May 24, 2011


Zombies ... A Survival Blog

My friend Bridgette shared this link with me - Its a pretty hilarious explanation of what to do in case of a Zombie Outbreak. What's awesome, is that its the official blog from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. Its tongue-in-cheek, and its actually intended to get people thinking about what would happen in an actual emergency, such as a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake, etc. Fairly clever.

If you're    ready for a zombie apocalypse, then you're ready for any emergency.


May 15, 2011


Summer of Spielberg, and Super Heroes

This year there are SO MANY summer blockbusters to look forward to! So I've updated my movie calendar to list some of the many upcoming films.

The movie I'm probably most excited about this summer is Super 8. The previews make it looks a lot like a modern version of classic Stephen Speilberg science fiction films (ET, Close Encounters). It is in fact co-produced by Spielberg, and its written and directed and co-produced by JJ Abrams (the producer and director of LOST, and Cloverfield); so I expect there is a lot of potential for this film to be a huge summer success. Like Cloverfield, very little is known about the film in advance of its release, other than it probably involves an other-worldly alien encounter (possibly of a hostile kind judging by some of the scenes from the extended trailer), it involves a small group of kids who have Super 8 camcorder (hence the title), and it is set in 1979 America … all the elements for movie magic. I will be first in line to see this movie when it comes out on June 10.
Cowboys and Aliens, another Spielberg-produced film, also about an Alien encounter, but set in the wild west era in American history. This stars big name actors Daniel Graig, and Harrison Ford. Directed by Jon Favreau (recently directed Iron Man 1 and 2), writing credits include Alex Kurtzman (lead writer of LOST). This should be something different and interesting.

The Moon seems to be a popular topic movies this summer...

Spielberg is also producing Michael Bay's third Transformers film 'Dark Side of the Moon'. The Trailer caught me off guard and looks awesome (up until I realized that it was for a Transformers Movie). One question I have is: will this movie work with Patrick Dempsey replacing Meagan Fox?? I wonder what happens when you play Pink Floyd's album after the second Lion's roar?

Also Moon-related and coming out this summer is a mocumentary film about a lunar landing gone badly in Apollo 18. When you see the Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon trailer you might think you're seeing a trailer for this film, about a surprising discovery on the backside of the moon. Unfortunately you realize soon after that neither films will live up to the cool premise of that trailer... This is a shaky-cam style film similar to Cloverfield. Alleged to be the raw footage concealed by NASA of the Apollo 18 mission, this film becomes a horror flick involving other-worldly life forms encountered by the crew, somehow able to survive in a zero-atmosphere environment. Science Teachers are rotfl.

Note: If you want to see a GOOD sci-fi about the Moon, rent/buy/netflix Moon (I think its streaming) starring Sam Rockwell and Kevin Spacey; directed by Duncan Jones (who you might not know is the son of British rock star David Bowie), his first film, and it's a great piece of science fiction/psychological thriller.

But that's not all Spielberg has up his sleeve this summer: he has two tv-shows in the works. Falling Skies, a tv-show about the aftermath of an alien evasion will come out this summer – and it looks pretty good (I'm biased because I love alien invasion/apocalypse stories)! And later this year, another Spielberg-produced show, Terra Nova; also a sci-fi, about a family from the future where Earth is dying, traveling back through time millions of years to restart civilization.

Marvel Studios has been busy! The Summer started with Thor, part of the series of films produced by Marvel Studios leading up to a mega-blockbuster film The Avengers, scheduled for 2012. Previously we had Iron Man 1 and 2, and The Incredible Hulk. And Later this summer Captain America is set to carry the torch.

It might seem that having so many major characters involved would lead to an overwhelming movie plot. However, these surround movies were intended all along to to lead up to The Avengers, which will likely be THE SUMMER blockbuster in 2012. But Marvel will have to contend with DC Comics two super stars: Batman in The Dark Knight Rises, and Superman in, Man Of Steel.

This summer, DC Comics is relying on The Green Lantern to contend with Marvel; directed by Martin Campbell (who directed the very good Bond films: GoldenEye and Casino Royal). Speaking of Bond Films, the next Bond film is scheduled for 2012, which will also be an exciting year for movies … also heading coming out is the first of the two-part prequel to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobit. Martin Freeman (from the BBC's much better version of the tv show The Office, and from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy) will play the main character Bilbo Baggens, with Peter Jackson is set to direct. Part two will come one year later in 2013.

Also headed this way is a prequel to the X-Men series that looks intriguing. X-Men: First Class, is a story about the origins of Professor X, and Magneto. I loved the animated X-Men show on Fox when I was growing up (and the animated Spider Man too) so I was blown away by the original X-Men movie; and the sequel was even better. Since Bryan Singer (who directed X-Men 1 and 2) is a producer of this film, there is definitely a good chance this will be great.

Back story: After X-Men 3 (which was a disappointment to many, including me), there were rumors that two X-prequels were in the works, one focused on Wolverine and one focused on the X-Men's nemesis Magneto. The Wolverine prequel rumor became a reality with X-Men Origins: Wolverine; and now so is the Magneto prequel rumor except its now focused on the relationship of Charles Xavier (Prof. X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto), which has excellent story potential. There now is a rumor of yet another Wolverine prequel in the works starring Hugh Jackman again as Wolverine, but oddly its rumored that it will be directed by indy-director Darren Aronofsky (directed: Requiem For a Dream, Pi, Black Swan); if that’s the case, its likely that this prequel will be a lot darker than X-Men Origins: Wolverine (although I also once read that Arronofski was going to direct a remake of Robocop and that never materialized so you never know how things will turn out); whether or not this would be an alternative origin story about Wolverine, or a sequel to the last one is unknown. I would prefer it to be an alternate origin story; anyone whos a fan of the Wolverine character from the comics knows that his history has always been in question, with many alternative histories possible, one of the more fascinating aspects of his character.

[Side Note: If I could choose any super-heroes' powers I would choose Magnetos'. If you could move metal with your mind, you could run the world! You could pull up a lounge chair, kick back, and kick ass without batting an eye … I've actually imaged many times how easy it would be to build a Habitat house when I was an AmeirCorps working for HFH … you wouldn't need a hammer to install nails! If you had some metal hand-like-things you could just float up a sheet of plywood/osb for the roof, send up a bunch of nails … boom, done! In like 5 minutes you could roof a house.]

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Portal 2

I have a new video game obsession: Portal 2.

Its the most fun I've ever had playing video games. Its the perfect combination of Plat-formers (like old-school classics such as Super Mario Bros 2, Contra, Sonic) and First Person Shooters (Call of Duty, Halo, Half-life). The story is so engaging, and hilarious. In the original, and this follow up, you play the role of Chell, a lone survivor of some catastrophic event where you are left in this facility that consists of Test Chambers, where you essentially have to use your Portal Gun, imagination, and the laws of physics, to navigate from point to point, thus completing the Test Chamber. You then take an elevator ride to the next Test Chamber, ultimately trying to escape the facility.

During game play you are very often treated to sarcastic remarks from GLADOS. In the original, and even more so in this follow up I literally feel like I'm experiencing Stockholm Syndrome (and affection for my tormentor), the game's antagonist GLADOS, the computer system controlling the tests, allegedly in the name of Science, but with a clear sinister subtext.

The Portal Gun (a genius idea for gaming) is what makes this game so unique; it aims and fires like you control any first-person-shooter weapon, except it does two things: It shoots two different oval shaped “portals”, and its capable of picking up heavy things. (Chell is also equipped with special boots that allow her to land safely from very high drops.) The two “portals” are what give the game its most distinct quality. Your controllers' left trigger fires an orange “portal”; the right trigger fires a blue “portal” - when Chell (you) move through one of those portals, you come out of the other …

I LOVED the original. Not often will any video game inspire me to actually play to the end, but Portal succeeded in doing this; and I was sad when it was over. Portal 2 greatly expands the world from the first game, adding new interesting elements to the level design, while keeping all the elements that

The game-play is more exciting, and the story is even more sarcastic, hilarious, and engaging than before.

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