, come to think of it - this scene is more in keeping more with the events in Kevin Rubio's hilarious Cops parody in the Star Wars universe - Troops! I'll see if it's on Youtube.

***UPDATE***
It is! Enjoy....




Sources: Douglas Kastle, mcmorran.org, Rebelscum.com

Monday, May 11, 2009

Apologies for the delay...

... I was busy in Afghanistan. One last "hurrah" the "old school" way before they change commander and we'll be doing all "sneaky" stuff. On my way back now. Stay tuned for updates.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Iron Man 2 - The Hype Begins

While we're gearing up for Star Trek this week and how great that will be; I'm always mindful of the future. This time next year we'll be less than one week away from the release of Iron Man 2 and Marvel [and I] are starting the hype machine right now! Marvel's superheroes have had an awesome track record in regards to sequels to their movies. X-Men 2 and Spider-Man 2 were better then their impressive originals, the rebooted Incredible Hulk was a classic; Hell I'll even include Rise Of The Silver Surfer and this year's Punisher: War Zone. I doubt Iron Man 2 will be any different in that regard, based on Iron Man being the greatest Marvel superhero movie of all time - then come next year it'll be bested by it's own sequel!

The first publicity picture has been released by Marvel and we see good ol' Tony Stark himself in his Armour Room - basically where he keeps all his different Iron Man suits. In the world of comic-books Stark has amassed about 36 models, but I'm guessing in movie continuity we'll see a half-dozen at a guess, [more only to sell action figures].

As for story references, you won't find me me talking about or publishing any, because I don't want to know. What I will say is that in reference to Stark's alcoholism, Robert Downey Jr. told MTV “We’re going for the interim space" between Iron Man's origin and the famous “Demon In A Bottle” storyline "which is more a look behind the mask of someone who says he’s Iron Man and what it really is to become a superhero.”

As of now, the only confirmed villains in Iron Man 2 are Mickey Rourke as Whiplash and Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. So where is the Mandarin? I'm betting that we won't see him until Iron Man 3. Gwyneth Paltrow, Clark Gregg and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their roles, Don Cheadle as mentioned earlier, replaces Tererence Howard as Rhodey and Scarlett Johansson is The Black Widow. Jon Favreau is directing from a screenplay by Justin Theroux.

Sources: ESBI, MTV, Marvel, AICN