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Movies This Year

Well…it’s a new year, and that means of course… new movies. If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing like a good movie to distract you from whatever’s going on in your life(or not going on)… at least for a few hours.

So, here’re a few flicks to look for this year(keep in mind, I wrote the list, so I’m a bit biased) Oh, and I do apologize if there are any spoilers hereabouts.(There likely are.)

A Fantastic Fear Of Everything: Directed by Crispian Mills and Chris Hopewell and Starring the constantly brilliant Simon Pegg(How To Lose Friends And Alienate People, Star Trek); this little gem is about a crime novelist, whose research into Victorian serial killers has turned him into an extremely paranoid man, in fear of being murdered.

Date and Switch: Directed by Chris, this movie is about two High School seniors: Michael and Matty that have been best friends since 3rd grade. Still virgins, they make a pact to help each other “get lucky” before their senior prom – their mission however takes an unexpected turn when one of them announces an unexpected secret.

Pompeii: Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, this film stars Kit Harington(Game of Thrones, Silent Hill: Revelation3D) and is set in the year 79 A.D., Pompeii tells the epic story of Milo, a slave turned invincible gladiator who finds himself in a race against time to save his true love Cassia, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been unwillingly betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius begins to erupt in all its fury, Milo must fight his way out of the arena in order to save his love as crumbles all around him.

A Haunted House 2: Directed by Mike Tiddes and starring Marlon Wayans, this is the sequel to A Haunted House with Wayans as Malcolm who, after exorcising the demons of his ex, is starting fresh with his new girlfriend and her two children. After moving into their dream home, Malcolm is once more plagued by bizarre paranormal events.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Directed by Anthony & Joe Russo and starring Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlet Johansson; this film takes place after the events of The Avengers. Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, is trying to live a quiet life in Washington, D.C. while trying to adjust to things in the modern world, but when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Captain America becomes enmeshed in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world once again at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the conspiracy plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow must enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and dangerous new enemy—the Winter Soldier.

Transcendence: Directed by Wally Pfister and starring Johnny Depp, this film stars Depp as Dr. Will Caster, the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will stop him at all costs. In their attempt to destroy him however, they set into motion the culmination of their worst fears.

The Quiet Ones: Directed by John Pogue and starring Jared Harris( Sherlock Holmes: A game Of Shadows, Pompeii, and The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones). The Quiet Ones Tells the story of an unorthodox professor (Jared Harris) who uses highly controversial methods, leading his best students off the grid to take part in a dangerous experiment: creating a poltergeist. Based on the theory that paranormal activity is caused by the negative energy humans sometimes put out, the rogue scientists perform a series of tests on a young patient, pushing her to the edge of sanity and starting something more frightening and terrifying than they could have possibly imagined.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Directed by Marc Webb(no pun intended) and starring Andrew Garfield(The Amazing Spider-Man, The Social Network), Emma Stone(The Amazing Spider-Man, The Help) and Jamie Foxx(White House Down, Django Unchained). After the events of The Amazing Spider-Man, life for Peter Parker is busy. Between taking care of the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the girl he loves, things seem the same as ever, but things always have a way of changing; especially when you’re a superhero with a new villain emerging, an old friend returning, and you start finding clues about your mysterious past.

Godzilla: Directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Aaron Johnson(Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2) and Bryan Cranston(Argo, Breaking Bad, and Malcolm in the Middle). This film is the retelling/re-imagining of Godzilla’s origin in a more contemporary time.

X-Men: Days Of Future Past: Directed by Bryan Singer and starring Jennifer Lawrence(The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games), James McAvoy(X-Men: First Class, Arthur Christmas), Patrick Stewart(X-Men – X-Men 3, The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Star Trek), Ian McKellen(The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug, LOTR Trilogy, X-Men – X-Men 3), and Peter Dinklage(Game Of Thrones, Death at a Funeral). The film’s story is set partially in an alternate future where surviving mutants have been penned in concentration camps, giant robots called Sentinels patrol America, and the majority of the X-Men have been hunted down and killed.

Maleficent: Directed by Robert Stromberg and starring Angelina Jolie(Kung Fu Panda 2, Salt, Beowulf). This is the untold story of one of Disney’s most iconic, classic villains(Sleeping Beauty as told by Maleficent).A beautiful, pure-hearted young woman, Maleficent has an idyllic life growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until the day an invading army threatened the peace of the land. Rising to be the land’s fiercest protector, she ultimately suffers a ruthless betrayal—turning her pure heart to stone and setting into motion a revenge of classic proportions.

How To Train Your Dragon 2: Directed by Dean DeBlois and starring Jay Baruchel(The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, This Is The End, How To Train Your Dragon)and  Craig Ferguson(Brave, Winnie the Pooh, How To Train Your Dragon). The heroic dragon-riding Viking Hiccup and his faithful dragon Toothless must protect the peace — and save the future for men and dragons from a power-hungry enemy named Drago.

Transformers 4: Age of Extinction: Directed by Michael Bay and starring Mark Wahlberg(Ted, The Fighter, The Happening), Stanley Tucci(The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hunger Games, Jack the Giant Slayer) and Kelsey Grammer(Monsters University, Toy Story 2,  X-Men 3).   As humanity picks up the pieces, following the conclusion of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Autobots and Decepticons have all but vanished from the face of the planet. However, a group of powerful, ingenious businessman and scientists attempt to learn from past Transformer incursions and push the boundaries of technology beyond their ability to control – all while an ancient, powerful Transformer menace sets its sights on Earth. The epic adventure and battle between good and evil, freedom and enslavement ensues.

(A trailer for the film seems to be unavailable as of yet.)

There are of course more movies coming out this year, but take it upon yourself to go look for’m, and… happy movie watching.

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The Wonder Woman We… I Want.

Hey there to whomever’s reading this latest post of mine. I’ve noticed that my postings have been few and far in-between, but I aim to fix that…eventually. In the mean the mean time, I was talking with a co-worker of mine about things from our childhood; cartoons, movies and such.. and we came to the topic of Wonder Woman… or to be more specific, who should play Wonder Woman should they decide to make a film for her(with the obvious fact that a Justice League film is obviously looming overhead in the distance.)

So, here’s yet another geek-fueled post by yours truly. Here’s my top 5 list of the most capable female actresses who also happen to have the required looks to play the role of probably the most powerful female character in the entire DC Universe.

 

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1) Jaimie Alexander: It may seem obvious to claim that Jaimie Alexander(the only female Asgardian on Marvel’s side)would be a more than perfect pick for Wonder Woman. As Sif,(In the film Thor)the female Asgardian warrior, she more than combined beauty with brawn. Believe it or not, Alexander’s been brought up in the past as a possible/potential Diana, but for one reason or another, her interest decreased. None the less, she would do a more than splendid job in the role.

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2) Michelle Rodriguez: Being no stranger to the genre of action, Rodriguez has more than shown she can hold her own, whether it’s taking down the infected undead, fighting off an alien attack, driving really fast, or flying/firing from a gunship while kicking butt and taking names…like a boss. Aside from that, she..like every actress mentioned or to be mentioned in this list more than physically fits the bill. And while some may question her as a pick, due to her not being Caucasian, keep in mind…that Wonder Woman herself is not Caucasian… She’s Greek.

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3) Jennifer Lawrence: Star of The Hunger Games, Lawrence showed us that she can do action, and quite well at that. As Katniss Everdeen, she’s shown she can hold her own in a lethal fight to the death, while inspiring that most important of things.. hope. And as good as she is as an archer(In character at least), the world would be a far more interesting place, and we would get a near-perfect representation of the Amazonian  princess.

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4) Sarah Michelle Gellar: There’s no question that Gellar would be more than suited for the role of Amazonian princess. Her stint as Buffy Summers in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer from 1997-2003 more than qualifies her as capable. As the titled character, she’s faced vampire lords, eldritch deities, the apocalypse(on a few occasions) and even the very first evil to ever exist. We’re talking the embodiment of all evil here. If that’s not good enough reason, then there’s also the fact that she is an actually good actor. Her roles in The Grudge, the 2 Scooby Doo films, Cruel Intentions have proven that. And she’s even got geek cred having voiced April O’Neil in the TMNT film.

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5) Lucy Lawless: Just like the 4 mentioned actresses above, Lawless has earned her action chops. In her case, it was in her role as TV’s Xena, Warrior Princess. The ancient Greek equivalent of Wonder Woman, she was basically everything Wonder Woman stood for and then some. She’s taken on monsters, warlords, demi-gods and the god of war himself, Aries. She’s even taken on angels and demons. She may be a little older now than when she played the title character, but I have no doubt that Lucy Lawless could more than handle the role and do it some major justice.

 

I should note that none of the images used in this blog post are by any means my property.

Harry Potter and the Corruption of Everyone?

Now, my numbers may be a bit off here, but I’d say most folk the world around have heard the name Harry Potter. I mean, he’s one of the most famous people to have never existed. Ya.?.  Some would even say he’s bigger than Paul Bunyan. Ok, I’ve never heard anyone actually say that, but let’s assume for the sake of this post that tons of HP fans have said as much. For those reading this who aren’t familiar with the magical world of HP, I’ll sum it up for ya as briefly as possibly possible. Awkward UK lad fights against creepy, noseless UK adult and tons and tons of amazingness inbetween. Not the greatest summary, I’ll grant you, but it’ll have to do for now.

While perusing the vast vastness of media information and cat memes that is the internet, I stumbled upon this little gem of news…  Ok, it was posted on Yahoo news, but I still stumbled upon it.   “Teenage exorcists who say Harry Potter has corrupted the world head to Britain armed with Bibles and Holy Water to tackle hotbed of occult activity”

I read the title and of course my first response was to chuckle a bit. Once I was done with that, it became a wtf moment for me. Harry Potter and corruption? I mean… c’mon.. it’s Harry Potter for crying out loud. I mean look at that face. Is that the face of evil???

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None the less, I decided to give the video attached to the news posting a look-see.  To summarize it, three holier than thou fame-seekers from Arizona (Brynne Larson,  Tess and Savannah Scherkenback) have come to the conclusion that Harry Potter is the source of an occult outbreak across the UK. (Because the works of JK Rowling obviously predate the existence of the occult in Europe… [he said sarcastically]) The last time I checked though, England didn’t have a Ministry of Magic..  Not even a Ministry of Cheap Tricks. They claim that “The spells you are reading about are not made up. They are real and come from witchcraft.” If I had a dollar for every time I pointed a twig at someone and shouted “Avada Kedavra!” and they died from it, I’d not have a single dollar. Forget the little blue pill… who needs that when whipping out your wand and chanting “Engorgio!” does the trick? What’s next? Will they be on a crusade to purge the world of the evil of fairy tale characters like the Fairy Godmother? Is she some harbinger of Satan wrapped in a winged old lady’s clothing?

As I write this, it dawns on me that the three girls may be confusing this: 3176173-1748009911-hp.jpFor this: voldemort
I mean, they both seem so identical, don’t they?  Take away the facts that one is the hero and one is the villain, one has friends who loyally follow him and the other leads by fear, one has never killed anyone to get what he wants and the other does it just because… take away those and other things and they’re oh so identical.

I don’t mean any of this to be a slam against Christians or Christianity in its wide spread uniform diversity, but with individuals like this in the spotlight, it’s no wonder some people can’t take the religion too seriously.

I hope that anyone who reads this post is far more enlightened and open minded than those who have inspired it. Just remember, because you don’t understand something does not make it inherently evil. And if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Harry Potter. I promise you, it’s an amazing read.

For your viewing enjoyment, here’s the video in question. I’ll let it speak for itself… :

 

The full article inspiring this post can be found here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2415387/Teenage-exorcists-say-Harry-Potter-corrupted-world-head-Britain-armed-Bibles-Holy-Water-tackle-hotbed-occult-activity.html

The Princess that Never Was?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, so here’s a short rant from yours truly about something seemingly random and geeky.:

 

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there lived a princes… only… was she really a princess? As Star Wars has become Disney property, a good friend of mine brought it to my attention that princess Leia would be a Disney princess. That got me to thinking… would she be a Disney princess? Further more, was she even really a princess?

If I were to allow my friend to answer that question, he would say that Leia was in fact a princess. She was the adopted daughter of the king and queen of Alderaan, and her birth mother was the Queen of Naboo.  Now, that sounds like more than enough for her to be considered a princess; right? Wrong. In my opinion anyway.

 

 

Here’s the problem. She may have been the adopted daughter of royalty, but does that in of itself make her a royal? If I’m the king of France and I adopt a monkey into my family, does that monkey then become royalty? (not to equate princess Leia to a monkey.)No, it doesn’t.  And as to her being the biological child of the “Queen of Naboo”… well.. I may be ignorant of all of the political ways of Naboo, but the last time I checked.. being the daughter of a former queen doesn’t make you royalty when that queen in question was elected to the position. Elected, not born into or married into.. elected.

Even if I can manage to get past the whole elected queen thing, there’s the fact that when Leia was born, her mother had been dead/on her death bed at the time and there was a newly elected queen ruling Naboo. Heck, even before Padme was dead, Naboo had elected a new queen. Padme was a senator. So, in truth, Leia is the biological daughter of the senator of Naboo and the adopted daughter of the king and queen of Alderaan.

 

 

 

Now, if I can manage to look past even that, there’s the one tiny fact that Alderaan no longer exists. So, what’s princess Leia the princess of?  A large heap of space rock? I don’t think so. No kingdom, no power, title becomes meaningless. Princess Leia becomes commoner Leia.

 

 

So, to sum it all up… princess Leia is not a Disney princess. At best, I could say that she’s a Disney person of importance….within the Star Wars galaxy.

 

 

As an added bonus, here’s the a video about the Disney purchase of Star Wars:

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Marvel vs. DC: Avengers vs. Justice League

With the soon to be arrival of the new Avengers movie, I found it only fitting to do a hero-off..if you will. Both the Avengers and the Justice league are composed of some of their comic book universes mightiest heroes. Now, I could go and limit myself to people who served in either group at the same time, but where would the fun be in that?  I’ve decided to judge both groups on a category based system. The Categories are Strength, Intelligence, Speed and agility, Weapons, and Magic.

Strength: While many may look at the Justice League at having this one in the bag because of Superman and Wonder Woman’s strength, they could possibly be wrong. Though the two are two of the strongest humanoid beings in the Justice League and the DC Universe, the Hulk is one of Marvel Comic’s strongest beings period. He’s pummeled gods, androids, and super-humans alike. Then you have Thor. As strong as the Hulk is, Thor is one of the only beings to have gone nearly to toe with the mean green machine. If the Hulk was out of this equation the fight would possibly go to the Justice League. Edge: Avengers

Intelligence: As important as strength is, it’s nothing without some intelligence behind it; and that’s something the Justice League has in spades. With brains like Batman (Who was smart enough to make a contingency plan in the event of the rest of the Justice League going rogue and trying to takeover the earth. Despite the fact that those contingency plans were stolen by agents of Vandal Savage and later used against the Justice League to nearly lead to their end.), the Martian Manhunter, and Superman… yes… Superman(he’s from an advanced alien civilization. He’s got to have some advanced alien intelligence.), the Justice League is doing very well, intelligence wise. On the other hand, the Avengers have minds like Tony Stark/Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Bruce Banner. Edge: Justice League

Speed and agility: Speed’s as important as any of the other categories here. No two people personify speed in the Justice League as much as Superman and the Flash. The Flash of course being the faster of the two. The quickest/fastest member of the Avengers would have to be Quicksilver. He is fast, very fast, but not faster than the Flash. Then there’s Thor, whose hammer allows him to fly at speeds faster than most fast superheroes can run. The Flash however is speed personified. He’s so fast that when he dies from going too fast he doesn’t go to heaven, hell, or purgatory, he becomes part of some sort of cosmic speed-force type thing. Edge: Justice League

Weapons : There’re a vast number of actual weapons that’re used by both groups here, but two of the most powerful among them is the power ring possessed by the Green Lantern of DC Comics and Mjolnir, the mighty hammer of Thor. While the Green Lantern’s power ring is powered by will itself and can create any construct its wearer can imagine, Thor’s hammer Mjolnir is forged of an indestructible or at least nearly indestructible star metal. A Green Lantern power ring can be broken or destroyed, though the later of the two would cause quite a large explosion….usually. On a basis of just how much power each weapon possesses though, one Green Lantern ring is enough to possibly destroy an entire fleet of starships… assuming its wearer’s will is strong enough. Mjolnir has the power to control storms and weather itself. That basically makes whatever planet the hammer is on into a weapon. That, and Mjolnir can absorb energy.  Edge: Avengers

Magic: While it’s not the most important thing for a team to have, it always helps to have at least one team member learned in the arcane arts. You know, in case that Harry Potter kid ever gets out of hand. There’s no doubt that the Justice League has its share of magic users… Doctor Fate, Zatanna, Etrigan, and Captain Marvel to name a few, but despite their number and their abilities, it’s the Avengers who boast a Norse god and the Sorcerer Supreme. The combined magics of Thor and Doctor Strange could rip open a whole in reality so large that nothing this side of the sun could survive. Now if we’re talking Rune King Thor… it would be even more epic. Not only is the sheer level of magical mastery larger on the side of the Avengers, but unlike the Justice League there is no one member of the Avengers who would take additional damage due to magic based attacks. That can however not be said of the Justice League…due to Superman’s “magic allergy”. Edge: Avengers

Bottom line: Any fight between those two groups would go down in history as the most epic of epic battles to ever be witnessed. Either side would face tremendous losses in a battle like this and some of our favorite superheroes would surely be lost to us. Unless they came back wearing Black Lantern power rings in some odd crossover. Winner: Avengers, Earth’s mightiest heroes.

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Movie Making for Dummies

I’m sure that almost anyone who’s made a film knows the following keys to making a movie, but it seems like some in Hollywood have forgotten the basics. So for those of you who don’t know or may have forgotten, here’re my steps to making a movie.. you dummy. (Sorry for the insult, but this IS called “Movie Making for Dummies”. )

 

1)      Decide what kind of movie you’re going to make- Will it be a narrative film, documentary, or will it be a film that tells a true or fictitious story? If you want a narrative, decide if you want to write a story yourself, base it on a book or base it from a real life story. Either could work. Don’t confuse a documentary with a narrative. Narratives tell the story with characters and plots, so you can make a real life event into a narrative. Documentaries, on the other hand, provide behind the scenes footage of events or a person’s life, with real life people discussing these things, while providing information to the audience about a person or an event.

2)      Decide on your theme or plot and genre of your film- While TV shows about nothing may seem to work, movies about nothing will do the absolute opposite. Almost every story has a lot, be sure to be very descriptive about what the movie is…about. The more interested you are in the film, the more it will cross over to your audience.

2.5) Knowledge- Be sure you know what the hell you’re talking about. If you don’t know horror movies from the back of your hand, you probably shouldn’t be making a horror movie. Just like with writing.. sometimes it’s better to stick to what you know.

3)      Write a script- Without a script, there’s nothing for anyone to rehearse. Your script should detail every scene, the actions performed by the characters, the settings/locations, and when each scenes changes. The stage term for that would be blocking. If you’re unsure of how well your script reads, have someone else read through it for you. Sometimes it helps to have another persons opinion.

4)      Story-boarding- Plan the shots you want to make in the film. This will help the film go along a lot smoother.

5)      Cast & Crew- Without a cast of actors or people to speak in your documentary and a film crew, your film will go nowhere. Just because someone’s got a pretty face most certainly does not mean they should be in your movie or have the lead role. Substance over flash wins every time. Be sure the people you have in mind for your film are willing to work for whatever film budget you have. It’s also important to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing and knows what they’re supposed to do. And make sure everyone involved is properly paid and or accredited.

6)      Location, location, location- Location is key for any film. You can’t shoot a film about living in the city if it’s shot in the country, and visa-verse. If you can’t find the right location, create the sets you need.

7)      Equipment- Make sure you have equipment. Without it, your script, cast and all the above is pointless. Make sure all the equipment you’re using for your film is in working order. Useless equipment makes making a film rather difficult. Equipment needed for a film shoot: Video camera(s) and tripod(s), additional microphones, lighting equipment, and spare tapes/discs.

8)      Roll cameras, and…action- Now it’s time to make your film.

9)      Most important of all- Know your audience. The people who will watch your film are one of the most important elements of the film. Be sure not to pander to them. It’s true, some people love fan service, but just remember… fan service is fan service and pandering is just downright… irritating.

 

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A Different Sort Of Game

It’s recently come to my attention that there are quite a few folk out there who are fans of or have seen the movie ‘Battle Royal’ and have recently come to the conclusion that ‘The Hunger Games’ is a version or adaptation of ‘Battle Royale’. Some individuals have even gone so far as to say such things as, and I quote: “So what’s up with this hunger games craze? I don’t see what it can possibly give me that “battle royale” “the lethal lottery” and “running man haven’t already.” Well, while ‘Battle Royale’ and the ‘Running Man’ are good movies with similarities even to ‘The Hunger Games’, they are in no way the same and as thus in no way offer the exact same things. And believe me, I’m the first to yell out “hasn’t this been done before?”

I’ve decided to take it upon myself to enlighten or rather… impress upon those who think as such, just how wrong they are. So, here’s the…nitty gritty if you will.

The Running Man– The story’s protagonist, Ben Richards, is a citizen of Co-Op City, a suburb of the fictional Harding, which is located somewhere in the Midwest, west of Detroit (not to be confused with the real Co-Op City) in the year 2025. The world’s economy is in a shambles and America has become a totalitarian dystopia. Richards is unable to find work, having been blacklisted from his trade, and needs money to get medicine for his gravely ill daughter Cathy. His wife Sheila has resorted to prostitution to bring in money for the family. In desperation, Richards turns to the Games Network, a government-operated television station that runs violent game-shows. After rigorous physical and mental testing, Richards is selected to appear on The Running Man, the Games Network’s most popular, lucrative, and dangerous program. Richards meets with Network producer Dan Killian and Running Man host Bobby Thompson. The men proceed to discuss Richards’ contract for appearing on the show, as well as the challenges he is expected to face when the game starts.

Battle RoyaleShuya Nanahara is a Japanese middle school student trying to cope with life after his father’s suicide by hanging. Meanwhile, Noriko Nakagawa, finds her class, 3-B, empty with only her teacher Kitano present in the classroom. Kitano leaves but is attacked by student Yoshitoki Kuninobu with a knife. Kitano later resigns after recovering from his wound. One year later, class 3-B makes a field trip after completing their compulsory studies; however, the class is gassed and summoned to a “briefing room” on a remote island after being gassed, wearing electronic collars. Kitano explains that the class has been chosen to participate in this year’s Battle Royale as a result of the BR Act, which passed after 800,000 students walked out of school. The orientation video has the class forced to kill each other for three days until only one student remains.

The Hunger Games– The Hunger Games takes place after the destruction of North America by some unknown apocalyptic event, in a nation known as Panem. Panem consists of a wealthy Capitol and twelve surrounding, poorer districts. District 12, where the book begins, is located in the coal-rich region that was formerly Appalachia. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol in which a 13th district was destroyed, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by annual lottery to participate in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants (or “tributes”) must fight in an outdoor arena controlled by the Capitol, until only one remains.

There you can see that all three films, while having a vaguely similar theme of people set in a game of life and death, they are in no way the same movie. Each film offers up something completely different. In ‘The Running Man’, the main character places himself in that situation rather than face jail time. In ‘Battle Royale’ none of the combatants has a choice in fighting. And in ‘The Hunger Games’, everyone who’s not a citizen of the capital has to enter their names in a lottery of sorts in order to receive rations for their families. Of course the more times your name’s entered, the more likely you are to be chosen as “tribute” of your district.

If you’ve managed to see past vague similarities and other folks opinions of the film or book, then by all means, do check out the film. Give it a chance. If nothing else, the story (the theatrical version) was quite well done. The acting was superb, and the effects were quite nice. Not over the top and not underwhelming, just nice.

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How to Survive a Horror Movie.

Every time I sit and watch a horror  movie, I think about all the things the characters do wrong. All the things they do but shouldn’t do. All the things that no rational person would do in those sorts of situations.

So, I give to you dear readers my list of Horror Movie Rules. (In no particular order of course.) Sure, 10 rules may be sufficient enough for survival under most circumstances, but I feel that 30 rules will get you a hell of a lot further than 10.

1. When it appears that you have killed the killer/monster, never  ever check to see if it’s really dead. If you have a gun, shoot it in the head repetitively. If you  have a knife, you might as well have nothing unless you’re skilled with it. Even then.. assume the killer/monster is still alive.. That is.. until you see its head detached from its body. Basically… overkill

2. Never ever read any sort of ancient books of the dead or of demon summoning aloud, not even as a bad joke. All you’ll get in return is those you care about possessed by whatever evil you call forth. They’ll die, then you’ll die. Unless of course you happen to be an occult expert. Even then.. it’s a risk not worth taking.

3. Avoid the basement at all cost. If your power goes out and your fuse box is in the basement.. skrew the power. Grab a flashlight and make sure you have your eyes on every possible exit from whatever room you’re in.

4. Never leave the large group you’re in to venture off on your own. They say there’s strength in numbers for a reason. The more of you there are, the more difficult it is for you to be picked off… usually.

5. As a rule.. always avoid graveyards, cemeteries, tombs, crypts, or any place where the dead are laid to rest. It may be hallowed grown, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean you’re safe there.

6. If anyone is bitten by a zombie, even if that anyone is your best friend, husband, wife, child.. they will become a zombie. (Unless they’re somehow miraculously immune to the infection.. which is unlikely.) This of course means you kill them or you will be killed. Regardless of who they may have been.. they’re vicious, bloodthirsty, and they want you for dinner.

7. If you’re alone in your house in the middle of the night, you know your significant other is out of town for a few more days and you hear your name called; leave the house… through whatever exit is opposite direction of the voice. If there is no exit.. make one.

9. If you’re going to shoot something.. shoot the hell out of it.

10. If you think your house is haunted, it just may be. Treat it as such. This of course means get a priest, rabbi, monk, pastor.. whomever is a person of authority or respect in your perspective religion and have them come over immediately if not sooner. Even simpler… just leave. grab your things and leave.

11. Creepy music means something bad’s probably going to happen. If you can’t hear it.. then you’re done for.

12. For the love of all that is holy.. do not, under any circumstances take or accept anything from the dead. It didn’t do them any good while they were alive and it’s certainly not going to help you out. Besides, if you steal from them, they’ll come back and kill you and there’s not a lot you can do about it.

13. If you do decide to run from what’s chasing you, be sure you have someone with you and while you’re at it, be sure you’re faster than them. It’s all about survival of the fittest. Be the fittest.

14. If you have large boobs, natural or fake then you’re doomed. Your bf/gf may like them, but they’re sure to get you killed. Try climbing out through a tight space to escape the killer/monster with those giant sweater puppies.. it won’t work.

15. Listen to your children. If they tell you their “imaginary” friend wants them to do bad things or that they’re afraid of said “friend” the best thing you can do is believe them. Children are more susceptible to the supernatural than adults are. Especially if you’ve just moved into a new home.

16. Always be prepared. One of the worst things you can do is give in to your fear. That leads to mistakes being made and it only takes one mistake to end up dead.

17. Always ask why the house you’re buying is being sold at such an amazing price.

18. Your dog can take care of itself. Worry about yourself, not about it.

19. If you’ve been traumatized in the past and have recurring nightmares about it and are seeing things that aren’t there… you aren’t crazy!  Relax, you’re just in a horror movie.

20. If the camp you’re staying at for the summer has rumors of deaths, mysterious disappearances, or other unexplained happenings… leave. Either one of your councilors is a psychotic killer, there’s a killer who frequents the camp grounds, or the camp is haunted.

21. Campfire legends are true.

22. Don’t bury your loved one or pet on any land that’s sacred to any people. They come back.. and they’re not nice about it.

23. If you have a dog and it  starts barking like crazy in the middle of the night, trust it. Even if you don’t see anything at all for it to bark at. The one time you ignore it, you’ll wake up to the sight of the Supernatural Menace turning your companions into jerky.

24. Local legends surrounding death, suicide, murder, ghosts, or supernatural entities where you are planning to move, vacation or visit should be accepted as fact. It’d be really sucky for the last words you ever hear to be “I told you so.” before you die.

25. Premonitions, dejavu, odd sensations or feelings of intuition: intuition is moreimportant than logic in Horror Movies. Logic will get you disemboweled. Listen to your gut.

26. On no account do anything because someone dares you to. Many a person has died in a horror movie just because of this. Don’t be one of them.

27. If something bad is chasing you, bear in mind that when you try to start your car, no matter how reliable the vehicle is normally, you’ll have to crankthe engine over many times before it will fire up. So, don’t be surprised.

28. Never use a Ouija board. It may seem like a harmless game amongst friends, but as with reading aloud from books about summoning spirits and demons, it can only end poorly.

29. Always always be nice to the unpopular, pale, creepy new kid. They almost always turn out to be the killer, and will massacre the bullies, while you get out with a nice thank-you and a hug. Hopefully.

30. Lastly, yet far from least is listening to the advise of locals, especially the random older local who comes off as strange. There’s a likely chance that you’ll regret it if you don’t.

Well.. this ends my list of horror movie rules. There’re a ton of others that I could have added, but they’re mostly covered by this simple rule: Don’t be stupid… which means don’t say stupid things, do stupid things, or be stupid.Follow these rules and you just may survive your horror movie…. I hope.

zombie-attack

Zombie Apocalypse/Zompocalypse 101

In an earlier post of mine entitled A Geek Peek at 2012, one of the things I discussed, though briefly was the Zombie Apocalypse. In a comment to that post, someone stated that they didn’t understand the Zombie Apocalypse, so I figured I’d take the time to try and explain it to all those who may not be familiar with it.

The Zombie Apocalypse is defined as being a particular scenario of apocalyptic literature . In a zombie apocalypse, a widespread rise of zombieshostile to human life engages in a general assault on civilization.

In some stories of zombie apocalypse, victims of zombies may become zombies themselves if they are bitten or scratched by zombies; or if a zombie-creating virus travels by air, sexually, or via water source. In others, everyone who dies or has died in the past, whatever the cause, becomes one of the undead. In some cases, parasitic organisms can cause zombification by killing their hosts and reanimating their corpses, though some may argue that this is not a real or traditional zombie. In rarer cases, possession by a demonic spirit or demonic spirits (released through some ancient tome, rite, or incantation) has caused the long since dead and or the closest living being to become a zombie. In the latter scenario zombies also prey on the living though their bite may not always cause an infection that kills and reanimates. In either case, this can cause the outbreak to become an exponentially growing crisis: the spreading “zombie plague” swamps law enforcement organizations, the military as well as health care services; leading to the panicked collapse of civil society until only isolated pockets of survivors remain. Basic services such as piped water supplies and electrical power shut down, mainstream mass media would no longer function and the national governments of affected countries collapse or go into hiding. The survivors usually begin scavenging for food, weapons and other supplies in a world reduced to a mostly pre-industrial or possibly post apocalyptic, hostile wilderness.

Now fiction aside, there are reasons such an event could actually take place in the real world. Here are 5 reasons.. 5 scientific reasons backing up a Zombie Outbreak/Zombie Apocalypse:

5.  Brain Parasites- A parasite is an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense. Brain Parasites are the same as any other sort of parasite, though they feed off of either chemicals produced by the brain, brain fluid, or other things related to the brain. In nature there are many parasites. One such being toxoplasma gondiiToxoplasma gondii is the causative agent of the toxoplasmosis disease. In summary, extensive studies carried out under different experimental conditions suggest that T. gondii changes the behavior of rodents so as to make them more likely to be predated on by cats, the parasite’s definitive host.

From cracked.com Chances this could cause a zombie apocalypse:
“Humans and rats aren’t all that different; thats why they use them to test our drugs. All it takes is a more evolved version of toxoplasmosa, one that could to do us what it does to the rats. So, imagine if half the world suddenly had no instinct for self-preservation or rational thought. Even less than they do now, we mean. If you’re comforting yourself with the thought that it may take forever for such a parasite to evolve, you’re forgetting about all the biological weapons programs around the world, intentionally weaponizing such bugs. You’ve got to wonder if the lab workers don’t carry out their work under the unwitting command of the toxoplasmosa gondii already in their brains. If you don’t want to sleep at night, that is.”

4. Neurotoxins- Poisons that act on the nervous system. Certain neurotoxins can slow your bodily functions to the point that you’d be considered dead. The poison from fugu (Japanese blowfish) has the capability to do this. The victims of neurotoxin poisoning can then be brought back under the effects of a drug like datura stramonium or alkaloids that leave them in a trance-like state with no memory. In this state they are still able to perform simple tasks like eating, sleeping, moaning and shambling around with their arms outstretched.

There are reported cases of this actually happening in Haiti, which is where the word “zombie” comes from. Some of the most famous books on the subject are by Dr. Edmund Wade Davis: “Passage of Darkness” & “The Serpent and the Rainbow” Clairvius Narcisse was declared dead on 2 May 1962, and yet in 1980 returned alive to his home village of L’Estère in Haiti. After investigating reports of “zombis” (including Narcisse and a handful of others), researchers believed that Narcisse received a dose of chemical mixture containing Tetrodotoxin (pufferfish venom) and bufotoxin (toad venom) to induce a coma which mimicked the appearance of death. He was then allowed to return to his home where he collapsed, “died” and was buried. Ethnobotanist Wade Davis, who did the research on Tetrodotoxin explains that a Bokor would have given Narcisse a powder containing the Tetrodotoxin through abraded skin. Narcisse fell into a comatose state, closely resembling death which resulted in his live burial. His body was then recovered and he was given doses of Datura stramonium to create a compliant zombie-like state and set to work on a plantation. After two years, the plantation owner died and Narcisse simply walked away to freedom. Though there is no way to necessarily make this sort of zombie aggressive or cannibalistic; if such a thing was able to happen and on a wide enough scale.. we would certainly have a zombie problem.

3. Rage- A feeling of intense anger. It is associated with the Fight-or-flight response and oftentimes activated in response to an external cue, such as the murder of a loved one. The phrase, ‘thrown into a fit of rage,’ expresses the immediate nature of rage that occurs before deliberation. If left unchecked rage may lead to violence. Depression and anxiety lead to an increased susceptibility to rage.

In the movies 28 Days Later & 28 Weeks Later, the Rage Virus is a virus that turned human beings into mindless killing machines and is the cause for the zombie outbreak and subsequently the Zombie Apocalypse. Now, while the rage virus may not exist in the real world, we do have a series of brain disorders that do the same thing. They were never contagious, of course. Then, Mad Cow Disease came along. It attacks the cow’s spinal cord and brain, turning it into a stumbling, mindless attack cow. Combine the Mad Cow Disease with some people’s predisposition towards violence and there you have it.

2. Neurogenesis- The process by which neurons are generated from neural stem and progenitor cells. Most active during pre-natal development, neurogenesis is responsible for populating the growing brain with neurons. Some would even word it as being the method by which dead brain-tissue can be regrown.

Science can pretty much save you from just about anything but brain death; they can swap out organs but when the brain turns to mush, you’re basically dead. Right? Well apparently a dead body can be kept in a state of suspended animation to be brought back later. That just seems like it’s leading to bringing the dead back to life.. as long as they’re freshly dead. ya know.?. As nice as it sounds to have your loved one brought back from death’s very doorstep, the process of “reanimation” could cause a problem. The brain would die from the outside in. The outside of the brain, being the cortex, the part which makes people…. people. That would basically leave an individual a husk of their former self. Though the cortex isn’t needed for survival, you would be left a mindless shambling…zombie(for lack of a better word.). Take one freshly dead person, use the techniques of neurogenesis to regrow the dead brain-tissue or the brain stem and you have a living dead person, devoid of thought or personality.  All it takes is someone with considerable time, resources, and a need for a totally mindless workforce to obey their every wish.

1. Nanobots- Very small self-propelled machines, esp. ones that have some degree of autonomy and can reproduce. Basically they’re microscopic machines that can build or destroy anything.. in a matter of speaking.

Scientists have already created a nano-cyborg, by fusing a tiny silicone chip to a virus. One of the first things they found out was that these cyborgs can still operate for up to a month after the death of the host. Who knows…within a decade they may have nanobots that can crawl inside your brain and set up neural connections to replace damaged ones; rewiring your thoughts. Ask yourself…what could possibly go wrong with that? Nanobots in your brain after you’re dead… keeping your body moving and functioning and moving till there’s nothing left to move.  The nanobots would be programmed to self-replicate of course, and the death of the host would mean the end of the nanobots. In order to preserve themselves, they’d be forced to transfer to a new host. Therefore, the last act of the nanobot infested zombie would be to bite a hole in a healthy victim, letting the nanobots steam in and start the whole process all over again in the new host. Once in, they could shut down the part of the brain that resists (the cortex) and leave the brain stem intact. They would have added a new member to their undead ranks.

There you have it. Science has proven the possibility, feasibility, and the reality(No matter how unlikely it may be.) of a zombie outbreak.

All that’s left is surviving a Zombie Outbreak/Zombie Apocalypse. Good Luck.

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First Class or No Class??

X-Men: First Class is a superhero film by Matthew Vaughn and produced by Bryan Singer released in the US on June 3, 2011, based on the X-Men from the Marvel Comics. The fifth installment in the X-Men series, the film acts as a prequel for the X-Men trilogy, set in the 1960’s during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It focuses on the relationship between Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto) and the origin of their perspective groups, the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants.

Plot: The film begins in the German concentration camps in Poland in 1944 where a scientist, Dr. Schmidt looks upon a young Erik Lensherr appearing to bend back a metal gate with his thoughts, while being separated from his parents by Nazi officers. Schmidt brings Erik back to his office, where he orders him to move a coin on his desk in a way similar to how he moved the gate at the camp. When Erik is unable to comply, Schmidt shoots and kills his mother in front of him. In an angered rage, Erik’s powers go out of control and he kills two guard and destroys the lab, much to Schmidt’s delight.

At this time in Westchester, New York mansion, we see a young Charles Xavier meeting a young, shape-shifting girl named Raven in his house looking for food. Overjoyed to meet someone else “different” like he is, he welcomes Raven into his family. The film then jumps to the present day in 1962 in Switzerland, where Erik Lensherr intimidates a banker into tracing a bar of Nazi gold to Argentina where Schmidt is located. While there, Eric comes across former German soldiers who patronize him. He kills the two soldiers and a man who points a gun at him and learns that Schmidt has a boat in Florida.

Mean while in Oxford, England, Charles Xavier becomes a graduate at University and is showing a presentation on mutation along with Raven, who now lives with him. In Las Vagas, Moira MacTaggert, a undercover CIA agent, follows the U.S Army Colonel Hendry into the Hellfire Club quarters where she sees Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost and Azazel threatening Hendry. Azazel then teleports Hendry away and a few moments later, he is in the War Room instructing the U.S to install nuclear missiles is Turkey. When Hendry threatens Shaw with a grenade, he demonstrates his ability to absorb energy. He also reveals himself to be Dr. Schmidt, but de- aged…

That’s all the “plot” I’m giving away…

Just as the original comic book focused on a common human theme of good versus evil and later, themes about prejudice and racism, (all of which have persisted throughout the series in one form or another) so too has the film focused on these same themes (Predominantly in the form of  the First Class versus Sebastian Shaw & Eric Lensherr’s belief that mankind would hate and shun mutant-kind out of fear and ignorance.).  If you’ve never picked up a comic book or watched the X-Men cartoon growing up in the 90’s however, this film is just another good watch, but if in fact you have read the comic books or seen the cartoon, then you’ve noticed a few…incongruities to say the least.

One thing you may have noticed was the lineup of Professor Xavier’s X-Men in the film. Where was Iceman? Where was Angel (Warren Worthington III)? Where were Marvel Girl (Jean Grey) & Cyclops (Scott Summers)? In lieu of them, we see Angel Salvadore, Banshee (Sean Cassidy), Havok ( Alex Summers), Darwin (Armando Muñoz)..etc. Another noticeable difference is the fact that in the film, Charles Xavier still has a full head of hair, unlike in the comic books and cartoon where he’s completely bald. Among the more important differences art these four:

Havok’s Backstory and Family History: In the comics: Havok is Cyclops’ younger brother. He is able to generate powerful plasma blasts, an ability he has had difficulty controlling. He was raised in an orphanage and met the other X-Men in college while studying geophysics.

In ‘X-Men: First Class’: Havok is a young prisoner sprung by the X-Men as an ally after being found using Xavier’s Cerebro (though in the film, Cerebro was created by Hank McCoy). It’s hinted that he is Cyclops’ father.

Banshee’s Age and Relationship With Moira: In the comics: Banshee is an Irish ex-Interpol agent who is significantly older than the other X-Men. His power is the ability to scream supersonically, allowing him to fly and break things. He meets X-Men ally Dr. Moira McTaggert and falls in love with her.

In ‘X-Men: First Class’: Banshee is a redhead, but he’s American-made. He’s also a teenager, making any sort of romance with grown-woman Moira pretty grody. He’s portrayed as the youngest of the baby X-Men. At least the actor playing him, Caleb Jones, tried to incorporate some of his comics knowledge into the role.

Xavier Becoming Paralyzed: In the comics: An alien named Lucifer, disguised as the devil, was acting as the advance scout for an invasion by his race, and Charles Xavier foiled his plans. In retaliation, Lucifer dropped a huge stone block on Xavier, crippling his legs.

In ‘X-Men: First Class’: Moira shoots at Magneto despite knowing of his mastery of magnetism and he blocks her every shot. One of the shots that he blocks bounces in the direction of Charles, hitting him in his spine and taking away any usage of his legs.

Lastly, but far from least of the key differences between film and comic book is that of Moira MacTaggert: In ‘X-Men: First Class’: Moira MacTaggert is portrayed as a dark-haired CIA agent.

Moira MacTaggert: In the comics: Moira is from Scotland and is one of the world’s leading authorities on genetic mutation and a Nobel Prize winner. She was also the silent partner in the founding of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and co-creator of Cerebro, Moira assisted Xavier in helping the young Jean Grey recover after the traumatic triggering of her mutant abilities.

All together.. Not just this movie, but all of the X-Men movies that have been made before this film are a bit… wrong. From costume changes and period shifts to lineup changes and diverging completely from any form of Marvel cannon. Despite this, I can’t help but enjoy watching the films.

And by the way… the Dark Phoenix was not some dormant part of Jean Grey’s psyche . The Phoenix Force was a conscious, living, cosmic entity known throughout the galaxy that for a time became part of Jean Grey.