It's more than a blog; it's my blog.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Mark of Jurassic Park

The most vivid memories that I have - that is, the events to which I feel the greatest amount of nostalgia towards - are from the summer of 1993. Living in Toronto was just such a blast: the Toronto Blue Jays had just gotten off the first World Series win for a Canadian team, and were well on their way towards winning their second. I was completely obsessed with Batman, and the animated series was in it's finest form. Star Trek has retaken the minds of the masses, and had just launched Deep Space Nine, while TNG was still wildly popular (I can still remember taking my Jean-Luc Picard action figure to school, and stupidly, as kids are wont to do, scuffing up his comm-badge by running him along the fence to produce a most satisfying *ding-ding-ding* noise). It was just such an awesome time, and even though my father had just gotten laid-off when the Ontario Stockyards moved from Toronto to Cookstown, I remember it as an easy-going, and supremely fun time.

And of course, there was Jurassic Park.

I don't know what it was - maybe it was my exposure to and subsequent love of all things Barney, or maybe it was just the natural proclivity of children to love dinosaurs, but I fell for Jurassic Park with no hesitation, and I fell hard. Dinosaurs were my life from that point onward. I wanted the toys, the t-shirts, the school supplies... I wanted anything I could get my hands on. Now, in reality, I only ended up getting these really cheap, possibly-knock-off, miniature JP dinosaurs (I got a T-Rex and a Gallimimus, my brother got a Velociraptor and a Brachiosaurus), that seemed to be made out of resin and were about two-inches tall. I did what the commercials told me to do, and I "looked for the mark of Jurassic Park," in order to authenticate my finds, but a tiny "JP" mark is easy enough to fake. I no longer have the tiny dinoes, but I do remember being so disappointed that I had not gotten any of the big dino toys that actually had chunks of their flesh that could be taken out to resemble "dino damage." Other items that I received were a Jurassic Park pencil case set (featuring my most favorite of all dinos, the Dilophosaurs, or "Spitter" as I called him - he rose to the rank of my favorite above T-Rex after I had won a stuffed Dilopho from "the Birthday Game" booth at the Canadian National Exhibition), a set of Jurassic Park-themed pencils, a McDonalds promotional plastic cup (featuring Gallimimus), and a backpack (I would have killed for the lunchbox, though).

There was also the numerous JP-shaped food items that I indulged in (not as many as there were for The Lost World, but we'll talk about that later): Jurassic Park yellow-cremed Oreos, Jurassic Park animal crackers, Jurassic Park Raptor-Egg gumballs. There were also other items that weren't exclusively dino-flavoured, but that nonetheless helped fuel my JP-inspired consumerism: Jell-o had cardboard recreations of T-Rexes and the awe-inspiring JP Ford Explorer on the back of their pudding packages.

So, you can imagine how finding something like this might make me all giddy (EDIT: If the videos aren't showing up, then YouTube obviously hates you. You can stick it to the man by viewing the first video here, and the second video here):

Also cool:

I remember another McDonalds commercial that recreates the opening scene (if you can't remember what it was, this might help: "Shooooooooooot heeeer!"), but the big metal box that's being carted through the jungle has a big ol' set of "Golden Arches" on the side. If anyone can find this, it would make my whole goddamn year.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

We Proudly Present Stanley Kubrick's Afri-Cola

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

SLUSHO Is Still People

As the notorious Anonymous has just informed me,

At 28/7/07 3:05 AM , Anonymous said...

Slusho! is people? You wrote this on the 10th, yet as far as I know this quote did not appear on the Slusho site until very recently... where did you get it from?

I just may be in cahoots with ol' J.J.

But cereal, folks: I don't know what J.J.'s tryin' to pull, because I only used the "SLUSHO Is People" gag to reference, in my nerdly way, the Charlton Heston classic Soylent Green. Which, if you've never seen it before, I guess I may have just spoiled the ending for you. Sorry.

Well, now I'm clearly curious again. Mr. Abrams may have just lured me back to figuring out all this 1-18-08 bullshit. Well played, Mr. Abrams. Well played.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Night Fights: That's a Paddlin'

Friday Night Fights gets started early today because I skipped last week's entry, and because my Reaper review will be late.

Tonight, Captain Canuck learns the valuable lesson that sometimes, drug-dealing bikers fight dirty:
Bahlactus demands rectification!

From Captain Canuck: Unholy War #1

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Trek Updates

I'm working on the Reaper review, but I would be remiss if I didn't provide updates from the mecca of Comiccon:

Zachary Quinto (Sylar of Heroes fame) has been confirmed as the newest incarnation of Spock. I'm interested, to say the least. More as I get it.

Courtesy of

As above, Quinto is Spock, Nimoy in the film as Spock, cryptically enough, and a new poster was released. I'd post that, too, but the site has just collapsed under the diluge of hits - which can only be construed as a good sign for the interest in this new film.

No casting of Kirk, though. And not much else. It's kind of disappointing, really.

Here's the poster from

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Pre-Air Extravaganza: The Bionic Woman

Usually I try to feign some enthusiasm for these pilot episodes, if only so that you'll read the entire post in earnest, with some hope in your heart for the awesomness to kick-in.

This, however, is one very bad TV show. It's just not very good.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the worst of the pre-air episodes to make it to the net:

The Bionic Woman

This thing is just full of crap from top to bottom. It's like they hired an avant garde writer who didn't believe that stories should progress logically, and that TV shows should be about cramming as many emotional cues and cliches as possible into a hour timeslot.

It almost seemed as if the first ten minutes were comprised of cut-and-pasted scenes from other movies that were temporarily glued into place just so they could get the annoying "development" out of the way and get quickly into the "part-robot lady" stuff, but it's not like it gets better after that. It just gets worse. A lot worse.

I apologize for not posting a proper synopsis and review, but really - I feel like I got ripped off just by watching it. This show is not worth your time.

And if you're holding an office pool to guess the first show to shit-canned this season, look no further than The Bionic Woman. I'm betting it doesn't even get to air more than six episodes. Who green-lit this turd? If you're an investor with NBC, or it's parents General Electric and Vivendi, I suggest that you withdraw all of your money, and promptly set it on fire - because it is, quite frankly, a smarter investment right now. Jim Cramer would probably agree with me.

Tomorrow I'll be looking at the Satan-inspired Reaper, which, judging by it's high concentration of Dead-like-me and fire, shouldn't be that bad. Right?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pre-Air Extravaganza: Chuck

In the last pre-air extravaganza installment, I reviewed the leaked pilot episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. As it turns out, the scene where [SPOILERS] Cromartie shoots up Cameron at John's school and then walks around with a gun shoved into his open leg wound [END SPOILERS] is set to be re-written and re-shot in the long, long wake of the Virginia Tech. shootings. I think that's ridiculous, but maybe that's why FOX doesn't pay me the big bucks to write a passionless Terminator spin-off.

But that's the past, and I'd like to avoid any apropos time travelling tonight if I may, because we're here tonight to hear about Chuck, a sort of sci-fi-comedy-drama mish-mash with the cast as follows:

Did you say Alec Baldwin!?

Oh. You didn't. Well, I'm sure he's just as good.

Eager critics were willing to dismiss Chuck early on, as it had many apparent similarities to UPN's failure of a show, Jake 2.0, which really wasn't all that fair of a comparison: I mean, UPN could have had sole broadcast rights to the Moon landings, and they still would've had to cancel it halfway through. I know it's not exactly a challenge to insult UPN, but I mean, really. Have they ever had one show, other than Star Trek, that lasted more then two seasons on its schedule? Sure, I could go easy on them - maybe it's just that they didn't have the contacts that the other networks had, being new in the business: but they passed on Malcolm in the Middle, which, although being a terribly unfunny show, was a success for FOX. Then they killed Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And Star Trek went down the tubes quicker than Data's reflexes once it became UPN-exclusive.

And that's why UPN sucked. Oh crap - I was supposed to be talking about Chuck.

Like before, HERE THERE BE SPOILERS, so watch out!

Chuck tells the story of Chuck Bartowski, anathema to women everywhere, and member of the prestigious Nerd Herd tech support team at the electronic retail chain Buy More. He hangs out and plays video games with fellow Buy More employee Morgan, a bearded hobbit-like dude who, like all of us desperate nerds, never knows when to shut up or go home. Chuck is sent an email from his former college room-mate, Bryce Larkin, and since Bryce just so happens to be a rogue CIA agent who's just downloaded a crap-load of state secrets into his Ipod and encoded it in a way that transmits it into another person's brain, Chuck is now SUPERCHUCK! Well, not so much, actually - he just has all that information stored in his little Nerd Herd brain.

It's explained away thusly: the NSA and the CIA were forced to share every bit of intelligence they had with each other after 9/11, and naturally this meant keeping it all on one computer in a big room in which every surface is covered in video displays, sort of like a Pee Wee's Secret Secret Mission:Impossible Playhouse. Therefore, we have a reason for why one agent could get all of the CIA's secret files, leaving no backup except in the head of a former friend. Whoopie and hooray for convenient contrivance!

The show begins at Chuck's birthday party, where his sister has tried to arranged for him to hook up with one, any one, of her fellow female doctors. I'm just going to skip over this introductory segment, since it only serves to introduce Chuck's status (single, ladies) and that he's still pining over a girlfriend he hasn't seen since the freshman year of college. We're also introduced to "Captain Awesome," Ellie's (Chuck's sister) boyfriend, but he doesn't do much either. So off we go! Chuck gets Bryce's email, has a head full o' new secret stuff, and goes off to work.

Sarah Walker, CIA Agent, is assigned to get close to Chuck and, if possible, retrieve the information. This helps us to get acquainted with "Nice Guy Chuck, leader of the Nerd Herd with a Heart of Gold," but more importantly, it gets Chuck out of the house so that he can come home to this:

A Ninja attempting to steal his computer. Needless to say, this means war.

When all is said and done, the Ninja is victorious, but the computer is mucilage.

Sarah and Chuck go out on a date so that Sarah can look for a backup to the super secret vital information that was only stored on one computer in the entire world. During a visit to a nightclub, the NSA attempts to get the information for themselves - you know, because National Security always plays second fiddle to making your career and getting to murder a blonde chick, consequences be damned.

Hey, how long do you think it'll take before this is animated and set to Haddaway's "What is Love?"

So, that doesn't turn out too well, either.

Throughout all of this, Chuck keeps getting "flashes" of the information he's been given, in particular, a bomb plot involving an Army General. NSA-asshole survives the hideous car-wreck pictured above, and just before he can kill blondie, Chuck remembers that the aforementioned Army General is about to blown to smithereens and, you know, just kind of throws it out there. NSA-asshole responds that Chuck "knows all our secrets," followed by "we're the good guys, we keep bombs from exploding." Which makes me wonder: if Chuck only has the information that the CIA and NSA have, then that means the CIA and NSA knew that there was going to be a bomb in the building where the General is. And just when were they planning on acting on this information? Was it in encrypted in such a way that it needed the magnificent mental prowess of the Nerd Herd to interpret it?

Well, putting aside plot holes that you could drive a fertilizer-filled truck through, the gang of CIA, NSA, and NERD get to the building, find the bomb, and, through the magic of Chekov's Gun, the day is saved by porno! How, you may be asking? Well, I'll spoil a lot of things, but this is really the highlight of the episode, so I'll leave it for you find out - all I'll say is that Morgan may have indirectly contributed. So go Morgan.

The episode ends the only way it can: through convenient suspension of disbelief. Chuck is not only allowed to live with all that information without being debriefed, but he's even allowed to go back to his thankless job as the alpha-male in the nerd herd. Of course, NSA-asshole shows up as a new employee for Chuck to train, and Sarah returns to keep an eye on him, presumably roaming the aisles of Buy More for 12 hours a day without somehow drawing suspicion, but this can only lead to more wacky hijinks!

What's the verdict on Chuck? I liked Morgan's character, and seeing as how I'm still watching Psych based solely on the humor of Shawn and Gus, that's really enough for me. There's the potential for NSA-asshole (whose name may in fact be John Casey, as played by Adam Baldwin) to be the straight-man Lassiter type to Chuck and Morgan, and that gives me great hope for the show. It also reminds me of The Lone Gunmen to some degree, so I'm definitely going to be giving this one a chance.

Favorite lines:

Jeff (one of Chuck's co-workers): What if you were the unwitting target of a Ninja vendetta and he returns tonight to strangle you with his nunchucks?
Chuck: That's super, Jeff. Thanks for thinking outside the box on that one.

That's super, Jeff.

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How do you know it's a Canadian comic?

In a word?


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Sorry, folks - my interweb's were down yesterday, so my review of Chuck will have to wait until tonight. Until then, though, let's talk about Halloween movies that aren't called Halloween:

Man, this looks genuinely, seasonally creepy. When was the last time we've had a really good Halloween-themed movie? I hope this is the first strike in the revival of Halloween as a big-time holiday.

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Monday, July 23, 2007


We've heard it all before...

We've waited with bated breath....

We've convulsed with rage and anxiety over unfulfilled expectations and curiosity...


Reboot gets Rebooted!

Maybe! Click on the link for info about Rainmaker's plans to launch Reboot movies!

I have to go change my pants.


And just to refresh your memories...

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pre-Air-Extravaganza: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

If you've been around the internet for - oh, anything longer than a week, you know where it's meat lies: between the two halves of bun-y goodness that are the groupings of letters "il" and "legal." The moral relativist has remained largely uncontested in the domain of the internet, with YouTube videos of trailers and even whole movies appearing minutes after their premiere, new pop-music albums being swapped bit-by-stinking-bit before they're even announced, and popular books having their endings and major revelations blown at least a week before the street date.

TV has, of course, not been immune to these stalwart nihilists. A little-known (*stifled laughter*) program called BitTorrent has allowed every television show imaginable to be viewed all over the world, immediately following the first broadcast, and sometimes even preceding it. It's those pre-air leaks that we look at now, in the first installment of "Pre-Air-Extravaganza," The Sarah Connor Chronicles.


I'm not certain how they happen to reach the internet's series of tubes: my best guess is that the first episode of a season or series is sent to critics or affiliates for review, sort of like advance copies of books. However they get down our chimneys, though, is besides the point, that point being that I have seen the first episode of the Terminator-inspired Sarah Connor Chronicles, and I have felt compelled to offer my unsolicited opinion of it to yous. Let's jump into it!

The Sarah Connor Chronicles is the semi-official sequel to Terminator 2, allowing the fans that absolutely hated Terminator 3 to forget that it ever existed. I say "semi-official" because TV-series based on theatrical movies always seem to exist on the periphery of official canon. the big example, and the only one I can mention with absolute confidence, Stargate SG-1 has "ret-conned" dozens of aspects of it's progenitor, Roland Emmerich's Stargate. It's just something that needs to be done in order to turn something that was intended to last for only 2 hours into something that's long-term. Of course, the big "ret-con" here would be the date of Judgement Day, but I'll wait until I get into the review before I get into that can of cybernetic worms.

WARNING! Thar be SPOILERS past this point!

The Sarah Connor Chronicles takes place two years after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The eponymous Sarah Connor has been on the run from the police after the events of that film, events which are courteously summed up for us by federal agent Ellison just after Sarah leaves her new husband. But then, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The episode opens with a dream by Sarah, in which she pulls her son John Connor (future saviour of humanity) out of school, only to be arrested by waiting police officers. As they sit trapped in the really-not-safe-at-all police cruisers, a lone man wearing sunglasses - the hallmark of all murderous cybernetic soldiers from the future - approaches the police and opens fire. Sarah and John attempt their escape, John is gunned down, and "Judgement Day," in which mankind is almost entirely wiped out in a nuclear holocaust, is immediately triggered, resulting in a spectacular display of special effects that is astonishing for television. Let me say this about the episode: the effects are never cheesy or fake-looking, including the exposed robotic components on the Terminators that Sarah and John encounter.

When Sarah awakes, she gets John and tells him that they're leaving everything behind, based solely on her nightmare-induced fears. Sarah's engaged to be married, but her soon-to-be husband only exists at this point to introduce us to non-cybernetic antagonist #1: James Ellison, up-tight FBI agent who's seemingly obsessed with finding Sarah Connor. Jimmy possesses all the wit and humor of a rectal exam involving a cactus.

Sarah and John settle in a New Mexico "hick town," where we're introduced to Terminator #2: Cameron (the name is more than likely a nod to original film creator, James Cameron), a convincingly-emotional robot of the Arnold variety: sent back in time to protect the saviour of humanity, she takes a more stealthy approach to the job than Arnold, posing as one of John's classmates. This all leads into an encounter with Terminator #1, the evil one, who decides that the best way to kill John is to kill John's science teacher, replace him, and then rip open his own leg and shove a gun into it - if you'll remember from you Infiltration 101 textbooks, revealing components of your robotic nature is considered the epitome of inconspicuous behaviour. Terminator #1 attempts to shoot John, John is made wise to Cameron's metallic inner-child, and we're allowed to witness a moment of pure geek joy as Cameron shouts a line that every man, woman, and child should be familiar with:

"Come with me if you want to live."

Terminator #1 captures Sarah as she's staking out John's school and whips out the "voice changer" trick (care of the T-1000's toolbox) to lure John to their temporary New Mexico house. Girl-inator pulls a fast one on him, though, and she uses the same voice-trick to take a few bullets and kick some ass. The battling robots tear Sarah's house apart (and she just got finished painting, too), and Terminator #1 is electrocuted long enough to allow the trio to escape once more.

After a short trip to Miles Dyson's house to accost his widow, Sarah and the gang head to the bank to make a withdrawal: an anti-terminator gun is stored there, as well as a time machine! And before you can click your hills together, Dorothy, the Terminator is dead and the trio are naked in 2007 - the convenient new date for the beginning of the apocalypse.

There's the usual characterisation here: John just wants to be normal, and doesn't want to have to live up to his responsibilities as "saviour of humanity." Sarah is the tough/almost certainly insane military-like figure who's only goal is to survive. Hopefully we'll see something with more depth over the rest of the season.

Cameron isn't a very compelling Terminator. Like T'Pol of the infamous Star Trek: Enterprise, she's a little too emotional to make for a convincing robot. Depressingly, also like Enterprise, the producers decided to try to make up for this by giving us a liberal amount of almost-naked female-induced titillation, which is never a good sign for a sci-fi series' success, let alone when it's presented in the first episode. Cameron's character also seems to be simply a plot device here: she gives Sarah and John a way to stop the Terminator and, perhaps, CyberDyne (the company responsible for SkyNet, the precursor to the machine uprising that spawns the Terminators). Things do not bode well for her - er, it.

Also of note is Terminator #1's (okay, okay - his name Cromartie) odd little habit of cocking his head to the side like a confused/curious Golden Retriever.

I'm willing to give Sarah Connor Chronicles a chance. After all, last year I pegged Heroes to die quickly because it had so many characters - so many that I thought they wouldn't be able to give all of them adequate development. Then they went and added even more characters, and boy, was I wrong.

But, I still have this nagging itch in the back of my mind - there really isn't anything I really liked here. No, I wasn't bored to tears, and yes, I was kept interested. But the aforementioned Heroes had me, from the first episode, citing Hiro as my favorite character. And I mean my favorite character on TV ever. Sarah Connor Chronicles? Nothing, really. There's no humorous character to endear to. There's no smart-ass. There's no one to channel my hate towards. There could be more emphasis on Sarah's total fear of losing her son - if every time John Connor was not on screen or out of the sight of Sarah, S.C.C. made me feel what Pet Sematary (the novel, not the movie) did when I knew that truck was coming (for the slow kids in the back, that would be absolute fear, despair and crushing anxiety), I'd love this show. Heroes scored in that sense as well, by creating Sylar, a despicable character that you both hated and feared.

Sarah Connor Chronicles just feels like... vanilla ice-cream. It's inoffensive. It's practically neutral. It's nothing memorable.

Watch Sarah Connor Chronicles on FOX, Sundays at 9PM, starting sometime in 2008. Or don't. I really don't care either way.

Favorites Lines:

(Sarah's holding the anti-Terminator gun given to her by Cameron)
Sarah: "Is this nuclear?"
Cameron: "No, not really."

Tomorrow I'll render my opinion on the science-fiction-drama Chuck, starring... no one I've even heard of. Fantastic. I don't have high hopes for Chuck, but I'll give it a try anyhow! See you tomorrow.

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Stay Tuned...

For the Of-Questionable-Legality-Pre-Air-TV-Show-reviews-Extravaganza!

The first new show for '07 I'll be reviewing is the Sarah Connor Chronicles, the official sequel to Terminator 2 that's been promised to help wipe the horrible taste of Terminator 3 out of our mouths.

Look out for that later today/tonight!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

There's a Reason They're Called "Viral"

The latest craze sweeping the big entertainment and media companies is a new form of viral marketing: the puzzle form of the viral advertisement. These are interactive videos or websites that contain little hidden secrets about a particular product, but they are designed to look as though they have no connection with the product that they are promoting. In this way, this type of marketing can be insidious for the consumer, but it can even be dangerous for the promoter.

An example of this type of viral marketing is the "I Love Bees" website for Halo 2, or the recent "I believe in Harvey Dent" sites for the sequel to Batman Begins, "The Dark Knight," or the number of sites for the TV show, "Lost."

While the immediate goal of many people who take part in the viral marketing hunt is simply to find out what it all means, and what is actually being promoted, I believe that due to the ability of the internet to spoil, almost instantly, any secret, the searcher's ultimate goal is for a far more worthwhile prize: the first look. The people who are going to be the most dedicated to fishing through dozens of leads and surviving a load of puzzles isn't going to be your casual internet user, but a fan of the product that is being marketed, who wants to be the first to "crack the code" and discover the secret that it waiting at the end of the electronic rainbow. Hence, the many that sent their email addresses into the website "I Believe in Harvey Dent Too" we die-hard Batman fans who wanted to see exactly what information about the Dark Knight movie they would be treated to. The point of the viral marketing site isn't the marketing, but the prize.

And this is where the promoters enter dangerous waters: recently, there has been activity stemming from the owner of the website, "" (also owner of ""), in the form of the publishing of a website called "Rorschach's Journal," and another website seemingly tied to the character of Dr. Manhattan - both of these characters are from the comic series "The Watchmen," for which a movie has been rumored to be in development. These sites appear to be in the same vein as such viral marketing as websites for "Doctor Who" and "Lost." They are not.

Overzealous fans may take to creating their own viral marketing strategies, and as the very nature of the viral system is to maintain an appearance of non-relation to the corporate promoter, it can be difficult to determine exactly what is legitimate and what is wishful thinking. The legitimate viral site may lead to promotional stills from a movie, while the fan site may lead to a doctored or photoshopped photo of what the fan believes, or wishes, to be in the film. This can lead to all sorts of troubles, from anticipating fans being disappointed with the eventual film, to the image being so distasteful so as to cause "bad press" to form around the movie. Some sites may lead simply to nowhere, and confound fans who are expecting something, anything, to be revealed. At the very best, it will lead to frustration among fans, who must discern what to trust and what to dismiss.

I would even go as far as to say that fan-generated viral sites are akin to "cyber-squatting," generating hits while providing no benefit to the user. It is a double fraud, using the intellectual property of others to offer false promises to fans of that property.

There is such a thing as "bad publicity," and false viral marketing sites qualify as such.

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Monday, July 16, 2007


Well, I just learned from my string of contacts (re: reading old news from that the Ethan Haas stuff is actually part of the marketing push for a game from Mindstorm Labs, ALPHA OMEGA. All this makes me feel kind of like an idiotic sheep, since I had actually heard about ALPHA OMEGA somewhere, but completely pushed it out of my mind as soon as AICN connected CLOVERFIELDS with Ethan Haas and Cthulhu. I am but another victim of a media source's instigation of apophenia, and for that I feel... less confident. Less whole.

I feel a little like the scientists who tested Uri Gellar and numerous other "spoon-benders." The researchers thought they were seeing results that proved the existence of psychic phenomena because they simply could not conceive that the subject could be lying to them or tricking them. They were so used to the data being divorced from intent, to nature simply conforming to what nature does, that they couldn't anticipate that what was happening was anything other than what it claimed to be. They weren't frauds or con-artists, they were scientists - and so, they saw the world as scientists.

And that's me. I trusted AintItCoolNews because they've been my trusted source for "leakage" for a few years now, and because I figured that they had inside sources in most of the major studios - after all, some of the stuff that they've been able to find out has been remarkably on the mark. Now, I must learn to investigate further than one site's word when it comes to movies, as I do with other topics.

Damn, that seems like so much more work, and so much less fun, than just credulously repeating what I read on message boards as gospel. Why did you have to make the entertainment industry be subject to rigorous testing, AICN? I was happy in my blissful acceptance of anything you said.

In other random speculations, to show that I haven't learned my lesson one damn bit, Indiana Jones 4 is apparently titled "Indiana Jones and the Left-Overs From Stargate."

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Rabbit Punch

Your Friday Night Smackdown lumbers onward, as Bahlactus never knows when to just give the bunny some goddamn Trix:

Why couldn't you just put the bunny back in the box?

From Charlton Bullseye v.2 No.6

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How The Simmch Pwned Season Three

And the Simmch started bashing his head on the wall,
And shouted, "How could they have sat through it all!"
The script had no meaning! The plot made no sense!
The science was dismal, the outcome was dense!
And he puzzled for hours in his Paradox Machine
Till he had an idea about what it could mean.
"Maybe fandom," he thought, "doesn't matter a bit,
"If the viewing public laps up any old shit."

My sentiments exactly.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

SLUSHO Is People!

You know what? I'm out.

Says here that the Ethan Haas site (sites?) is apparently not affiliated with Abrams' production...or it is, and this is J.J.'s way of spreading misinformation...or it is, but it's the studio that's doing it, and they haven't told Abrams, so he doesn't know anything about it...or something.

So I've decided to opt out of playing the guessing game. I'm not calling it stupid or a waste of time, because, hey, it might be fun for some people to try to get "in on it," and it's definitely spurring interest in this movie - if it's even that. I'm just not interested enough in something I know nothing about to go scavenging around the 'net for any strange sites that might have the slightest stamp of an "Abram-ism."

Of course, this could all be some kind of passively aggressive way for me to express my disappointment that CLOVERFIELDs was indeed not a code-name for "Star Trek" (I still believe! I believe!). Regardless of my motives, I will try my damndest to refrain from getting sucked into J.J. Abrams' little mind-games. I will resist!


CHUD has a neat little article about viral marketing's problems.

Also, check it out: the SLUSHO site is Japanese. Quick - I want you to name as many Japanese pop-cultural icons that deal with the apocalypse as quickly as you can, so that the rumors can spin way the fuck off-base. The more we guess, the higher the odds will be that we'll be right.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Lovecraft Revisited

In an earlier post, I regarded H.P. Lovecraft as a horrible writer. My remarks were ignorant, and I wish to apologize:

I meant to say that Lovecraft was a terrible writer.

I hope that only a few were offended by my remarks.


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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Message to Comic Book Artists

We need an Ookpik comic series, now.

The original Furby, the uniquely Canadian Ookpik came from a time when Canadians were desperately clawing for cultural identity. Needless to say, it didn't work very well. Well, okay - it did work out better than "Chimo."

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Your Friday Night Smackdown

Bahlactus welcomes all warriors, but only a chosen few will be allowed to die with honor.

Tonight we feature some hot, hot Worf on Worf action:

Worf don't take no shit, not even from himself.

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CLOVERFIELDS Gets Weirder and Weirder

Apparently, the CLOVERFIELDS project (which is disappointingly not Star Trek), has some connection to the following sites: <-- The Truth of Ethan Haas <-- which is apparently some kind of puzzle game. After you "solve" the first sequence, you're treated to a grainy, spooky, little video from a guy who claims to be one of Ethan's followers and that you must be "one of us" if you are viewing it. "Everything has happened just as he said it was...and then there's the predictions of the future..."

It's only rumored that these are connected with the CLOVERFIELDS project, but no one (except for maybe J.J. Abrams and Paramount) knows much else other than there appear to be a few references to... ugh... H.P. Lovecraft.

Could someone please explain the fascination with Lovecraft and his many-tentacled abomination? Lovecraft was a horrible writer. Is it like the "pirates and ninjas" thing? Is it just one of those inexplicable internet-anomalies that pops up and grabs a hold of LOLing freaks everywhere to construct flash animations, webcomics, and poor blogs around? I'm not asking it rhetorically, either - I'm genuinely curious.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Doctor Doom Thwarted

After Doctor Doom's plans to steal a lake were thwarted by the Fantastic Four, science, again, takes the credit.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Doctor Gets a New Companion

More Doctor Who related news:

Catherine Tate, "The Runaway Bride," will be the next regular companion on Doctor Who.

Really? Her? But... she was so... annoying...

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Superman vs. Spider-man

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Monday, July 02, 2007

An Open Letter to Russell T. Davies

Dear Mr. Davies,

Stop. Please, for the love of the Doctor, drop everything that you are planning and just stop. I have some advice that you must heed before you begin work on the 4th Season of Doctor Who.

First, please make the Doctor use some friggin' sense once in a while - there's a character who's just killed over a billion people, and the Doctor's solution is to hug him and feel sorry for the twisted bastard! The dude just turned him into a gnome, and the Doctor is actually unhappy that he's gone! Yes, we'll certainly miss the hordes of innocent people being murdered arbitrarily. We salute you, The Master!

Next, please tone down the sex. It really wouldn't be so bad if you included it only occasionally, but when every single episode of Torchwood has men "shagging" women, men shagging men, women shagging women, women shagging aliens, or men shagging machines, it can sort of give the impression that you're either obsessed with the most primal activity that a human being can take part in, just above taking a shit, or that you're throwing sex in there as the only way you can come up with to make your show seem as "adult" as you claimed it to be.

And while we're on the subject: who the fuck are you trying to kid? Adults aren't watching Torchwood. You took Captain Jack Harkness from the world of the Doctor and put him in an "adult "drama," and now you're planning to put Martha Jones in it as well. And you don't think kids are going to want to watch the continuing adventures of what might be their favorite (well, for Captain jack, anyway) characters? What kind of crazy-ass queer-as-folk drugs are you on, man? Torchwood is, essentially, what Doctor Who would look like if someone did one of those idiotic Battlestar-Galactica-post-modern-neil-gaiman's-sandman "re-imaginings" - everything must be darker! People, if not crying or yelling, must be swearing [in that adorable, British, almost-cursing-but-not-quite way]! Plot holes must be big enough to drive six trucks through at all times! Characters must never actually follow the premise of the show, at all! I mean, you billed that show as a cross between "X-Files" and some British show I really couldn't give a shit about, but you and I both know that's bullshit, because the X-Files was smart and subtle! I can tell you one thing, Russel - the Doctor might have chosen to chase a rampaging 20-story tall hell-demon around downtown Cardiff (?), but Fox Mulder and Dana Scully wouldn't have.

You really want to know what would be best, Russell? Stick to producing. Hire the writers, pitch some ideas, approve scripts, but just let Steven Moffat write the season premieres and finales from now on, okay? Steven Moffat can resist the lure of the "deus ex machina" - I mean, have you seen "Blink?" That shit was solid! The Doctor actually used his fabled galactic intelligence to out-smart the baddies! How cool was that shit? He didn't have "god" (re: Rose Tyler after thinking she could use the TARDIS' console to dry her hair) come and save him. He didn't write himself into a corner where billions of Cyberman and Daleks were wrecking havoc all over the world and needed to be stopped in a convenient way that would also "kill" one of the show's stars. And he definitely didn't have the Doctor be able to subvert the laws of physics through some last-minute bullshit about people chanting the Doctor's name which, amazingly enough, gave him the power to do just about whatever was needed to resolve this story cleanly. (No, wait, this is totally different, see - the first time, it was Rose who got the power of god, and this time it's the Doctor, because I don't like Martha Jones quite enough to give her super powers yet. Totally different, see?) Son, Steven Moffat may not be your kind of "emotional" (re: people yelling alot, people crying alot, David Tennant trying to look menacing and coming across as a complete goof) writer, but the a logical writer - his scripts and resolutions make sense. And they're emotional, too - they're just not melodramatic, like your's. Melodrama belongs on "The EastEnders."

Russel, I plead with you - either change your ways, or let someone else handle the creative side of Doctor Who. Please?

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

1408 Reasons Why 1408 Failed

I love Stephen King, mmm-mmm-mmm boy, do I loves me the Stevie King. The conversational, down-home, small-town, Coca-Cola way he wrote was the most fun I've had reading until I encountered Kurt Vonnegut and Nick Hornby. Sure, while these latter two have now eclipsed the "Master of Horror" on my bookshelf, I'll always remember King, as he was my first.

Somewhere along the line, King lost his way - I don't know whether it was before or after his car accident (well, technically it wasn't his car, or his accident, but he was hit by a car and put into hospital, and let's just leave it there, if you can dig that), all I know is that it was fuckin' torture to try to get through The Tommyknockers, that Insomnia was a perfect cure for itself, and that "Bag of Bones" was bordering on false advertising. Even the remaining "Dark Tower" novels seemed to be lacking any of King's earlier enthusiasm, degenerating from what could have been a modern mythological tale into a convoluted mess. I wanted the old King back, the King that I had fallen in love with after reading Pet Sematary, a novel that managed to freak me out not because it included zombie cats, but because it realistically conveyed the horror of a parent losing a child (which was something that King would often tell interviewers was indeed his biggest fear).

Then, during my last year of high school, in which I skipped class to hang out in the library, I found it: Everything's Eventual. Supposedly made up of "14 Dark Tales," I had rediscovered my beloved Stephen King of old. "Autopsy Room Four" probed at the age-old fear of being buried alive, but taken to the extremes of the modern age, as a man was about to be post-mortem'd pre-mortem. The titular "Everything's Eventual" told the story of a man who could use symbols to kill people. "The Little Sisters of Eluria" was the best Dark Tower adventure since the first book. And then, of course, there was "1408."

Which is what brings me here today. I loved the story of "1408." It had the creepiest imagery I had ever seen in a King story, particularly the part about the paintings which changed from depicting kitsch-y scenes that could be found in any hotel room, to bizarre and eerie pictures that, while far from terrifying if you excluded their true nature, just felt wrong. Naturally, when I head that they were making a movie based on "1408" - with John Cusack, no less! - I had to see that fucker. "Might" or "maybe" wasn't even thrown about. I was going to see 1408.

And I did. And I was disappointed. Let me tell you why.

I was looking for creepy, and it gave me jumpy. Stephen King's a writer, so what he presents must necessarily be "cerebrally" scary - an image that haunts you, no matter how many times or how fast you read it. "1408" obliterates any semblance of King's presence by being all about the jumpy scare - where's the creepiness of paintings changing from tacky images into scenes of unease? Where's the non-sensical ramblings left on the tape recorder? No, instead of the creepiness of King's original story, we're deluged with some weird mix between The Shining and the Sixth Sense, with twists and dead children in abundance.

Mike Enslin (protagonist, Cusack's character, heavy drinker) has been hopping from haunted inn to haunted inn, trying to find evidence of paranormal activity so that he could write such books as "10 Haunted Hotels," "10 Haunted Cemetaries," and "10 Haunted Pet Stores." He also has a bit of an ulterior motive - he wants to find evidence of an afterlife, because his daughter died, years ago, and he wants to know that she's still "out there."

Now, I'm sure you won't be surprised when I tell you that this new "dead daughter" angle is a recent addition, and was not penned by the hand of Stephen King. See, in the original story that I loved so much, Mike Enslin is dead: he wandered into the Dolphin Hotel looking to debunk their famous haunted room, and was instead treated to being blown completely out of his mind. We're hearing the story from, if I remember correctly, a conversation between the hotel's manager (played in the film by Samuel L. Jackson) and an insurance representative. The manager has Enslin's tape recorder (which, happily, featured prominently in the film as well), and all that was on the tape were the incoherent ramblings of a nutcase, including phrases about werewolves eating his brother on the highway (a phrase that makes a cameo in the film by way of a type-written sheet in Samuel L. Jackson's "big honkin' file o' scary shit").

In the story, Mike Enslin is dead because Mike Enslin needs to be dead - it was his hubris to think that he could survive where others had not that was his downfall. It was a morality tale.

In the film, Mike Enslin doesn't die. Mike Enslin is tormented by the room for no particular reason other than Samuel L. Jackson is pissed that he's debunking his ghostly buddies. But if you think about it, Mike Enslin doesn't deserve to be tormented by the room - he wants the room to be haunted, because he wants to know that his daughter is still, I repeat, "out there." It's not in his best interest have hubris, and he's not debunking the haunted hotels for jollies - he sincerely wants to find a building that has a ghost in it. Which is precisely why this move fails so goddamn hard - whenever Enslin's daughter is mentioned, we know that's why he's searching for ghosts. But at every other time, he's presented as a smug jackass who just wants to destroy people's false beliefs (just like in the story). Mike Enslin encountered the haunted room in the story because he needed to be "corrected" for his smug attitude, the ever popular morality theme of preaching humility. So why did he encounter the room in the film?

I don't know, you tell me.

Was it one of those, "be careful what you wish for" deals? No, because ol' Mike eventually found what he was looking for - proof that his daughter was not dead, that there may in fact be a "god." Hell, if I were Mike, why would I have even left 1408? If there's an afterlife, and my dead daughter's there and well, I might as well just sit back and let the room claim me. Or jump out the window like it wanted me to. The dead daughter tells Mike some cryptic bullshit about things "not letting her go," but this is never elaborated upon. Hey! maybe if this movie actually had some kind of message, "not letting go" might have actually seemed to carry some weight (see my recommendations for how the movie could have been improved)!

So, the problem in the film is cause and effect, or motivation. Anything that happens in 1408 doesn't seem to follow from anything - it happens because the plot demands that it happens.

How could it have been better?

i) Mike Enslin is searching desperately for paranormal activity as evidence for an afterlife, so that he can hope that his daughter isn't really dead. Room 1408 makes him realize the folly of his search by showing him that life is what's important by making him believe that he's going to die. Thus, in the end, he escapes with his life and gets on with it, putting all the foolish ghost-story books behind him as he gets back to doing what he does best - writing deep, introspective fiction.

ii) Mike Enslin is searching desperately for paranormal activity as evidence for an afterlife, so that he can hope that his daughter isn't really dead. Becoming disillusioned, he gives up, until weeks later he is sent a postcard telling him not to "go into Room 1408." He only survives Room 1408 by not giving up, and he carries this moral over into his life as he continues to search for evidence of an afterlife.

These are simple fixes that would have given the story some meaning. As it stands, it doesn't - it falls flat on it's dopey, modern-paranormal-thriller face.

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