Author Archive

MOVIE IMPRESSIONS: 28 Weeks Later

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: 24 weeks after the rage virus strikes, all of the infected have starved and the U.S. military begins rebuilding London. A month after that the first children are allowed back in…

PROS: Far more tense than even 28 Days Later.

CONS: Premise of setting up so soon after the virus is a little tenuous; camera too shaky

BOTTOM LINE: I was a big fan of 28 Days Later. As edge-of-your-seat as that film was, 28 Weeks Later was even more terrifying!

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Name That Action Figure!

Last weekend we tore out the stairs on our 30+ year-old house (and replaced them with oak. This was my wife’s idea. I would have saved the money for something much cooler, like a new high-end video card for my computer, or a few boxes of Confrontation miniatures.)

Among other things, we found some loose change dated from the 60’s and a sci-fi action figure. No one at home knew what the figure was, so I thought I’d post a picture of it.

Any guesses?

[See extended entry for photo… ]

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MOVIE REVIEW: Pan’s Labrynth

Pan's Labyrinth

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Ofelia and her mother move into an old mill in rural Spain to start a new life with her new father, fascist Captain Vidal. Ofelia soon finds that the woods around the mill contain fairies, and a faun that sends Ofelia on a series of quests to prove that she’ the long-lost princess of the Underworld.

PROS: Amazingly captivating story; horribly evil villain

CONS: None

BOTTOM LINE: The best film I’ve seen in a very long while, a worthy Oscar nomination for best foreign film.

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REVIEW: Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

REVIEW SUMMARY: Pratchett’s clever wit and humor throughout a story of time manipulation.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Two Monks of History and the granddaughter of Death race to stop a young genius from completing the perfect clock – one that will halt time as we know it.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Pratchett’s humor is in typical form – a chortle, guffaw or snort on practically every page; some light philosophy.

CONS: A bit of re-used humor.

BOTTOM LINE: Good additon to the Discworld line.

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Wicker Man (1974)

REVIEW SUMMARY: A cult (art-house?) horror story of pagan god worship.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A police officer is called to a remote island west of Scotland to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. During his investigation, he finds that the island’s inhabitants worship the pagan gods of the sun and earth, and that the May Day celebration (and sacrifice?) is just days away.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: October is horror-movie month for me. This year’s line-up included the likes of Scanners, Kill Baby Kill and Sleepy Hollow. Since I’d never seen the original film The Wicker Man, I also added that to my list, and am so glad that I did. While not so much a horror story as it is mystery and suspense, this movie really delivers.

The story in short is that a police officer from the mainland, Sgt. Howie (Edward Woodward) gets called to investigate the disappearance of a young girl from a remote island west of Scotland. The inhabitants all worship the gods of the earth and sun, and Howie, a devout Christian, is offended by the open sexuality exhibited by the community. It is even taught to the youngest children in school! The May Day celebration is fast approaching, and Sgt. Howie thinks that the girl may be in danger of begin sacrificed if he doesn’t find her first. But curiously, no one even knows who she is, or who reported her missing.

Christopher Lee plays Lord Summerisle, the grandson of the man who originally founded the island, and seems to be orchestrating the bizarre behavior of the residents.

In 1979, the Wicker Man won the Saturn Award for best horror film. There is considerable nudity in the movie, so you’ll definitely not want to watch the film with children present.

MOVIE TRAILER: Silent Hill

Based on the Playstation game of the same name, and from the trailer, appears to follow the story line of that game, as well as the awesome theme song, sound effects, demon nurses and evil child puppet things.

I’d put the Silent Hill Playstation game (the original) on my very short list of favorite video games of all time. It’s really the only game I’ve ever played that I found frightening to the core.

MOVIE REVIEW: Mirrormask

REVIEW SUMMARY: Another great Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean collaboration.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Helen, the teenage daughter of a circus performer is transported to a strange world when her mother is taken to the hospital. The balance between light and darkness is broken, and darkness is swallowing up the world.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Even if there was no story at all, the McKean style of imagery would keep you entralled for two hours; story not Gaiman’s best, but quite good

CONS: Special effects, while incredibly engrossing, fall just shy of blockbuster-budget films;

BOTTOM LINE: This is a winner – it appealed to not only a fantasy nut like me, but also my wife and 10-year-old son.

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United Airlines Dragon-slayer Commercial

This commercial really caught my attention, and I noticed there’s a “making of” special for it.

MOVIE REVIEW: A Tale of Two Sisters

REVIEW SUMMARY: A complex psychological thriller that’s also one of the best ghost stories I’ve ever seen.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Two sisters move back with their father to the mansion that their mother died in. But the mansion is haunted and the girls’ new stepmother is definitely no substitue for the real thing!

MY REVIEW:

PROS: VERY scary; brilliant cinematography; complex psycological story that is not at all what it appears.

CONS: subtitles only; difficult to figure out the first watch through.

BOTTOM LINE: I’ve watched a lot of Asian ghost stories over the last couple years, and this is by far the scariest as well as the most intelligent.

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REVIEW: Alice

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A gothic interpretation of Alice in Wonderland using stop-motion animation.

PROS: Imaginative and visually stunning

CONS: Close-ups on Alices’ lips as she narrates got a little annoying; Perhaps not for very young children

BOTTOM LINE: This very surreal, gothic version of Alice in Wonderland is one that I’ll watch over and over.

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MOVIES: Night Watch

Wow this looks good. The trailer doesn’t give a whole lot of details except that it’s the first movie in a trilogy which is based on a series of fantasy novels. Made in Russia, I think.

Danny Boyle and Quentin Tarantino are putting it on par with LotR and the Matrix trilogies.

Hold me…

Penny Arcade Donates $10K to Child’s Play

I don’t really enjoy Penny Arcade (way too many naughty words), but they did a pretty stand-up thing a couple weeks ago by donating $10,000 to the charity Child’s Play when Jack Thompson had problems putting his money where his mouth was.

Yeah, this is old news, but I just found out about it last night while listening to Mur Lafferty’s Geek Fu Action Grip podcast.

Finally, vacation with ‘your kind of people’

Finally, here’s a company catering to the vacation needs of the intellectually happ’nin, but socially challenged crowd.

geekcruises.com even has a section on how to convince your spouse to go.

Daniel Craig Named New James Bond

Daniel Craig has been named the new James Bond. Craig starred in Layer Cake, recently out on DVD. It’s a darned good movie; better, I fear, than any Bond movie he’ll star in. He will, however make a better Bond than that pansy Brosnan, I think.

Serenity Trailer

I just saw the trailer for Serenity on Fox Sports Southwest during the Astros game. 19 more days!

New Final Fantasy XII Trailer

I actually thought that this game was supposed to be released this summer, but now I’m reading 2006. Drats. Still, here’s a trailer.

The Viera (bunny) women are reason enough to get the game, but I’ve also read the combat will be more in-game, like FFXI, which is good. FFX got a little tedious with the constant switching back & forth.

The Seraph Inn Web Comic

I read two web comics regularly. One, The Order of the Stick, has been talked about on this site in the past. The other, The Seraph Inn, has not. The story is just over 300 pages in now, but she draws it only once per week, so it should be easy to catch up on. The story is good, and the art is the best I’ve seen in web comics.

MOVIE REVIEW: Primer

REVIEW SUMMARY: A time-travel film that leaves the viewer asking questions.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Two engineers accidentally create a time machine in their garage. Things start out all fun and games as they use information from the future to make money in the present, but soon turn sinister.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: I absolutely loved the first four fifths of the film, especially the process of the creation of the device.

CONS: I think it’s almost required to watch this movie on DVD (rather than theatre). The film never slows down and doesn’t spend much time explaining things. The last 1/5 of the movie is lost on me, even after two viewings.

BOTTOM LINE: Be prepared to be befuddled. I hope someone else watches this movie so that I can talk to them about it.

MOVIE REVIEW: House of Flying Daggers

REVIEW SUMMARY: Stylish martial arts film in the tradition of Hero and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but with several plot twists and a nice love story to boot.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A blind court dancer is jailed, then broken out by a mysterious warrior. Together they flee from the general’s troops to House of Flying Daggers.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Awesome combat sequences, breath-taking sets, plot twists keep you guessing, nice love story.

CONS: I can think of none.

BOTTOM LINE: Wonderful new-school martial arts romance.

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A New D20 TV Series

Sci-Fi announces that it is working on a TV series based on the d20 Modern system developed by WotC. The name of the series is Urban Arcana, same as the rulebook.

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