Monday, July 21, 2008

All along the watchtower!

No, not that one.

Good grief! It's WATCHMEN! Seriously! I don't think there's anything (other than some of the particulars of the costume design, and even then it's close!) that isn't a frame out of the comic book. They're even keeping the logo the same. I would think that this is the sort of trailer that if you didn't know the comic you'd say "Um. Ok. That looks... Busy." But if you DO know the book, every frame sets you tingling. Especially Osterman in the disintegration chamber. That got me more than the crystal city on Mars. Oh, and of course the Comedian getting tossed out the window. Yowza.

(For the unwashed, look here.)

p.s. Googling for the image at the top of this post led me to this. Small world, eh?


Forty years ago the world saw the last July before man would land on the moon. (Sorry, it slipped my mind yesterday.)

Gotta get me a good Apollo calendar going this year. If I'm nice, I'll include the Soviets.

Meanwhile I'll be holding onto thirty-nine with my fingernails.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Star Wars at 30 - Sorta

Ahhh, an historic day. Doesn't all the hoopla about Star Wars turning thirty seem like a really really long time ago? Well over a year, yeah?

Well, thirty years ago TODAY, Star Wars finally quite playing at the Cine Capri.

Sadly, I would not be a resident of the Valley of the Sun for another 23 days. Ah, well. It would be 15 years later before I saw Star Wars on that storied screen. And by then it would say "A New Hope". But Han would still shoot first.

Monday, July 07, 2008

BSG 412: Revelations

It's over. Well, at least until 2009. Rumors abound that they may be making more movies like Razor. Hrmm.

But for now the cast and crew are having parties and kicking back on the beaches, 'cause they're DONE.


Cylons are outed. Earth is found. Gee, it seemed more complicated than that.

See? I TOLD you he should have told Bill.

This had one of my favorite scenes in all of BSG: Lee trying to pull his father back together. I love the character relationships on BSG. Helo and Starbuck. Tigh and Bill. Laura and Lee. But none of them hold a candle to the Adama family. Ok, I'll include Starbuck in that. But father and son... Whoo. Almost all of my favorites are those two. The very first scene of BSG I ever saw was "I didn't know this was about picking sides." (Bastille Day, season 1.)

My other favorite thing in this ep was Tyrol. He is SO relieved that they found him. He's giddy. Aaron Douglas has knocked every pitch they've given him out of the park.

For some reason, I eally dug the costumes at the end (the field jackets). Man, it looked COLD there. Brrrrr.

Starbuck and Sam. Wonder how that's going to go? Oh, just went back and re-watched the end. Not well. (Ok, Kara is less crazy than Tori. Yikes.)

Kind of like the season three ender, this is kind of two episodes. It's the human / cylon impasse and it's finding Earth. They managed to wring every drop of tension they could out of both.

Speaking of Tori, wow, I thought Baltar held a grudge. Laura tells her to comb her hair and stop sleeping with Baltar and suddenly Tori's ready to feed her to the Cylons. Balanced.

The thing that kills me is that they're making the cylon / human alliance work. They really are. Mind you, here in the U.S. we've taken more than a hundred years to get over slavery and the civil war. Wonder how long it takes to get over a twelve planet genocide?

LEE! Aww, I love it when Lee gets to be cool. And why doesn't Starbuck pick up a phone? (Oh! The drama!)

There was a horrible, horrible moment when I was afraid that Starbuck's viper was going to be the fifth cylon. It went along with the silly hope that if it was it would talk like William Daniels.

Then the jump to Earth. Starring Bear McCreary. Ohhh that was good. If you go look at his blog you see that it was every bit the work that it sounded like. They're going to make me wait another year and a half for the CD, blast them.

You just held your breath waiting for the other shoe to drop. You knew this wasn't really the end. There's another ten episodes! I liked that they're not making Earth the end of the show. Myself, after all of this, I need a little more closure than that. (They continue to make BSG the anti-Voyager. Or the Voyager that should have been.)

But tonight you got to soak up some wonderful, wonderful performances. You knew that these people would tell their children "This is when we found Earth. This is where I was. This is who I was." Bill and Lee Adama were in CiC as father and son, with Laura Roslyn as leaders that are and leader to be. Karl and Sharon Agathon were together with Hera. Gaelen Tyrol and his son Nicholas. Kara Thrace held vigil at the wall of the fallen (as did others) with Kat's photo. Sam Anders stood with her. Saul Tigh was alone.

This morning I rewatched the end. You knew it was coming. You knew SOMETHING was coming. And then that long, slow pan over our cast. And it's pretty much the whole cast. Bill looks like he wants to trash his office again. Laura looks like she should have seen this coming. D'anna wants to explain, but can't (she's REALLY dismayed and looks like she feels somehow responsible). Helo and Athena are together. Baltar is alone. Tori reaches out to Sam! (Away, evil wench!) Six goes to Tigh, not Baltar. Leoben looks like a man who has just had all of his faith taken away from him by force. Tyrol is alone as well. And Starbuck looks like she was lied to.

See you next year.

So say we all.

Begin Bombing

Yay! Look at what I found!

Sunday, July 06, 2008


LATE! Everything's LATE! (I've mostly written my BSG finale review. Good thing I'm not getting paid for this. Then again, if I had been this would have been on time. And had better punctuation.)

Since I've written this a week ago there has been a rather amusing WALL-E lash/backlash. Go look for it. Laugh. You'll read it again in a minute: We get FTL. We win.

Ah. Well, I've made my first mistake this morning: I read Lileks before I wrote my WALL-E review. Oh, well.

PERFECT. Like, Incredibles perfect. Like, when do I get to see it again perfect.

Ok, elephant in the room time: "Hey, ain't you a planet hating Republican?" Why, yes. And that's one of the many things I LOVED about this movie. I've been muttering somewhat cynically (it's what I do best) that this movie depicts a world where we've "used up the Earth". Well, that's supposed to be the end, isn't it? Nope. We are able to move a goodly chunk of the populace into very comfortable space while we put the Earth back together. I call that a win! But now I've seen the movie, it's even BETTER! It isn't a BSG "Oh, it sucks to be out in space and everyone is DEAD." No! Everyone is ludicrously comfortable! So much so that we're supposed to 'tsk tsk' at them for their obviously over-done comfort! For a rampantly consumerist society, they've managed to develop an enclosed environment that thrives at "MORE MORE MORE!" levels for SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS. (I'm sure there's a dark side: Soylent Green - in a cup!) And the other thing that no-one has touched on? They're all NICE. We only meet a few people in the movie, but they're all friendly, well meaning, and, ok, maybe more than a little bored. We should hope for such a future. Oh, and we've apparently developed CRAZY good FTL. Not bad for a dying species. (Oh, and they all seem to be, well, American. *cough*)

Plus, it's NOT global warming. It's not carbon footprints. It's not the ozone layer. (It's a little Haliburton.) It's good old fashioned post-apocalyptic pollution. It's not a warning, it's a McGuffin. (And it's GORGEOUS.)

But enough of all that. Oh, this is a wondrous film. WALL-E has heart and soul to spare. He's just so... so... well, blast it, he's CUTE. He's everything anyone gets into animation for in the first place. There was much concern (still voiced by people who haven't seen the movie) about a kids movie with no talking for the first 40 minutes or so. Hey, there was no talking in Tom and Jerry or the good Pink Panther cartoons. Or Roadrunner for that matter. And this is sublime. In ten minutes alone you'll get joy, wonder, laughs, and melancholy despair. For a start. The last few days bits of the movie have been popping back into my head. (WALL-E before he has his morning sun, for example.) Some of the beginning almost has an "I am Legend" vibe.

The trailers for the movie are just about right. There are a couple of shots that I'd take out. But 1) they lie to you (my favorite trailer technique) and 2) they show you enough to get you into the movie and hold a LOT back. So this will be brief because the movie moves into spoiler territory rapidly. There's a stretch of the movie that pretty much is just the first trailer. (WALL-E hitting himself in the head with the paddle-ball is still making me laugh.)

I can't go into much about EVE (certainly not All About EVE) without spoilage. But I love that it's the GIRL who is the "kill everything that moves psycho robot". Heh. Again, it's the Superman / Lois Lane thing: It's not that EVE is THAT lovable. It's that WALL-E loves her SO much. The scenes on Earth after EVE meets her "directive" are some of the sweetest in movies ever. You'll never look at Pong again without giggling.

Gee, WALL-E starts up with a Mac sound and EVE looks like a flying iPod. Who owns this company?

Pixar continues to be Story Writing 101. Everything pays off. The movie runs on rails. It's so tight it squeaks. Why don't THESE guys write an Indiana Jones movie? I'm sure this will be even better a second time around when you know where it all goes.

This is Pixar doing sci-fi. Ohhhhhhhh! It's so BEAUTIFUL!

From Wikipedia: "After directing Finding Nemo, Stanton felt they "had really achieved the physics of believing you were really under water, so I said 'Hey, let’s do that with air.' Let’s fix our lenses, let’s get the depth of field looking exactly how anamorphic lenses work and do all these tricks that make us have the same kind of dimensionality that we got on Nemo with an object out in the air and on the ground.'"[5] Producer Jim Morris added that the film was animated so that it would feel "as if there really was a cameraman".[8] Dennis Muren was hired to advise Pixar on replicating science fiction films from the 1960s and 1970s, including elements such as 70 mm frames, barrel distortion and lens flare.[9][10] Scale models were made for Muren, which he used to teach Pixar."

Muren! The Old Man of ILM! Jinkies! Pixar is the CG studio that is trying to look like MOVIES instead of video games. Stanton is slated to do John Carter of Mars next. How Pixar will pull that off, I have no idea. But at least it will look like David Lean instead of Michael Bay.

And the sound. It's Ben Burtt. The man who gave us lightsabers and R2-D2. Who re-popularized the Wilhelm Scream. Oh, all movies should sound like this. Thirty years later and he's still amazing.

And if you're as obsessive as I am, stay for the credits. It's cool. Not Iron Man or Pirates cool. But cool.

So, yeah, I liked it.