Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday Afternoon Movie Marathon

I haven't been quite up to leaving the house yet after surgery earlier in the week. This has translated to a crap-ton of TV and movie watching. And I have to say, I'm so thankful for the extended basic cable I was able to upgrade to earlier this year. It doesn't include all the pay channels, or even SyFy and BBC but it does include ion, USA, Comedy Channel and Cartoon Channel. So that's something.

This afternoon's fare has been a double header on ion. First up is the Ben Affleck/Uma Thurman science fiction flick, Paycheck (2003). It's apparently based on a Philip K. Dick short story of the same name, but clearly Hollywood had its way with yet another PKD story. Sigh. The premise was interesting:

Michael Jennings (Affleck) is a reverse engineer; for lucrative sums of money, he analyzes his clients' competitors' products and designs new versions that excel above and beyond the original's features. When he finishes the job, he undergoes a memory wipe with help from his friend. The memory wipe is achieved by computer technology able to scan one's brain and erase whatever must be erased. This ensures that the new product cannot be tracked back to the reverse engineering effort, thereby protecting his client's intellectual property.

But the movie falls short of the ambitious plot line. Shocking, I know. I feel like I'm saying/thinking this sentiment a lot lately, particularly in the science fiction genre. I'll see if I can dig up the thesaurus to put it a new way at some point.

I'm a sucker for sci-fi movies with a futuristic bent that are now 5+ years old. And I didn't hate the movie; granted, I'm still on post-surgical pain killers, so that's something but Paycheck amused me for a couple hours on the couch this sunny Saturday. Maybe a B-/C+?

Actually, this trailer sums up the entire movie pretty well:

Next up this afternoon is The Fifth Element, starring Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich (1997). I remember this move quite fondly, as it was a house favorite when it came out 10+ years ago now. Luc Besson directed the film, and used not only really great set designs (some of which were designed by legendary artist Moebius), but outrageous costumes designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, and a dash of some good ol' fashioned slap stick humor.

Set during the 23rd century, the film's central plot involves the survival of humanity which becomes the duty of a taxi driver (and former special forces major) named Korben Dallas (Willis) when a young woman (Jovovich) falls into his taxicab. Upon learning of her significance, Korben must join efforts with the girl and a priest to recover four mystical stones which are key to defending Earth from an impending attack of pure evil and destruction. (via Wikipedia)

Gary Oldman is particularly fantastic as the villain Zorg. And this movie was my first introduction to Chris Tucker. Love him as Ruby Rhod. Not sure what happened to him...

The movie runs a little long, but it's so pretty!

Not sure I love this trailer, but you get the idea:

I wish I could find a good clip of the operatic piece that is included about half way through the movie. I don't typically care for such music, but I would love to see that production!

Not sure if it is just nostalgia but I still love this movie, and would give this at least a B+. The costumes get an A+ for sure.

Next up may need to be a re-viewing of Total Recall...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is one of the writers who served as a foundation to my love of science fiction. I think I read my first Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, around 7th or 8th grade and thought it was so deep, so thought provoking. I don't recall how old I was when I read The Illustrated Man, just that it was a cool concept. Same is true for The Martian Chronicles (though I'm pretty sure I read that one later). I should probably pull all 3 out and read them again with my adult eyes. Even if they don't stand up, reading such classic science fiction at a formative age really helped to make me the geek I am today.

So, thank you, Ray Bradbury, for your amazing contributions to science fiction!
Happy 90th Birthday!!

Published in 1953 during the Cold War and McCarthy Eras, Fahrenheit 451 portrays a frightening vision of the future, firemen don't put out fires--they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury's vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal--a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad. (Amazon)

This classic science fiction anthology by Ray Bradbury brings to life the social and political fears prevalent in post World War II America, when they were first published. The unnamed narrator in the introduction watches the Illustrated Man's tattoos come to life presenting the 19 short stories. (Amazon)

Are You Watching The Guild?

Season 4 of The Guild started a few weeks ago. I've really enjoyed the fun, webseries based on the antics of an online gaming guild who become friends in the "real" world. Felicia Day is great. And there's Wil Wheaton as a dicky gamer!

Here's the trailer for Season 4. I believe other seasons are available for viewing on the interwebs, and Season 1 is on Netflix streaming.

<br/><a href="" target="_new"title="'The Guild' Season 4 Trailer">Video: 'The Guild' Season 4 Trailer</a>

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cool Stamps

via io9, there is a super cool set of international stamps, primarily from the 50s and 60s. The complete set is displayed on Karen Horton's Flickr site. Stamps really were cool. Are they still? I'm not sure the "sticker" version stands up quite as well as the classic version.

A few of my favorites:

I love owls...

and maybe cats/kittens...

These two are for my husband, the space geek!

I vaguely recall that one of my dad's friends passed along a huge collection of international stamps to me when I was a kid. But in my many moves since then, I am pretty sure I got rid of them. Too bad. It would've been fun to do something like this with them.

Are You Watching "Between Two Ferns"?

Zach Galifianakis is growing on me. And I really like the set design. Very "local access."

"Was it really upsetting that you didn't have more scenes in Star Wars with Chewbacca? He doesn't speak English, does he? Does he have a translator? ... It would be so funny if he drove a Miata."

Pirates of Caribbean 4 trailer

(via Heat Vision)

I love Johnny Depp. Always have, always will. So, here's a gratuitous clip just because...

The first trailer for the 4th installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, coming next summer:

Bloody Marys all around!!

For Your Consideration: Piranha 3D

I'm really enjoying the viral videos I've seen from Funny or Die. I seriously had no interest in Piranha 3D, but now, maybe on DVD some rainy weekend (we have a lot of those in Portland). Could be campy good fun, if the cast can have such a good time with it!

And, really, wouldn't it be awesome if something like Piranha 3D won an Oscar? Or 10? It could happen, people.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

PDX Baconfest 2010

Not really my thing, but if you are in Portland this Saturday and feeling a need for swine, chug on over the Baconfest 2010. My friends over that Bakon Vodka will be there, serving up some fine beverages!

Only 5 American dollars! Go to : for more info.

Black Swan Trailer

Have you seen the trailer for the upcoming Darren Aronofsky thriller, Black Swan? It seems to follow Aronosfsky's pattern for deranged and twisted (Um, Pi and Requiem for a Dream, anyone??), but I like that in my movies.

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis star in this one.

I'm particularly drawn to this still image of Natalie Portman's character for some reason.

Star Wars - Victorian Style

Apparently, it's been a while. I think missing Comic Con this year threw me off my bloggerific game. Sigh. Well, I'm rebounding now and hoping to post a few quick things before I'm out of the loop again for a short medical leave. (Summer has been great times this year!)

h/t to Rich for sending along this link to an LA Weekly profile on artist Greg Peltz, and his Victorian Star Wars paintings. Check out all the shared images over at the LA Weekly link, but here are a couple of my favorites:

Jabba with a top hat and mustachio.

Chewbacca with monocle.

Love these! I feel like they need some very flowery, ornate frames to really give them the extra oomph.

Finally, I just have to note that the artist, Mr. Peltz, is a 23-year-old artist, who is also a technical director at Pixar. Now I feel old and under accomplished.

Back to the cubicle with me...