Monday, July 30, 2007

The Golden Compass: Extended preview (Comic-Con) (July 28)

Fantastic trailer I first saw at Scifi-Chicks site. Daniel Craig and Sam Elliot, be still my heart.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Blog Awards

I am the worlds worst procrastinator. You have no idea. I have been accumulating blog awards on my sidebar and I have not been passing them on. The first one goes all the way back to April. **hangs head in shame**

The thing is, I really appreciate it when someone passes on some blog love in this way. As I am sure you all know, blogging isn't exactly lucrative for most of us, so the only reinforcement we get is recognition from other bloggers that we are not wasting our time. So in appreciation to the bloggers who passed these on to me, and the authors of those blogs I visit everyday, I am passing these on. Finally.



My first award was the Thinking Blogger Award from Crunchy Carpets. Since I like to tell myself that I use my brain from time to time, it's gratifying to see that at least one other person occasionally feels that way about me as well. So here's to the blogs that I feel are authored by some smart people who put more than their fair share of thought into their blog posts.

Stewart Sternberg
Avery DeBow
Allie D.
Deslily
Lee

And just so you know, I would have passed on this award to several other bloggers, including The Curmudgeon and Sfgirl, but they already have received the award.

The next award I got was The Rockin' Girl Blogger from Deslily. The fabulous women I'd like to pass this on to are--

Faberdatch
Scifi Chick
Allie D.
Shadowfalcon
Irene
Mist1
Asara

Again, there are lots of other ladies I would love to pass this on to, but they already have been given the award. But I must mention Crunchy Carpets, Bee, Neila and Reflecting Pool, because they do, in fact, rock.

Lastly, I received The Schmoozing Blogger Award from Sfgirl. This one requires a little explanation and Sfgirl has an excellent description on her blog about what this award is about-- allowing for a little plagiarism on my part. Who me? Plagiarize?

"Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship."

So my favorite schmoozers are--

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator
Carl
Kate S.
Crunchy Carpets
Morgen
Mist1

Blogging champions, Bee and The Curmudgeon already have this one too, as well they should.

Now I don't know if the people I mentioned are into bloggy stuff like this. But I hope all of you accept these in the spirit in which they are intended. I think all of you are very special and it's a huge compliment when you stop in and say hello.

Whew! I finally (finally!) took care of some overdue business. Next, I get to do a meme passed on to me by Scifi Chick.

I should really get to this stuff sooner.

Bionic Woman Teaser

Looking good.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Transformers

Miraculously, I managed to get out again and see a movie. Of course, I had to pick the movie that looked like the biggest spectacle onscreen because that's the kind of person I am.

I don't know why I was so revved up to see Transformers, but I was really excited to see this one for some reason. And even though I was a little old to really get into the cartoon series when it first came out, I still think it's great that Peter Cullen, the original voice of Optimus Prime, was tapped to voice the character in this movie.

Honestly, I don't remember the original TV series that well. I suppose that's best when watching big screen adaptations of anything since it keeps expectations low. And frankly, in a movie like this, I only expected a lot of action.

It would be easy to pick apart this movie since it isn't too deep on plot. But I gotta admit I thought it was a lot of fun. If you're someone who expects this movie to be kind of like The Terminator, well, it's not. This one is definitely geared toward the teenage audience. The main character Sam Witwicky, played by Shia LeBeouf, is a likable, but slightly geeky kid who just so happens to have something very important to the transformable robots that are the center of the movie. Megan Fox goes along for the ride as well, though personally I think her main job is to be eye candy for the teenage boys surely flocking to the movie.

There are two main groups of Transformers, the Autobots (good guys) and the Decepticons (bad guys). Both groups are searching for something called the "Allspark," which can enable the Decepticons to take over the planet and destroy mankind. Megatron, the main bad guy, originally followed the Allspark to Earth but crash landed in the Arctic Circle, becoming frozen in the ice and later discovered by Sam Witwicky's grandfather. The other Decepticons and the Autobots follow Megatron to Earth and each group tries to be the first to get to Sam.

But really, it isn't the plot that's important here. Seriously. It's the special effects and they are spectacular. This movie moves along at a fast pace and we get to see lots of Transformers in action-- and I bet GM paid a fortune in product placement to reveal their new Camaro.

I have read some other criticisms of the movie and they are valid. The Autobots are the only Transformers that are given any personality and yet, oddly, the Decepticons get to turn into cooler stuff. This is highlighted in the final battle when we finally get to see Megatron in action and see him turn into a jet. Why is it all the good guys are cars and the bad guys get to turn in helicopters and jets? Just curious. But when the Autobots are their robotic selves, they are quite the sight to see. And I never would have thought a semi could look cool, but somehow they manage to make Optimus Prime look like one tough 18 wheeler.

Ultimately though, this movie is about the visuals. If you're looking for a good escapist action movie with great special effects, and a bit of juvenile humor, then go ahead and see Transformers. It's my newest guilty pleasure.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I Am Soooooo Looking Forward to This Show

I mentioned ages ago that FOX was putting a new show out in the Fall called The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The good news is that the show is still scheduled to air in the Fall. What remains to be seen is if it will be any good. Summer Glau, better known as River Tam to Firefly fans, has been cast as a Terminator in the show. Chronicles' Glau Humanizes Terminator Summer Glau, who stars as a teenage-girl terminator in the upcoming Fox series The Sarah Connor Chronicles, told SCI FI Wire that her character is a departure from any of the models seen in the Terminator films. "I didn't think I had a chance at being cast in this role," Glau said in an interview following a press conference at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., on July 23. "I've seen [Terminator 3 star] Kristanna Loken in person, and she's so statuesque and she has that icy beauty, and I thought, 'I don't even want to go on this audition. I'm just going to be embarrassed. I'm going to get in the room, and I'm going to be embarrassed.' But she infiltrates. And that's what terminators are going to be now. They infiltrate. They hide. They're not, 'What is that superhuman person?' That's what we're going to do with this series. And, I think, every week people are going to be watching the show going, 'OK, which one is it?'" The Sarah Connor Chronicles (whose title may change to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) was adapted for television by Josh Friedman, who wrote 2005's War of the Worlds. It picks up the story of the title character (played by 300's Lena Headey) and her son, John Connor (Thomas Dekker) sometime after the 1991 second film, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Glau plays a mysterious girl named Cameron, who turns out to be a terminator sent back from the year 2027 to protect John and Sarah in the past. Glau, best known for her role as River Tam in the series Firefly and the feature film Serenity, said that she was daunted at the prospect of taking on an iconic character who doesn't have any emotions to draw upon. "I was, to be honest, very intimidated," she said. "I didn't know how to play this character. I've played very vulnerable characters so far, and it's kind of what I do. So playing a girl that can't truly feel anything was very intimidating for me. It was hard to find a way to make the scene interesting. And I worked with Josh a lot of it. And then, in my final test, when I tested for the role, he wrote a third scene where I had to cry. And I was so confused by it at first. And then I realized that he's really going to take this far. She is really human. She can mimic the most subtle human emotions as well as a spy." Glau was well aware that the audience may see some similarities between her character and a certain other superpowered teenager from another television series. In fact, when she got the role, she called Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon (who also created Firefly) for advice. "I called Joss when I got the role, because I wanted his input and what he thought about me doing this," she said. "I just love any opportunity for a young girl to be empowered and to play a role like this. I think we can't get enough of that in this day and age. And I think there's still a lot of oppression for girls in Hollywood. I have to be honest. There's a lot of roles that are still degrading, I think, for girls. And I've turned down a lot of things because I want to play roles like this where girls are celebrated and they're empowered and it's inspiring." The Sarah Connor Chronicles will premiere on Fox in early 2008. —Cindy White I really, really hope this show will not end up too cheesy. I am a big fan of the first two Terminator movies and I can even watch the third without cringing. I don't know why this particular series makes me exited, but it does. The new Bionic Woman is looking promising but still hasn't gotten me quite as keyed up as this one. Here's hoping that I am not getting all worked up over nothing.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Waiting for Harry

Like a lot of Harry Potter geeks I pre-ordered my copy of The Deathly Hallows and am I eagerly awaiting its delivery. I can feel the eye-rolls now. I will probably be a bit distracted for a day or two.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Do We Still Care?

So how many years has it been since the X-Files ended? Four? Five years? Actually, the real question is when did you stop watching it? I stopped watching pretty much as soon as they started replacing David Duchovny. But it appears the franchise just isn't going to die just yet. Yep, they have finished the script for a second movie and David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have both signed on to star in the movie. David Duchovny, who played special agent Fox Mulder on the television series The X-Files and in the 1998 feature film, told reporters that he will be getting a finished script of a proposed second movie this week. Speaking in a news conference at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. on July 14, Duchovny said that The X-Files creator Chris Carter drafted the new script with longtime producing partner Frank Spotnitz. (Duchovny was promoting his new Showtime series Californication.) "Chris has written it with Frank Spotnitz, and Chris will direct it," Duchovny said. "And [co-star Gillian Anderson is] on board, and I'm on board, and that's all I can tell you. I mean, I'm looking forward to seeing what he did." Rumors of a second film have been circulating since the previous one came out. This time, Duchovny said that the long-anticipated sequel project is finally moving forward. "Before, I would just say that because they told me," Duchovny said. "But now I've been talking to Chris and he's been giving me progress reports. He actually called yesterday and said next week we should have something." Duchovny added that he's looking forward to bringing back Mulder because "he's cool." Filming for the proposed stand-alone film would begin in November, with an eye toward release in the summer of 2008, he said. I gotta admit, this has me a little stumped. First, I have no idea how the series ended other than the fact that Lucy Lawless was brought in at some point. Maybe in the sci-fi world that's a sign a series is going to end--just look at Battlestar Galactica. But that's besides the point. I'm just trying to figure out how the story is going to flow after so many characters were introduced and after such a prolonged absence. Will anyone remember what's going on? And at the same time, I kind of like the idea of seeing Scully and Mulder again.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Where's The Science Fiction????

In a recent discussion about science fiction, it occurred to me that I haven't read a new work of science fiction in the last five years. Let me explain. I've been reading all sorts of material published from the 50's to the early 90's, and loads of fantasies. However, I haven't read a bit of two-fisted, hardcore science fiction in some time. I'm not talking about science fiction that would take a quantum engineer to explain it to me, but science fiction that tells a story and would fit into the niche carved out by the likes of Silverberg, Asimov, Heinlein, and Bradbury. So help me build a reading list for the next month. I want to read new science fiction. Not fantasy. Not the Star Wars redux (fantasy with some trappings of science fiction). I want science fiction. What are you reading? What should I go out and get from the library or from the book store? No vampires, no dragons, no wizards.

Friday, July 13, 2007

1-18-08-- Cthulhu..........Maybe?

I have no idea if the upcoming-- and much hyped--J.J. Abrams movie, Cloverfield 1-18-08, is going to have anything to do with the Cthulhu mythos. But maybe I'll get one of these plush toys anyway. Just for the heck of it.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Potter Review

If any of you have ever gone to Allie D's site, Memoirs of a Gouda, then you probably go back regularly and check it out. There isn't a more well written blog around IMO. But if you haven't, then you need to go over to The Reel Gouda and check out her review of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Trust me, you're not going to find a better review anywhere.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Daaaaaaaaaaaaamn! -- And Harry

Just thought I'd mention that I had over 800 hits yesterday (but no increase in comments-go figure), primarily on the 1-18-08 post. Talk about viral marketing at its best. I know a lot of blogs probably get this kind of traffic on a daily basis, but not me. I get an average of 150-200 hits and this is blowing me away. I've been meaning to put up some kind of meaningful post, but summer (and potty-training my 3 year-old) seems to be getting the better of me. And for the most part, traffic was down, that is until Stewart mention the whole 1-18-08 thing. But I am going to make a deliberate digression. After all, I have no freaking idea what 1-18-08 is about anyway. So, about Harry Potter. We are going to get some closure soon aren't we? The whole will she or won't she kill him off question will be answered for good. Me? I think he'll live. But it would be fascinating to see what would happen if she killed him off wouldn't it? Personally, I think we'd see the death of the Harry Potter phenomenon if she did. They're going to release the movie adaptation of "The Order of the Phoenix" today and the book comes out on the 21st. Can you just imagine if Harry dies? I bet the movie theatres would be empty. After all, why go see it if the main character is just going to die? And you could forget about any more sequels. And this is without even getting into the issue of the vast number of heartbroken children who would be wondering who turned their world upside down. Far be it for me to suggest that Ms. Rowling should end the series based on marketing though. Lord knows she doesn't need any more money. But after 7 books and 5 movies, people feel as if they've invested a lot in Harry Potter. In a way they have. I mean, how many characters from a book can you think of who have inspired this kind of attention? Other than Jesus that is. So I am eagerly waiting to see what happens to Harry. And not just because I am a sucker for a happy ending but because I am dying to see the public reaction to it. I don't want him to die, but I'd love to know how the public would react if he did...

Monday, July 09, 2007

01-18-08 AGAIN!

I am getting tons of hits on the blog (500+ a day) with the search term "01-18-08." People really want to know what this is about. Here are a couple of links to help all you searchers out. I can't promise you'll understand any of it, but if you're coming here for info, I suppose I should provide something. Movie Trailer 1-18-08.com Ethan Haas Was Right Ethan Haas Was Wrong Ethan Haas--The Cloverfield Diaries Ain't It Cool has a letter from J.J. Abrams claiming all the Ethan Haas sites are not related to the movie. Cloverfield 1-18-08 (has video of all the trailers available at the Ethan Haas Was Right site). And finally, here's a link to a post over at Stewart's blog, 1-18-08-cloverfield, which addresses the topic and the success of the viral advertising. And please, if anyone has any special insight, please let us in on it.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Gathering Place For All Fans

Is anyone planning to attend the San Diego Comic Con this year? I haven't gone in years, but it used to be a total blast. It has long since stopped being just about comics. Many movies and tv shows are happy to hype their product AND their actors. Captain Jack of Dr. Who and Torchwood fame is attending this year! Yay. It is a huge con. The lineups can be daunting. But the panels are usually quite fun in a totally nerd /geek out way. The variety of topics is the best. Aaaah the memories of San Diego.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

01-18-08

01-18-08 Now, if you are a science fiction fan, your toes should be tingling. If not....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Military in Science Fiction

Science fiction and the military go together like ham and lima. Why is the military or military-style organizations used so frequently in this genre? I think there are two really good reasons for it. The first is that the military provides a structure to build stories around. Whether used as protagonist or antagonist, the military has rank, organization, and protocol that will add an element to the story.

The second is that the military has all the cool hardware. They get the guns, the armor, the fighter planes and the bombs. This is a little bit more primal, but if you want something blowed up real good, you know who to call.

For better or for worse, though, I often compare what I’m seeing in the movies and on TV with my own experiences in the military. I was in the US Army for three years from 1989 to 1992 and in the reserves for three more years after that. Not a long career, but a proud one nonetheless. My service gives me a little insight as well as the opportunity to joke that I was kicked out of the Army for the good of the country. Ah if only that weren’t true.

So I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of my views on different armed forces depicted in science fiction. This list is not complete, how could I possibly recall every single instance of a combat unit being utilized in the genre? As always, feel free to chime in with your comments.

Star Trek The Original Series
On one hand, Star Trek really blows it by having the Commanding Officer, the Executive Officer and the Chief Medical Officer always go down to the planet. Every single episode featured something very dangerous and deadly down there and every single episode featured the three most important guys on the ship going down and confronting it. On the other hand, this was the late Sixties and America was in the middle of the Vietnam War. Gene Roddenberry contended that ST TOS was a “Wagon train to the stars” and as such, being the strictest of militaries must not have been his intention. You have to give them a little leeway for having the Big Three go all the time, they were the stars and the show was built around them unlike ensemble casts in more modern shows.

Star Trek The Next Generation
The Next Generation doesn’t fare quite as well. The series creators made a point of letting us know that the Captain wasn’t allowed to go on the away missions, so what do they do? They send the second most important guy on the ship instead. You can follow the same premise as TOS where Starfleet is more of a science and exploration group than a strict military navy (Scientists with photon torpedoes!), but they still send the XO and senior officers for all of the missions. They really should have maybe one lieutenant and a squad of enlisted do this, which is something they did explore a bit and finally giving it more consideration in Enterprise with the addition of MACO’s.

Space Above and Beyond
I could not get into this show at all. I know it had its fans, but it just didn’t work for me on so many levels. This show premiered right when I was in the reserves, so the military was fresh in my mind and I thought that they really blew it from the get go. First, they brought in R. Lee Ermey to do a lamer, PG version of his drill sergeant character from The Boys of Company C and Full Metal Jacket and it was so watered down that it completely pulled me out of the story and forced me to feel bad for Ermey (which I shouldn’t have, he got his paycheck, right?). Then the main characters, who are all fighter pilots, are sent on a grunt mission to retrieve a drone and they misidentify the Ramones song being played by it as “The Pink Floyd.” That pulled me out of the story again and though I tried to watch a few more episodes, the damage was done. I’m not even going to comment on the characters’ non-regulation haircuts. In space, no one can send you to the barber, I guess.

Battlestar Galactica
The new BSG, on the other hand, really gets it. There is a huge distinction between what the characters’ roles are; there are people who man the stations, Viper pilots, Raptor pilots, and enlisted maintenance crew members. Adding the Raptors was a nice touch because with its electronic warfare, AWACS, and SAR capabilities, it gave the Galactica a unique ship to compliment the Vipers. We also get to see the maintenance crew fleshed out more than you see elsewhere. It takes a lot of manpower to keep one aircraft airworthy and these ships are no exception. Additionally, they liberally use military terms like CIC and CAG which they don’t even define. They just jump right in using them and if you don’t know what they mean, it’s up to you to figure it out. The only thing that gets me is that they’re not from Earth (bear with me) and yet they use these Earth terms an awful lot. But I say if you buy into the story and that adds a dimension of military realism, let it fly, right?

Aliens
The Colonial Marines on Aliens are right up there, too. They look like a squad of tough as nails troops and they use weapons that you could imagine would be in the not-too-distant future. They interact with each other like Marines would and use phrases and terms that sound like what a Marine in space would use. Frosty, for example, is a phrase they use to mean “stay alert” or “keep it together” and though I am not sure if the USMC actually uses this, to me it definitely sounds like they would. The characters are all uniquely defined as well, you get the cherry lieutenant who flakes out when the stuff hits the fan, the crusty old sarge, the cool professional that takes over when he becomes the top of the chain of command, the tough guy who turns into a whiny bitch when he gets in over his head, and all the others. Sure, they’re pretty much stereotypes, but they’re well characterized and believable in their roles. Oh yeah, this movie also serves as an allegory for the Vietnam conflict where the superior weapon technology and all the best training available doesn’t mean squat against an overwhelming force fighting on its own terms.

That’s five of the many, many different depictions of the military in science fiction and it only scratches the surface. I haven’t even mentioned Earth Defense Directorate, the Mobile Infantry, the Peacekeepers, or the Empire, let alone countless cartoons including everything from G.I.Joe to Robotech.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Look What I Saw at the Bookstore Today

I saw this just as I was walking out of the bookstore this morning. I already regret I didn't get it, though I think I can probably get it tomorrow. Alex has already expressed his love of Bruce Campbell and what's not to love? We've already got everything from "The Army of Darkness" to "Xena" and now he's an author. And I've been very slow on the uptake here, he also had "If Chins Could Kill," published back in 2002. Man, I've been missing out. And surprisingly, I'm not being sarcastic.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Check it Out

I was trying to think of a 4th of July post to put on here, but then I visited Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator's blog and read his 4th of July post. It's much better than anything I thought of.

Amazon Women From Outer Space

Who makes this stuff?