Saturday, August 27, 2011

CONAN THE BARBARIAN: Brought to you by the letters "V", "R" and the number (4)

"V" is for surnames which end in "- o" "v"
for the Bulgarian crew and locations you see.
Someone off screen just yelled "Bolen sam!"

"R" is for blood, guts, and violence plenty
and don't forget naked slave girls w/ no panties.

This is a nip-free blog.

"4" is because I liked Conan's skirt,
though if you're wearing fur boots, you should wear a shirt.

Congratulations! By looking at this photo you have seen the full range of Mr. Momoa's acting ability!

Ron Perlman is in it, and that makes me glad.
He C-sectioned his wife and became Conan's dad.

Ron's sword isn't actually on fire.  However, he's so cool it might as well be.

The kid who plays Conan is better by far
than Mr. Momoa.  That kid is a star.

Run Leo!  Save your career!

The bad guys are bad, you can tell by their hair,
and when posing for photos they make quite a pair.

Oh, watch out. She's totally gonna blow sand in your eyes.
Of course there's a girl, and of course she needs saving
She screams "CONAN!" a lot instead of just fainting.

"I'm a monk w/ martial arts training who's far too polite to do anything about that whole  sacrifice-the-pureblood-to-the-dark-gods-and-create-an-evil-empire thing yall have planned."
So was the film good? Not even a bit.
I understand now why it isn't a hit.
The shaky-cam fights got silly real quick
and, ignoring the plot of this ridiculous flick,
I can safely say you should watch anything else
than this lazy CONAN THE BARBARIAN mess.

"I hear that Winnie-the-Pooh movie is good. Let's go see that!"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


When mutations go right.
First of all, why didn't anyone tell me!?  This movie is really good!  Where were the fanboys? Where was the buzz?  Why didn't everyone get excited about this movie and tell me to see it before it got to the dollar theater??  I had friends who saw it and said "Oh, I enjoyed it." but no one was running around pounding on doors and yelling in keyholes with the news that this X-Men movie not only didn't suck but is REALLY GOOD!  It's all 60's and glamorous and has people who can act AND Hally Berry IS NOT IN IT! It's a win for everyone!  Was X MEN: THE LAST STAND so bad that no one likes X Men movies anymore?


Oh.  Yeah... X3 was really bad....

"My evil secretaries always wear white catsuits. Why?"
Well friends, it's time to put on your big kid underwear and go see FIRST CLASS right now!  It has Kevin Bacon in it so it's actually required viewing.  You get to meet Beast when he's not the Beast, Magneto before he's Magneto, and Professor X when he's trying to get into co-ed's pants.  You get to see how everything started.  You even learn how Magneto and Professor X got to be friends and why they are always going on in the other movies about how much they lurv each other and why the other one is wrong.   You learn all about Mystique and, listen closely,... Cyclops ISN'T in it.

Super Stripper-power
What? You want more?  There's a really groovy African-American man but he dies cause everyone sucks.  (Yes I'm bitter.)  You get to see things blow up.  It's the 60's so everyone has killer style.  There are languages other than English in this film and the accents are superb.  The bad guy has a yacht which turns into a submarine. There are girls in their underwear in Las Vegas.  There is even a Cuban Missile Crisis!  What else do you need!

Fine.  Wolverine has a cameo.  Just see it.  It's good.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Not Enough Alcohol In The World: Field Notes from a Star Trek Party

What: Star Trek Party at The Crown Nightclub, the Rio Casino, Las Vegas Nevada

When: Thursday August 11th, 10:30pm

Objective: To observe the effects of moving one small specialized social group out of their normal environment and into a completely alien social situation. 

Common Trekkies

Historical Background:  Trekkies (or Trekkers as they are also known) are a specialized sub-group of the standard population.  As with any group there are varying degrees of devotion to the icons which the culture reveres but generally all self-selected members of this group have several things in common.  Namely
  • a willingness to watch and be at least moderately familiar with the characters and plot lines of a television show known as "Star Trek" and it's subsequent spin-off shows
  • tolerance and even appreciation for persons who are willing to change their appearance through clothing and make up to appear like the characters in the above television show
  • and a tendency to be more comfortable playing games (board, card, electronic) to structure their social interactions.
Uncommon Trekkies

This last common denominator strongly affects the events detailed in the below field notes as The Crown nightclub has no tables for games and an acoustic environment which discourages and even inhibits verbal communication.  Since Trekkies generally use gaming to showcase their intelligence or at lease their exhaustive knowledge of specialized trivia, being dropped into an environment where most of the mating information is gained merely by a simple physical display of genetic fitness  is bound to cause some stress.

Standard Party-going attire
Entry Into The Event:  The Crown nightclub is located in the casino at the Rio resort and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Entry into the nightclub is managed by potential customers queueing up between fabricated brass railings until the dark suited security staff deem it appropriate for the next patrons to enter.  Typically, for an event of this nature, the official start time of 10:30 pm serves as merely a guideline for patrons, a time point to miss rather than meet.  However, most of the Trekkies were early.  This group, as a whole, tends to gather at more time-specific events, such as film screenings and lectures from beloved personalities, when being early is to their benefit.  Indeed, waiting in line with others who share your excitement for the coming event is experienced as one of the pleasures of the actual event.  This was reflected in the crowd outside The Crown, with a noticeable cheerful chatty festival atmosphere shared by everyone.  There was lots of admiring the clothing of strangers and posing for photos. I complimented several ensembles myself while waiting for my colleagues to arrive.  The "Currently Experiencing Pon Phar" t-shirt worn by a 60+ yr old man made me laugh in particular.

This was the crowd after a LOT of alcohol

The Event:  The Crown nightclub is constructed as a series of ringed platforms around a circular dance floor, all of which face a stage area.  The ringed platforms all have white couches of moderate length with tables positioned before them.  These couches are available for a fee to patrons of the establishment as a home base to the festivities.  They also serve as a signal of one's relative wealth and are an excellent place to see and be seen.  Typically the couches go unreserved until later in the evening as standard nightclub-goers prefer to be ambulatory and visible, dancing and socializing.  Trekkies all claimed their seats as soon as they arrived and the majority of the crowd simply sat and observed the other patrons.   This proved somewhat frustrating to the event planners who continued to interrupt the music in order to urge everyone to "get on your feet!", "try something new!", and "get your hands in the air" - typical crowd-rousing calls.  These entreaties only garnered some half-hearted cheering and then the majority of the patrons resumed their conversations or wandered off to join others on their couches.

Though this nice Romulan couple tried to dance
The difference in response to this stimuli might be explained in two ways.  Firstly, the alcohol factor.  Typical nightclub patrons believe alcohol to be a way to release inhibitions and excuse social behavior which is not normative. (see: "The Shore" ) In contrast, Trekkies use alcohol as a way to "relax" or take a brief chemical respite from the stresses of everyday interactions.  Because of this difference, no amount of alcohol consumption will ever be enough to prompt the sort of willfully unacceptable behaviour seen at nightclubs.  Alcohol only encouraged a stronger sense of settling into those white couches.

The second factor prohibiting the Trekkies from "getting the party started" was this demographics genuine disinterest in the "party" which the event planners were encouraging.  Rubbing up on random strangers is far less exciting than discussing the merits of favorite Captains with someone who shares your interest.  The typical obsession with the imaginary universe of Star Trek suggests a personality which is far more focused on the intellectual vs the physical and so no amount of encouragement or inebriates will be enough to start the "party."

I was in no way objective when posing for this photo

Summation:  It was a fascinating evening and I am glad to have been invited to experience this event.  Contrary to my expectations, the Trekkies did not change their patterns of behavior but found a way to change the environment to suit their needs. This happening has inspired me to begin research on the doctoral dissertation titled "Taking the Magic Out of the Magic Kingdom: Pin Trading at Disneyland."  Pin traders are another subculture which proves that you can take the nerd to a party but you can't make them have fun.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES gets an 8 for not sucking.

So, Andy Serkis has to be the most famous and accomplished actor who's face I don't actually recognize.  We went to see this movie 'cause my brother-in-law LOVES the Planet of the Apes movies and this one was actually pretty good.  I had no idea that WETA did all the simians and that Andy Serkis played Caesar until the credits rolled.  Not surprisingly I liked it much more than the Marky Mark reboot from 2001 (which is called PLANET OF THE APES).


COWBOYS VS ALIENS -- gets an 8 for not being super predictable. Two of those points are awarded because the characters continue to shoot aliens with their revolvers even though it is about as effective as shooting a bear with a .22 rifle.  Which is to say it might EVENTUALLY work but it's a bad/scary idea when the monster is running you down... and yet people would do it anyway when it's the only thing they have.

Four obsessive things about COWBOYS VS ALIENS:
which, by the way, I enjoyed after my sister stopped yelling "Dobby!"

whenever she saw Daniel Crag.

1. The sound of his voice
 I, unkindly, cannot help but obsess over Daniel Craig's accent.  Every time the man opens his mouth I wait for him to mess something up or try to detect any minuscule sounds which make it seem false.  I'm not normally this big of a jerk.  I ignore Christian Bale's lisp, have no problem watching all of Dick Van Dyke's Disney movies, and enjoy House without waiting for the brilliant Mr. Laurie to be anything less than perfect.  Mr Craig, however, just doesn't sound true.  And before you can go all Pontius Pilate on me ( I am totally serious about this.  His American accent sounds about as sincere as your average Josh Groban joint -- which is to say not very sincere at all. (Though, to be fair, Mr Groban was pretty sincere when he sang this.)

2. Parental relationships
 Harrison Ford is in this movie and he manages to have the worst son in history.  Like a creepy psychopathic shooting-up-people-for-fun kind of a kid. This is strange because for the rest of the movie you are shown that his character isn't really all that bad a father -- as long as you are okay with him teaching kids how to kill things with knives.   In fact, we get a glowing testimonial as to his ability to be a good father (to someone he thinks he ignored) so it makes his failure with his own son that much more interesting.

I just read this article (How To Land Your Kids In Therapy) the other day and my favorite line from it was "If a therapist is telling you to pay less attention to your kid’s feelings, you know something has gotten way of out of whack.”  It makes me wonder if the character of Harrison Ford's son was written as what happens if someone with PTSD raises a kid around a lot of weaponry or if it actually might be a reflection of some of the young adults we are seeing around us.   Something to think about, anyway.

3. The way it looked
There were an awful lot of shots of Mr Craig's backside.  Seriously, half of the movie was spent looking at his posterior.  This is not a bad thing.  I just think it's kinda funny.  Also funny was the way he and Harrison Ford ran away from an explosion/collapsing tunnel and the only damage was a few shirt buttons (the better to see your naked chest, Daniel m'dear...)  Olivia Wilde looks funky in pioneer-ish clothing, particularly when she's wearing Slash's hat.
I also discovered that it's kind of unsettling to see so much of the aliens.  I think I have gotten used to a lot of shadows and rain covering any computer-generated life forms because it hides the falseness better.  The aliens in COWBOYS VS ALIENS were running around in dusty hot desert sunshine and it was kind of horrible to be able to see them.   Somehow the way their muscles bunched as they ran and the impact of bullets pushing them in different directions was worse when you could see everything well.  I think the fact that the aliens were so meaty was also a change.
I'm used to precise robot-like aliens (like in the 2009 movie HIGH PLAINS INVADERS which happens to have the exact same plot!) which are much more detached and somehow less scary.

I also noticed how the lighting changed from overexposed yellow and shadowy browns to a clear bright white once everyone decided to be the "good guys" and work together to destroy the aliens.  It was very SERENITY.

4. Westerns and character development:
Did you ever see SHANE?  Or the film SEVEN SAMURAI by Akira Kurosawa?  Both of those films have an odd sort of conflict in them.  They preach this "if we all work together we are stronger" principle and yet it takes the sacrifice of one to actually make this idea work.  In these films as well as COWBOYS VS ALIENS, it's only the supporting cast who show any character development.  The hero destined to die doesn't actually change, or even need changing.  Apparently they all just do what they gotta do to get the job done and leave change, progress, and evolution to the folks they left behind.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

TRANSFORMERS 3 -- by my sister caroline

I saw TRANSFORMERS 3 this past Friday.  It was just like the previous two
movies, just with a different girl.  

First two movies:
Girl who knows how to work on a car

Third movie:

Girl who allegedly knows how to get out of a car

Ken Jeong is amazing!
Like my village bicycle/ man-whore coworker said, “they just switched one bad actress for another”  

What was a pleasant surprise,  and makes the 3 hr movie bearable, is the scene stealing Asian dude from The Hangover.  He is awesome!  Just go for him, if nothing else.  Seriously. It’s worth it.

John Malkovich, is in this too.  He’s crazy as usual.  He does a great job as a D-bag boss.  You think he’s done with his cameo, but then he pops up again, and its fun to watch him play with Bumblebee. They wrestle around and you think Bumblebee is about to kill him, but they’re just playing.  Then you realize it’s probably all on a green screen, then you realize how amazing that really was.

Patrick Demsey, (Dr Mcdreamy) is the bad guy. But a nice loveable one.

"That's Mr. Professor Doctor Ken Jong to you!"

Go if only for Ken Jeong.  Really. He’s that awesome.  Then call me.