I heard about this video on Subject:Cinema. This was made by one guy with a computer and WAAAY more skillz than I could EVER hope to have. Watch it and be ASTOUNDED.
Be sure to check out his YouTube channel!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
2. I apologize for the lack of updates lately. I can explain, though. After finals were over, I was at work almost every day up until Christmas. I work in retail, and so obviously it was our busiest time of the year. Then Christmas came and I finally got to relax. Now things are starting to get back to normal again.
3. We have a new episode of our podcast in the works! It should be up in a few days...maybe even as a New Year's countdown??
4. If you've found us through the Subject:Cinema website, welcome! Please send us an email or leave a comment. We'd love to hear what you think of the blog! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, click on the link (shameless plug...muahahaha).
5. Time for me to "revue" a couple of movies!
Movie revue: The Day the Earth Stood Still
After listening to the Subject:Cinema review of this movie, I knew I had to see it. Nothing gets me more interested in a movie than hearing two widely different opinions about it. The Day the Earth Stood Still is a remake of an earlier movie (which I've never seen). This version stars Keanu Reaves as Klaatu, an alien who comes to our planet to save it. The only problem is, he's saving it from the humans.
I thought this movie was actually pretty good. Keanu basically portrays one emotion through the entire film (brooding angst) which I think is effective. It definitely makes him seem alien. I thought his name was very strange, in a way that didn't fit with the rest of the movie, but it's obviously taken from the earlier version. The rest of the acting is also solid. I thought the movie kind of had a point: humans are destructive and violent. We really do think we're "all that." Oh, and if we don't know aliens exist, but they find out (a) that we're here, (b) where "here" is, (c) how to get here, and (d) how to survive here, wouldn't it be safe to assume their technology is a LITTLE more advanced than ours?
Overall: 3 1/2 stars/5
DVD revue: The Librarian: Quest for the Spear
Flynn Carsen loves college. That's why he's earned 22 degrees in 16 years. That's why he's never graduated (his family must be loaded...unless he's gotten scholarships everywhere he's gone. Which, for him, might actually be plausible). And that's why his Egyptology professor kicks him out and tells him to get a job. So, of course, he starts working in a library. And that's when things get interesting.
Turns out that he's not just a librarian. He's the Librarian, guardian of the world's best-kept secrets. Remember everything you read about in mythology and fairy tales? What if it was all real? The goose that laid the golden eggs, Excalibur (the sword in the stone), a jetpack?? Flynn hardly has time to start polishing the Holy Grail before something is stolen. Flynn teams up with foxy, "psychopathic" Nicole Noone to save the Spear of Destiny from the evil clutches of the Serpent Brotherhood.
This movie was SO much fun! Think "Indiana Jones" with a good sense of humor and less of a special-effects budget. What it lacks in technical tricks, however, it more than makes up for in writing and acting. Flynn (Noah Wyle) and Nicole (Sonya Walger) have great chemistry together. The movie also has Jane Curtin and Bob Newhart as Flynn's overseers at the Library. It's kind of cheesy in places, but it's a great fun, funny, adventurous movie. Originally, it was a made-for-TV movie on TNT (my new favorite cable station!). They're up to 3 "Librarian" movies now; the first 2 are out on DVD now and the third one should be at some point (it just aired for the first time less than a month ago). If you like adventure/comedies or comedy/adventures, definitely give this one a try.
Overall: 4 1/2 stars/5
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
My friend TC over at Subject:Cinema recommended this one, and I have to say I enjoyed it very much. It's a fascinating look at the MPAA, which everyone has heard OF, but very few people seem to know anything ABOUT. Which is due largely in part to the air of secrecy surrounding the ratings board. They're supposed to be a group of parents with children between 5 and 17, and represent the "average American parent." Aside from the problems defining what "average" is, they did some digging and managed to uncover the identities of all of the ratings board members. Of the eight, only one had young children. Everyone else had adult children (and one member might not have even been a parent).
The movie raises some very interesting issues about censorship. Even before watching this film, I noticed that some of the MPAA's decisions seemed arbitrary. The first PG-13 movie I ever saw was Titanic, which I still think should have been rated R. The funny thing is, the movie points out that the MPAA is much more strict with sex than violence. Of course, they're also more lenient with the big studios than the smaller ones, so that probably has something to do with it too.
More fun facts: Unofficially, gay sex scenes are "worse" than straight (more likely to receive a hard rating); women's pleasure is "worse" than men's; and they don't always tell you why your movie received the rating it did. Sometimes they'll say "If you cut the scene with XYZ we'll consider an easier rating" but it's basically completely arbitrary. Everything is arbitrary. And there's no accountability.
They talked to different directors about the MPAA, and Kevin Smith had a very interesting comment. He said that if he were to create his own rating system, and decide what shouldn't be seen, the first on his list would be rape. When I heard that, I thought, "Wow. Kevin Smith is being thoughtful and insightful. And good for him." I have a new respect for Kevin Smith (and, by the way, I saw Jersey Girl and I thought it was pretty good).
Personally, I think there needs to be some kind of system to let people know what people might object to in the movie. At the same time, I think America can do a lot better than the MPAA. If I were to design a rating system, I would probably make sure that everyone involved knows why the movie got the rating it did. I'd also take the attitude that they have in Europe, where violence is more of a no-no than sex. I don't know that I would necessarily keep the NC-17 rating. It's up to parents, not the government, to determine what their kids under 17 can and cannot watch.
My redesigned system would keep the same ratings, except for NC-17, because they're easy to remember and everyone understands them already. But I would also have more detailed information about why the movie got the rating it did. I'd do something like a points system to be very specific (off-the-top-of-my-head examples: saying "shit" is one point; showing boobies is five; decapitation is twenty). Then you add up all the points to find the overall rating (anything less than 20 points is a G rating, etc). All run by a ratings board and an appeals board who are known to the public. Oh, one more fun fact from the movie: the MPAA is even more secretive about the appeals board than the ratings board.
This Film may not be rated, but it is a must-see for anyone who's ever wondered what the MPAA does.
My fifth grade history teacher played this song for us. I thought it was hilarious, and at the time I had no idea where it was from. Then after Johnny and I really got into the Animaniacs, he found this video. I fell in love with the song all over again.
And remember to never give up! "You'll find the East Indies, you just don't know where."
Monday, December 8, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Bella was a normal girl, until she moved to the dreary, tiny town of Forks, Washington. There she meets Edward, a mysterious boy who is actually a vampire. He and his family feed off of animals instead of humans, but temptation is always there...especially when Edward meets Bella. Will he give in to temptation, or fall in love with her instead?
After...seven?...seven (long, LOOONG) months of waiting, T:TM hit theaters on Friday, November 21. I purchased my tickets around noon for the seven PM showing. We arrived at the theater around 6:55, and I was immediately glad we'd already bought our tickets. The line at the concession stand was so long that we decided not to get popcorn (and any time I pass up movie theater popcorn, that means I REALLY don't want to miss anything). We walked into the theater and started looking for two seats together. We heard the fangirls. There was an invisible line dividing Team Edward and Team Jacob, and they were chanting.
"MIKE!" (That was me, partly because Michael Welsh/Mike Newton is awesome and partly because Mike's character is a running joke in the books--he symbolizes everything that is "normal" in Forks).
Then there were the interrupters ("Shut up!" "Stop it!"), who won as soon as the previews started. There were a few complaints that we had to watch any previews at all.
People talked during this movie. A lot. Actually, "screamed" would be more accurate. Like at the beginning of the movie. And when the title screen appeared. Jacob's first scene. Edward's first appearance. The first time Edward spoke. Any time Edward did anything (okay, slight exaggeration there). But after a while, either I tuned them out or they quieted down.
As for the movie itself: I thought that everyone involved did a great job. I knew the basic plot, but they threw in a lot of little scenes that weren't in the book. They also ended up removing quite a few scenes as well. Despite all that, I thought the movie remained true to the spirit of the book. As I mentioned during our "Page to Screen" episode, what bugs me about movies based on books is when they do things that WOULDN'T happen within the world of the books...which actually relates to my feelings on fan fiction: nothing bugs me more than writing characters out of character.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie (which they changed from the book) was when Bella goes to the Cullens' house for the first time and finds them all in the kitchen, trying to cook for Bella. All the characters fit into the picture I'd created in my head...especially Rosalie. I laughed, mostly because I would completely expect her to do what she did in that scene (if you've seen the movie, you'll know what I mean...and I always thought Emmett was "Hulk Smash!").
One general change I noticed from the book to the movie is that the movie focused more on rounding out the human characters and downplayed the vampires--we find out details about Bella's human friends that weren't in the books, but hardly any of the vampires aside from Edward have much screen time. I was disappointed at first, but then I reasoned that the less time we spend with the vampires, the less they have to spend on special effects. For all of its hype, Twilight is still an "indie" (an independent film--be honest, had you ever heard of Summit Entertainment before "Twilight"?) and there's a reason most fantasy movies aren't indies. The Chicago Tribune movie critic gave T:TM 2 1/2 stars because, and I quote, "Edward's hair is the most special effect." I would agree that the special effects aren't as sophisticated as in, say, "Lord of the Rings" or even "Heroes," but Catherine did exceptionally well with what she had to work with.
The omission I was most surprised about was the pivotal "meadow scene" where Edward finally decides that he could not live with himself if he killed Bella. He also shows what happens to Stephenie's vampires in sunlight (they sparkle like diamonds) and he and Bella share their first kiss. To top it off, the scene in the book is based on Stephenie's dream that inspired the entire series. If you ask Twilight fans to name their favorite scene in the first book, they will probably say, "The meadow scene" and a good number of them will also have the exact chapter number and title.
It wasn't really in the movie. It was, sort of, but not really. Edward runs with Bella through the woods and finds a break in the trees so he can show her how he looks in the sun. It actually looks kinda cheesy, and there's the generic "glitter" sound effect (you know what I'm talking about). So maybe it's better that they didn't try to do it exactly as in the book. I could tell that the only reason they had some version of the meadow scene was because the fans would demand it, which was kind of weird.
The acting was solid all around. My favorite characters in the movie were Charlie (I didn't picture him with a John Stossel mustache in the books, but he had some great lines here) and Carlisle (who looked EXACTLY the way I'd pictured him in my head. He's almost as hot as Edward...but I digress...). My favorite character in the books is Alice; I'm going to reserve judgment on Alice-in-the-movie because she didn't get enough screen time. Johnny said he thought Alice was creepy. She's not supposed to be creepy; she's supposed to be slightly insane and manic. I actually know someone who reminds me a lot of Alice, both physically and personality-wise, so I suppose that's how I'll always picture her.
Two more notes: Bella's lullaby is wonderful. Wow. Oh, and I discovered that the best place for the soundtrack is from the Amazon MP3 store ($6.99!). Also, the countdown to New Moon: The Movie (NM:TM) starts NOW! It has officially been approved!! Heck yes. (Not that my opinion will have any weight, but I think Christopher Lloyd should play Aro).
Overall: T:TM earns 4 stars/5
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Johnny and I saw Twilight on Friday night! A full review is coming soon, but at the moment I'm in the middle of an important project (nothing increases productivity like last-minute panic).
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Apparently, the fastest way to bring new fans to your site is to do something Twilight-related...well, it usually works.
So. I was all hyped up for the midnight showing. I bought my ticket a full week in advance and cleared up my schedule. Upon reflection, I discovered a slight flaw in this problem: I don't have a car.
To be fair, 95% of the time this doesn't really matter. The local movie theater is three blocks away from the college campus where I live, and I can walk there in ten or fifteen minutes. But, of course, this is a much better idea at five in the afternoon, or even ten at night, than two in the morning. Which is when the movie gets out.
Alas, I will have to delay my trip to the movie theater by nearly twenty-four hours. But Johnny and I are going on Friday at 7, and we will have a review up on Friday night.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Second: Is it "Merry Christmas" or "Happy holidays"? My answer is both. The truth of the matter is that while Christmas may be the most widely celebrated holiday in this country, it's not the only one. So I generally tell people "Happy holidays" through most of December because there's a whole season of days to celebrate. But then right before December 25th I switch to "Merry Christmas." My rationale for this is that, even if someone doesn't celebrate Christmas, you can still wish them well for the day. Like wishing a happy Fourth of July to someone in Canada or England. Personally, if someone were to wish me a happy Hanukkah I wouldn't be insulted.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
In other news, I must procure the Twilight soundtrack. I've had my own Twilight playlist for a while now, so I will share it with you, along with a short explanation for each song. It's kind of short, because I listen to a lot of classic rock and it doesn't really fit as well. I also found music videos for the songs, but only the last 2 are "Twilight"-related.
1: "Why Does it Always Rain on Me?" by Travis. I stole this one from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight playlist, because it really does fit with the beginning of the book: Bella hates living in rainy, dreary Forks. Favorite line: "Even when the sun is shining/I can't avoid the lightning/Where did the blue skies go?"
2: "Pinch Me" by Barenaked Ladies. This is for right after Jacob tells Bella the Cullens' secret. There's a lot going on in Bella's head because she has to rethink everything about the world. Favorite line: "I feel fine enough, I guess/Considering everything's a mess." Also, the chorus: "It's like a dream you try to remember but it's gone, then you/Try to scream but it only comes out as a yawn when you/Try to see the world beyond your front door."
3: "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer. The meadow scene!! Need I say more? (Read the book, or wait a week and then see the movie). Favorite line: "Kiss me beneath the milky twilight" (hehehee).
4: "Who Needs Sleep?" by Barenaked Ladies. Yes, I like BNL. A lot. This is for Edward watching Bella sleep, and a little joke on the fact that the Twilight vampires can't sleep. Favorite line: "Lids down, count sheep, count heartbeats/The only thing that counts is that I won't sleep." Runner-up: "So much joy in life, so many pleasures all around/The pleasure of insomnia is one I've never found."
YouTube (the live version!)
5: "Calling You" by Blue October. Oh my GOSH, I LOVE this song. It's interesting that while Blue October is almost a staple on Twilight playlists, this song doesn't show up very often. (Side note: I bought this song because it was featured in an episode of Moonlight! Which has been replaced by a show starring the actress who plays Esme in T:TM. And her character's name is Bella. Confused yet?). Anyway, back to the song: It's just so romantic and it reminds me of Edward and Bella. Favorite line: "I will keep calling you to see/If you're sleeping, are you dreaming/If you're dreaming, are you dreaming of me/I can't believe you actually picked me."
6: "Lovers In A Dangerous Time" by BNL. Can you guess who my favorite contemporary band is?? No, but seriously, this is still the perfect Twilight song in my mind. Almost every line fits so well with the book it's almost creepy. Favorite line: "These fragile bodies of touch and taste/This fragrant skin, this hair like lace."
7: "Lion" by Rebecca St. James. This song was actually part of the "Music inspired by Chronicles of Narnia" album, so it's technically "supposed" to be about Aslan. But it works for Edward too. Hmm...Edward=Aslan, and Aslan=Jesus. So THAT'S why the Twilight fangirls write "OME" (Oh my Edward) instead of "OMG." Favorite line: "This is not a dream that I'm living/This is just a world of our own/You took me from all that I knew/Showed me how it feels to hope."
8: "Your Guardian Angel" by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. This was the winner in Twilight Guy's contest to vote for the #1 Twilight song. It's a little tween-boy-band for my tastes, but I guess it works for the book pretty well too. Though I can't see Edward singing this to Bella, somehow. Favorite line: "I will never let you fall/I'll stand up for you forever/I'll be there for you through it all."
Okay, so my goal is to have ten songs for each book. So far, I've got 8 for Twilight (which isn't bad; I've got 9 for New Moon, 7 for Eclipse, and only 4 for Breaking Dawn). Any more suggestions? What's your "perfect Twilight song"? Let me know!
And look for my exhaustive review of T:TM some time between the 21st and the 23rd (don't know exactly when I'll have time to review it...unlike the Cullens, I do need sleep!)
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Also: Our e-mail contest is still running! Let's just say that if you've already entered, you've got a VERY GOOD chance of winning. If you haven't entered yet, why not?? (Step one: listen to the show. Step two: send us an e-mail with a comment about the show. Step three: win a Netflix subscription!)
And now for more of my famous ten-word movie reviews!
Van Helsing: Modern, big-budget update of Universal classics. Campy? Yes. Good? Absolutely!
Night of the Living Dead: Dead rise, eat people. Original zombie movie; seriously depressing ending.
Back to the Future (part 1): Christopher Lloyd, time travel, and an awesome car. Personal favorite.
Matango (Attack of the Mushroom People): Weird sixties Japanese movie. You are what you eat, apparently.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
...and right after this, they announced that we have, in fact, elected a Hawaiian president! I hope everyone who was eligible voted yesterday, no matter who you voted for. I was very excited to be part of the election process, and I vowed to stay up until they called the election. I was slightly (VERY slightly) disappointed when the final results were announced at 10:00, because the election was over already. But in all honesty, this is a great day for America, and I am proud to say that I was one of the people who helped elect this country's first black president. This was the first presidential election I was able to vote in, too.
John McCain was very gracious in conceding the election--much more so than the people who were booing Obama during his speech--and I'm glad for that. He's really not a bad guy. I don't agree with his stand on the issues, and I'm glad that he won't be in charge for four years, but he's not a jackass. The weird thing about elections is that both parties spend so much time vilifying the other candidate that they almost forget that they'll have to make nice when the election is over.
For once in recent history, we had a better choice than Tweedledee and Tweedledum (2000) or Tweedledum and Tweedledumber (2004). We had two strong candidates, and I'm so glad to hear that there was such a huge turnout, because this election really meant something.
Friday, October 31, 2008
2. Popcorn balls, oddly enough, don't taste nearly as good as they did when I was twelve. I was disappointed.
3. The people who make the fake vampire teeth that promise you can "talk, eat, and drink comfortably" must have a strange definition of "comfortably."
4. Fake teeth that go over your normal teeth are like doubling the length of your normal teeth. I currently look like a vampire dweeb (which is oddly accurate, but not exactly what I was going for).
5. There is a surprising lack of Halloween-themed programming this year...maybe executives figure nobody's home to watch it??
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Effortless (open your closet and pick something):
-Wear your pajamas
-School colors/gear (even gym uniform)
-Person with backwards head (wear your shirt the wrong way!)
-Street clothes and a good story (my favorite is "Batman on casual day")
Little Effort (one cheap accessory, plus stuff you've got at home):
-Vampire: plastic fangs are cheap, or if you prefer Vampirae Twilightus some body glitter will give you that inhuman glow. Dress all in black, or just wear regular clothes and say you're trying to "blend in" with the humans.
-Alien: antennae can be easily formed from an old wire hanger; use the "blending in" excuse to explain your lack of additional costume.
-Fashion Nightmare: this is a fun one, especially for girls/women. Break all the rules. Pull out that ugly sweater you never wear. Mix plaids and stripes. If you really want to get into it, hit up the secondhand stores for cheap, ugly clothes.
-Slasher victim: buy some fake blood. Smear it where appropriate.
Medium Effort (you may need to spend some money on this):
-Candy corn: White face paint, yellow shirt, orange (or brown) pants.
-"Carrie": Begin with a prom/formal dress (you can find one at secondhand stores) and add generous amounts of fake blood. *Bonus points to guys who use this one!*
-Hippie: wide pants, tie-dyed shirt; don't wash your hair for a few days (or get a long wig).
-Piano: A cardboard box, some paint, and a little time. Don't forget to cut some arm holes and one for your head (Hi, Andrew!)
-Snakes on a Plane: The cardboard box could easily become an airplane; add plastic snakes.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Also, I thought I'd clarify the Official Rules for the e-mail contest!
1. Submit an e-mail WITH A COMMENT ABOUT THE SHOW between October 27th and November 27th.
WRONG: Oooh, a contest! Gimme a prize! (These will be ignored, sorry).
RIGHT: I listened to your show, and I thought...insert comment here.
WRONG: OMG u r soo ghey! this Show suxx. I hope u die! (Trolls don't get prizes. They get sent to the trash).
RIGHT: Your podcast might be better if you tried to say "Um" less often. (CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is always appreciated =D)
2. One e-mail=one entry, up to five entries per e-mail address.
3. We're going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you're only sending e-mail from one address. Anyone sending from multiple addresses will be disqualified (within reason--if you send one from one address and one from another, that's fine. We just don't want one person sending us twenty e-mails under five names).
4. On or shortly after November 27, we will randomly select one e-mail address as the WINNER!
The winner will receive a one month, three-at-a-time subscription to Netflix! (ARV: $14.95). If you send them back quickly enough, you could probably watch a dozen movies in a month.
5. Comments on the blog ARE eligible, but ONLY if you provide either a Blogger link or an e-mail address (so we can contact you if you win).
Also, Video Revue celebrated its first anniversary on October 8th! In the next year, we will try very hard to do more than ten shows...Thanks to all of our listeners, new and old! And don't forget to e-mail us!!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
(See previous post for more info).
SpikeTV had an "exclusive clip" as part of their "Scream 2008" special, which, as I learned, is like the Oscars for the Comic-Con crowd. They played it during the first half hour, which was good for me, but not so good for SpikeTV if they wanted the Twilight crowd to watch the entire special...We finally got to see more of the epic fight between James (Cam Gigandget, who introduced the clip) and Edward (Robert Pattinson...but you knew that already!). It was awesome, though I must say the new trailer did a better job of making me wish I had a time machine. But there were some insanely high jumps and people getting smashed into walls. It will undoubtedly look even better on a movie theater screen, versus my 19-inch TV.
In other Twilight news, Kaleb Nation (aka Twilight Guy) has officially completed half of the Twilight saga. He's moved on to Eclipse (book 3) and continues to astound me with his insight and hilarious Photoshopping skills. If you've never visited his blog, do. You'll be glad you did (check the right sidebar for the "Twilight Guy" button).
THIRTY DAYS AND COUNTING!!! I'd like to say that I'll be at the midnight premiere (at my local theater) but seeing as that's Thanksgiving weekend, I don't know whether I'll be able to.
Question for the readers: What songs do you recommend for a Halloween playlist? I think I've got most of the basics--Thriller, Monster Mash, Werewolves of London--so what are some of your favorite Halloween/creepy songs??
Monday, October 20, 2008
At first, she was the champion for the "Renew Moonlight" cause; she had "insider contacts" (though the smart ones questioned how reliable they were) and insisted that there was still a chance that the show would be picked up by another station. One of her ideas was to buy ad space on buses in LA, to get the word out. One fan kindly donated a large sum of money to be used for the ad campaign (I won't go into specifics, but we're talking thousands of dollars here). There were no bus ads. The money was never seen again.
Edit: Apparently, the bus ads have appeared, but there is still some controversy as to what happened to the money. Leeser has claimed that $3k was in her purse when it was stolen (LESSON TO ALL: Don't give money to people who walk around with $3 thousand IN CASH...whether it's true or not, that's just stupid). There are also allegations that she pocketed the money earned at the Moonlight Convention (aptly abbreviated "MoonlightCon.") For more information, you can visit the Lisa Gerry website.
Thanks to those who corrected me; I am admittedly not as involved as some other Moonlight fans, and I am also prone to human error and bias. Also, my information came from "lisagerry.com" which is also decidedly "anti-Leeser." I'm sure there are "pro-Leeser" sites out there, and if anyone would like to leave a link to such feel free. I didn't write this blog entry to start a controversy. If anything, I was writing to show the danger of getting too involved in anything. If this turns into a bitter argument, it will only prove my point. At some point, I realized I'd rather have a life.
It's logical to blame the one who gave the money to Leeser (who has been re-dubbed "Lesser" on some sites), but you have to understand that Moonlight went WAY beyond a TV show for a lot of the fans. It was probably a combination of many different things. Even before the show was canceled, it had a huge online following. Moonlight's cancellation was unexpected--a lot of the fans still blame CBS for leading us to believe the show would be renewed for a second season--and it really felt like we'd lost something special. Not as bad as a death in the family; maybe more like finding out your best friend is moving to Antarctica. Or Mars. We were all frantic, and I think a common reaction was to go through the five stages of grief. Our show was in danger, and we had to save it as quickly as possible.
The Internet can really bring people together. For better or for worse. Interestingly enough, Leeser's popularity started disappearing even before the fraud was discovered and publicized. At some point, most of the fans realized had reached "Acceptance"--the show is gone, it's not coming back, so make sure you buy the DVD set--but Leeser was still stuck somewhere between "Denial" and "Bargaining." She was seen as the leader of the fans who refused to believe that the show was over, and charged with creating false hope. Then the fraud came to light.
This is a textbook-case example of "Affinity Fraud":
Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are - or pretend to be - members of the group. They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile. Many times, those leaders become unwitting victims of the fraudster's ruse.
These scams exploit the trust and friendship that exist in groups of people who have something in common. Because of the tight-knit structure of many groups, it can be difficult for regulators or law enforcement officials to detect an affinity scam. Victims often fail to notify authorities or pursue their legal remedies, and instead try to work things out within the group. This is particularly true where the fraudsters have used respected community or religious leaders to convince others to join the investment. (http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/affinity.htm)
The moral of our story is: Hmmm, that's a toughie.
"Don't give money to people you don't know"? Sounds good, but what constitutes "knowing" someone? If you've had numerous conversations over the Internet, and you know lots of useless personal information about someone (favorite movie, birthday, favorite bands) how different is that from the friends you talk to face-to-face?
"Don't give large sums of money to anyone"? Paranoid much??
I've got it: "Use extreme caution when giving money to people you meet online."
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Download on iTunes, or from Podshow:
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
What do you think of the new format? Love it? Hate it? Tell us!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
1. Forever Knight
When it was on: 3 seasons, from 1992-1996
What it is: Forever Knight follows an 800-year-old vampire named Nick Knight, the original vampire detective, along with an ME who knows his secret (Natalie) and Nick's human partner, Detective Schanke.
Why I love it: I giggle every time they say Schanke's name (pronounced like "Skanky") and the characters are all well-developed.
If I could change one thing, I'd: Give it some humor. Schanke provides the only comic relief.
Girl Power Rating: 4/5 Natalie speaks her mind; Nick's fellow vampire Jeannette really comes into her own during the second season, but Nat tends to end up in "save me, Nick!" situations. Still, overall very good for early '90s (pre-Buffy, no less!)
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
When it was on: 7 seasons, from 1997-2003
What it is: Buffy Summers is the Chosen One, a girl with superpowers that allow (and require) her to slay the vampires and demons and crawling-from-hell things that invade her California town of Sunnydale. She's backed up by a rotating cast of sidekicks, including witches, a werewolf, vampires, and a British guy.
Why I love it: Amazing storylines, kick-butt action, and characters you really grow to fall in love with.
If I could change one thing, I'd: Have at least one love story that ended well. Joss Whedon (who is amazing) loves to take the characters we grow to love and kill them violently and tragically.
Girl Power Rating: 5/5 Buffy kicks some major bad-guy butt; basically, all of the women are smart and resourceful and never give up to wait for THE MEN to save them
When it was on: 5 seasons, from 1999-2004
What it is: Angel, Buffy's vampire-with-a-soul ex-boyfriend, moves to LA and gets his own show. More demon-fighting, world-saving action, with trademark Whedon humor and tragic endings.
Why I love it: More great characters (another British guy!) including several Buffy crossovers, and a demon named Lorne who runs a karaoke bar.
If I could change one thing, I'd: Not kill off half of the main characters in Season 5. What's up with that??
Girl Power Rating: 5/5 Cordelia, better known as the airhead rich-girl snob from Buffy, really comes into her own after inheriting psychic visions; Fred, who in a "typical" show would be vampire chow in the first ten minutes, is another resourceful, intelligent woman who can, in her own way, be a formidable evil-fighter.
4. Blood Ties
When it was on: 22 episodes (either 1 or 2 seasons, depending on who you talk to) from 2007-2008
What it is: Vicki Nelson, private investigator, teams up with (exceedingly hot) vampire Henry Fitzroy to fight the powers of darkness.
Why I love it: Kyle Schmid (who plays Henry), some great storylines, Kyle Schmid, lots of humor, Kyle Shcmid, great chemistry between the characters...Kyle Schmid. Two random facts: Christina Cox (who plays Vicki) is left-handed (like me!) and the series is based on a series of fantastic books by Tanya Huff.
If I could change one thing, I'd: Make it more consistent. The characters always had great chemistry, but the individual storylines were either great or awful.
Girl Power Rating: 4.5/5 Vicki is always kick-butt fantastic, but Coreen tends to end up as a hostage. Of course, that could be because Coreen tends to go looking for trouble; and when she's not getting captured, she makes some valuable research contributions.
When it was on: One season, 16 episodes, from 2007-2008
What it is: Vampire PI Mick St. John solves crimes, with the help of his undead buddy Josef and Mick's possible-girlfriend Beth.
Why I love it: The best soundtrack I've EVER heard in a TV show, sizzling chemistry between the characters, and a love story that played like an extended romantic comedy (right up to the happy ending).
If I could change one thing, I'd: Give Beth some fight scenes. Come on, people, this is the twenty-first century! Girls can slay the dragons too (Just ask Buffy. Or Willow, or Cordy, or Fred, or Vicki, or...)
Girl Power Rating: 3/5 (see above)
6. True Blood
When it was on: New show! It began fall '08; this week is episode 5.
What it is: In a world where vampires have revealed themselves to the public, the show is set in the small Louisiana town of Bon Temps. It follows telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, vampires Bill and Eric, and (SPOILER ALERT!) shapeshifters and other supernatural creatures (who haven't come out into the open).
Why I love it: Also based on a book series, this time from Charlaine Harris; they're staying very faithful to the book--always a plus--as well as developing a lot of the minor characters. I particularly like what they've done with Sookie's friend Tara.
If I could change one thing, I'd: Re-do the vampires' fangs; they're on the wrong teeth, too close together. They all look like Bunnicula. If I could change two things, I'd put it on a network other than HBO (one that would not allow the softcore porn scenes).
Girl Power score: 4/5 Sookie fights; Tara is a wonderfully dynamic character. At the same time, women are sometimes objectified and the season arc follows the unsolved murder of several women who were sleeping with vampires.
There was also Dark Shadows, which was way before my time, and another show from the nineties called Kolchak; I've never seen those and so will reserve judgment.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
"True Blood" is based on a series of books by Charlaine Harris (the first one is called Dead Until Dark) and takes place in a world where everyone knows that vampires exist. The vampires have revealed themselves to the world, and now the humans need to deal with the supernatural creatures in their midst. The ethical and political issues that arise (should vampires have rights? Can they be put on trial? Can they be baptized?) are all part of the background. Oh, and vampires aren't supposed to be dangerous, thanks to the invention of synthetic blood that allows the vampires to survive without biting people. Whether they actually are dangerous or not is another story. "True Blood" is set in a small town in Louisiana called Bon Temps, and follows the adventures of a telepathic barmaid named Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie has always been able to read people's minds, and she's always hated it. One night, a vampire walks into the bar, and Sookie discovers that she can't hear his thoughts at all. She saves his life; he returns the favor. I don't want to go into the plot anymore, because the series is staying pretty true to the books, so I know what's going to happen for at least the rest of the season.
-Original concept (set in Louisiana, in a world where vampires are not a secret)
-HBO stands behind their shows, unlike some networks (coughCBScough)
-The vampires' fangs are too close together. They look like Bunnicula.
-Softcore porn scenes. Probably par for the course on HBO, but I think the show would be better off without it.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Random Guy began with a parody of the Mac/PC ads, featuring his Spider-Man and Superman action figures as Marvel and DC. He does a new one every few weeks, or whenever there's big news in the superhero-movie world. I love them all, but the back-and-forth in this one is my favorite.
He also did a spin-off with an actual plot called "Marvel/DC After Hours" and several episodes of Green Goblin's vlog. Find more Random Guy at: http://www.youtube.com/user/ItsJustSomeRandomGuy
(copy and paste)
Sunday, August 31, 2008
The leak was considerably longer--12 chapters and 264 pages--and apparently spread pretty far. The twilightguy post was the first I'd heard of it. Stephenie posted a response on her website where she basically says that Midnight Sun is now "on hold indefinitely." Not surprisingly, the fans have a lot to say about this.
Thankfully, there has been a huge outpouring of support for Stephenie. At the same time, there are also those who are resentful and say that she's overreacting, and she'll change her mind once she "gets over it." I'm sorry, but her response is completely understandable. I've never published anything, but I enjoy writing. At the same time, I am very wary about sharing my stories with other people. It takes a lot of courage to share your story with the world. It's like baring your soul. And now her trust has been betrayed.
Stephenie posted the leak on her page, and so I read it. I devoured all 264 pages like a junkie in need of a Twilight fix. It was good stuff, man. Real good stuff. (PS: don't do drugs) If Stephenie can find it in her heart to forgive the people who stole her work, I will be first in line to buy Midnight Sun (I was FIRST IN LINE to buy Breaking Dawn! Literally! I won the first-place spot in the Twilight trivia contest at Borders).
Stephenie, if you're reading this: Most of your fans don't like spoilers and would never think of spreading or downloading illegal, copyrighted material. I love all of your work, and I look forward to reading anything you publish in the future. Your books have been such an enjoyable part of my life, and I know I'm not alone in that statement. Thank you for opening up your heart and mind to the world.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
The good news: TWILIGHT: THE MOVIE COMES OUT NOVEMER 21st!! Hallelujah. Now there's no chance that TTM will come out the week before/week of my finals. Because, come hell or high water, I WILL be at the midnight premiere.
What's that? You said we're supposed to be doing a podcast...right. Our next episode has been recorded, but due to technological difficulties and shortage of time, we haven't gotten a chance to edit it yet. We're going to get it up ASAP--probably sometime this week or early next.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
1.) The first book in the series is being turned into a movie
2.) Breaking Dawn has caused the biggest debate for SM's fans since Robert Pattinson was cast as Edward (though that's mostly over now...R Pattz ftw!)
3.) It's my blog.
Warning: The following section contains MAJOR SPOILERS. If you plan on reading Breaking Dawn in the future, stop now. Here is me, at my rambling-est.
Breaking Dawn breaks all of the rules. It departs very strongly from the first three books in the series. Fans either love this, or they hate it. Stephenie spent three books building up all of the conflict and (sexual) tension, and has one book to resolve all of the issues. This is probably why BD clocks in at over 750 pages (Short attention span? Check out my fanfiction, "Breaking Dawn Condensed"). Things move in Breaking Dawn. They move really quickly. For example, by page 85, Bella and Edward are on their honeymoon. Sorry, Team Jacob, the wedding really happens! And, yes, they (ahem) consummate their marriage. If the "morning after" scene isn't proof enough for you, Bella's "mysterious illness" definitely is. Yes, kiddies, when a woman and a vampire love each other very much, they produce a baby! A rapidly growing, soul-sucking, half-human-half-vampire.
When Bella announced she was pregnant, I had to put the book down in shock. Usually, once I start reading, I can't stop. The last time I put a book down in shock was during Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when I read, "Lord Voldemort had returned." It sent chills down my spine, and I had to stop reading to catch my breath.
Unfortunately, discovering that Bella was pregnant was more of a "Huh?" reaction. And I had to catch my breath because I was laughing so hard. I'd like to believe that Stephenie has never been to Fanfiction.net, or at least not recently, because every time you turn around, you see ten more new, badly written "pregnant Bella" stories. Everyone knows that vampires can't have children! Ah, but that only applies to vampire women, Bella swiftly concludes. Becoming a vampire freezes you in time, and women's bodies need to change in order to carry a child. But apparently, since men are never too old to knock somebody up, they can impregnate human women. Of course, nobody knew this before because vampire+human=dead human (unless vampire=Edward).
And that's when things get really strange.
Stephenie breaks another unspoken Twilight-saga rule, and changes the book's narrator from Bella to Jacob (Bella's werewolf almost-love-interest). Jacob and Edward become unwilling allies as they endeavor to save the woman they both love from the evil demon baby. For her part, our heroine is yet again hell-bent on killing herself to save someone (in this case, the baby). When Jacob sarcastically suggests that the fetus needs blood, the other vampires conclude not only that Jacob is exactly right, but that Bella must drink it. I'm sorry, but what's wrong with hooking her up to an IV? Bella (who, up until this point in the series, gagged at the sight of blood) begins chugging the stuff like it's Diet Coke.
Bella knows that her options, if she lives to carry the demon thing to full term, are to either die or become a vampire. But since she's been hoping for vampirism since Book 1, she figures everything will work out all right, even with the "birth" happening like that scene from "Alien." You know, with the thing in the guy's stomach? Yeah, that one. Don't think an epidural will do much for that.
The day before her scheduled "V-section" (vampire C-section), evil demon baby decides to come out early. The birth, as predicted, is deadly. Bella's last human words are to bestow upon her daughter the unfortunate name of...Renesmee. (Note to expectant parents: Do not combine the grandparents' names to create a wonderful new name for your child. It's just weird.) I was honestly convinced that Stephenie had just killed Bella (even though she'd gone three books without killing a major character). As Jacob runs from the room, intent on killing the badly-named demon child, I'm sure Team Edward broke another unspoken rule and rooted for Jacob. But, yet again, everything works out: Not only does Edward's emergency transformation successfully turn Bella into a vampire, Jacob immediately imprints on evil-demon-thing. (Imprinting, for the non-Twilighters, is a concept invented for Stephenie's werewolves. It's basically discovering your soulmate, and--since her werewolves don't age--is acceptable even with an age difference. At this point, Jacob's feelings for Renesmee are nothing but paternal.)
In the next chapter, we're back to Bella's perspective, as she describes the pain of her transformation and opens her vampire eyes for the first time. The "inspired by bad fanfiction" theme continues as Bella discovers that she is nearly immune to the scent of human blood. Not exactly immune, but she's got super-self-control. Oh, and super libido. Never fear, the book stays strictly PG-13; while there's plenty of "before" and plenty of "after" there is no "during."
Bella thinks her life is pretty great, which of course means everything's about to go to hell. Psychic-vampire Alice sees that the Volturi are coming to kill the Cullens. Bella's perfect life seems about to be over. But wait! There's still hope! They have time to gather a large company of other vampires, who are willing to stand with the Cullens (though, of course, they're hoping it won't come to a fight). There are quite a few chapters with the vampire cavalry. I like them; Stephenie gets a good bit of character development in there, and I can imagine shoot-off stories for several characters.
We also meet a man named J. Jenks, who is the Cullens' personal forger. Alice, in a final cryptic message before disappearing to save herself from the coming apocalypse, told Bella to find J. This is so Bella can get "papers" for her daughter and ex-boyfriend-slash-daughter's-soulmate in case they don't die. J's an interesting character, but in my opinion Steph could've cut this entire section out. As it turns out, the fake passports are never needed.
To make a long story short, Bella saves the day. She uses her vampire superpower (shielding) to protect her family and friends from the Volturi's mental attacks. The Volturi, faced with the prospect of their first fair fight in a few millennia, conclude that it's really better to just let the Cullens alone. And then they all live happily ever after, along with Alice, who didn't really betray them (long story, and this review is too long already).
Halfway through BD, I was convinced that I would hate it. But I ended up loving it; Stephenie redeems herself in the end, and her epic Gothic fairy tale has a fairy tale ending. I guess I'm just a sucker for happy endings. Despite all of the strangeness and grossness (and this book is stranger and grosser than the first three combined) Stephenie is a good-hearted person. Her books are primarily hopeful. She takes the un-original concept of "pregnant Bella" in an entirely original direction (I completely expected Renesmee to be an evil demon baby, a la "Jasmine" from Angel). I didn't know what to expect from Breaking Dawn but I certainly didn't expect anything that happened. Stephenie has said that she was unfamiliar with the vampire genre when she began writing. I, for one, think this is a brilliant idea. It proves that you really can take the "vampire" concept anywhere you want to.
It is infinitely harder to end a series than to begin one. The ending must meet the readers' expectations, but at the same time leave them not wanting more. Essentially, the final book is the writer's chance to go all out. This means different things to different people. For JK Rowling, the final book was her chance to kill off a different character in every chapter. Douglas Adams needed three "final" books to his Hitchhiker's trilogy, and the FINAL final book ended with an apocalypse. Stephenie used her final book to open up a whole new world of strangeness, which fans either find too strange or see as a transition to another series (which she's hinted at). I hate predictable books; BD is anything but. It is a bewildering but ultimately satisfying conclusion to the Twilight saga.
Except for Renesmee. I still hate that name.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The song is called "The World" and the band is Nightmare. It's Japanese, and I LOVE THIS SONG SO FRICKING MUCH!!
Yes, Kaleb "Twilight Guy" Nation is a man of many talents. In addition to earning the respect of over 750 thousand STFG (screaming Twilight fangirls) he is an author and creator of hilarious YouTube videos. In this video he counts down the five things he would do if he became a really, really famous author. His first book debuts in late 2009.
Find more videos on his channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/kalebnation
(you have to copy and paste; I don't think there's any way to put a video and a hotlink in the same post. Sorry!)
Saturday, July 12, 2008
As always, you can find us on iTunes, or directly from Podshow!
The first winner of the Video Revue Weekly YouTube Award will be announced TOMORROW!!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
In this episode, Johnny and I discuss three book-to-movie adaptations: a good example (Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" from the book by Roald Dahl), a bad example ("Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" which cannot compare to JK Rowling's original book), and one that's coming out in December (three guesses and the first two don't count...). We also have a new intro for the show.
Coming later this week, Johnny and I will debut our new blog-exclusive feature: YouTuber of the week! Who will be the first one to win this illustrious honor? Stay tuned!
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The Twilight Guy recently posted his review of two chapters at once, after finding himself unable to stick to the "one chapter per day" rule. My other favorite fansite, Twilight Lexicon, has a collection of stories from teachers who have used the Twilight series in the classroom. As a huge fan of the books, I am incredibly excited to read about my favorite series bringing people together. Stephenie Meyer's books have literally changed people's lives in ways you'd never expect.
If you've never read Twilight, do yourself a favor and check it out. Seriously.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
In episode #8, Johnny and I discuss game shows. We focus mostly on some you've probably never heard of, as well as touching on a few of our standard favorites.
You can subscribe to us through iTunes, or download/listen here: http://m.podshow.com/media/15317/episodes/116332/videorevue-116332-06-21-2008.mp3
We'll be back soon with "Page To Screen: Part One" as we look at books turned into movies. If you've got comments on this show, or anything else, don't forget to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Monica says: I love this movie. It's got some great voice work, including Jack Black as Po, Dustin Hoffman as his reluctant master, Shifu, and Angelina Jolie as Tigress. Oh, and Jackie Chan (!) as Monkey. Lucy Liu also voices one of the Five; obviously the animals of ancient China were more into gender equality than the humans in "Mulan." The animation in "Kung Fu Panda" is superb, including some hilarious training sequences after Master Shifu finally discovers how he can turn the uncoordinated, overweight Po into the powerful Dragon Warrior. The plot is surprisingly good for a "kiddie movie," including Tai Lung's back story. I would've liked to hear more about the history of Tigress and the rest of The Five. Maybe it will be discussed further in a sequel (I feel fairly confident there will be one, after three "Shrek"s and a second "Madagascar" coming later this year). Overall, an entertaining movie and an enjoyable movie experience.
Rating: 4 1/2 stars out of five.
You'll get Johnny's take on "Kung Fu Panda" if/when he sees it. The new "Video Revue" should be up in the next few days. You'll notice some surprising changes, so stay tuned!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Johnny says: It was extremely funny, especially a scene where the young man (Shia LaBoeuf) uses a snake as a rope to save Indy and his girlfriend Marion from something that acts a lot like quicksand (but isn't). We also find out Indy's real first name, Henry. That especially plays an important part in another funny scene where Indy meets his old partner, "Ox" (Henry Oxley, played by John Hurt). I really can't mention all the other funny things, because there are just too many. I give this movie....four and a half stars out of five.
Monica says: I wanted to like this movie. I really did. But somewhere in between Indy's surviving the nuclear warhead test by climbing into a refrigerator, and the third time their boat went over the waterfall, I realized even I have a limit to my suspension of disbelief. The stunts that Indy and Co. pull are simply physically impossible, and I only forgive breaking the laws of physics if one of the characters has fangs and/or superpowers. I haven't seen all of the other "Indiana Jones" movies, but "Raiders of the Lost Ark" wasn't nearly as ridiculous. The acting is good, but the plot was just too weird for me. I won't even go into the end, when it is revealed who (or what) is behind the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which happens to be the same as El Dorado. I came up with an alternate title, which I won't post here because it gives away the end. But in my opinion, it's a better title than "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
I can't wait until this movie comes out on DVD, because it will undoubtedly get the RiffTrax treatment from Mike Nelson and the rest of his buddies (check out RiffTrax! It's MST3k for blockbuster movies!). Johnny and I were riffing the movie to each other already, so I'd love to have the professionals take a crack at it. Still, "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" was enjoyable, and there were some pretty cool scenes. I also laughed a lot, but some of the laughter was from how impossible it was. I'd give the movie three out of five stars.
Total: 7 1/2 out of 10.
Johnny and I recorded our next episode of Video Revue, but I don't know when it'll be up. Our good friends over at Subject Cinema, who do the final edit for our show and post it on Podshow, are going through some pretty scary stuff right now: Kim, who's been battling some unidentifiable illness since March, has spent the past two days in the ER. Yikes. Kim, we're praying for you and TC. Your first job is to get well.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Of course, that's because we don't have cable.
So with the impending switch to all-digital signals (February 2009) and due to my brother's constant nagging, I ordered two coupons for the converter boxes that will allow our analog TVs to receive digital signal. Yes, we need converter boxes. And Johnny figured out how to set it up in tandem with our VCR.
Yes, we still have a VCR. We use it to record programs because DVRs are fracking expensive. And to watch our extensive collection of VHS movies (because replacing our VHS movies with DVDs would also be fracking expensive, especially when we can find VHS tapes 4 for a dollar!).
Yes, there are people in the world who still buy movies on tape. Gasp.
In other news, the iPod classic is amazing! I saved up all year to upgrade my mp3 player to something with more than one gig (it was a gift, and I do love my iPod nano, but still...) so I decided to go all-out and get the 80-gig Classic. I've quickly become addicted to the iPod games, especially Tetris (despite its evil controls) and Phase.
What's Phase, you ask? Quite possibly the most awesome hand-held game ever. I will be the first to admit that I'm not a "gamer." I've picked up character names from Nintendo games just from being around my brother, but I've never really played any of them. Then this year, I discovered Guitar Hero. Oh my gosh. That game is amazing. And addictive. And at $90, plus the cost of whichever game system I'd want to use it with, completely out of my budget. Then along comes Phase, which is essentially "iPod Hero." It combines my two favorite techno-gadgets, and I play it incessantly.
My nano usually has to be charged once a week, because I only listen to it on the bus (the rest of the time I just play iTunes on my computer). But now with Tetris and Phase, I've got to charge my new iPod nearly every day. And I play Phase while it's charging.
One more plus: all of the iPod games are $5 each. If you've got an iPod anyway, why not have video games on there with your music and movies (and podcasts)?
Speaking of podcasts, the newest Video Revue will be up this week! Johnny and I discuss game shows, and whatever else pops into my head, on "Survey Says: Video Revue!"
Also look for our blog review of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (or, as I like to call it, "Indiana Jones and the Close Encounter").
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Hehe, I guess I just wanted an excuse to post a scene from this movie...and this is probably my favorite part. Either that or the fencing match.
This video doesn't include the final conclusion: "They were both poisoned. I've spent the last few years building a resistance to iocane powder."
Johnny says: It was very funny. I especially loved Chim-Chim (the monkey) and Spritle, the youngest kid. Basically, they were the comic relief. I would probably give it...hmm...four and a half stars out of five!
Monica says: I LOVED this movie. The whole time, one thought kept going through my head: holy *beep* that was awesome! I honestly did not know the Wachowski brothers could direct a PG movie (what? The people who brought you "The Matrix" and "V for Vendetta" can do a family movie??) but it was just amazingly cool. The driving scenes were action-packed (and kind of ridiculous, but in a really fun way). Surprisingly, the characters were well-developed and I could tell how much the whole family cared about each other. And Royalton was a slimeball. I'm sure the actor is a wonderful person in real life, but his character made me want to reach into the movie screen and slap him. Or possibly something more drastic. I recognized him from "V for Vendetta" and he was a slimeball in that movie too. Anyway, the acting is very good. Overall, the movie had some good messages, about overcoming challenges, staying true to your family, and fighting corruption, and it was just FUN. Probably the most fun I've ever had at the movies.
Also, the debate about Racer X's identity reminded me of a scene from The Princess Bride. "Racer X sounds like Rex, so they must be the same person! But wait, that's too obvious! They can't be the same! But wait! What an amazing twist it would be if everyone was led to believe that he wasn't and it turns out that he is!"
(Therefore, I can clearly NOT choose the cup in front of ME!)
Annnnnnnd, after that rambling review, I give this movie four and a half out of five stars. Some of the dialogue was kinda dumb, but that's the only thing.
Go see Speed Racer. NOW.
Monday, May 26, 2008
This video combines one of the most intelligent animated shows with one of the dumbest. The words are from "Death Note," an anime show about a boy who finds Death's notebook, which basically gives him the power to kill anyone just by writing their name in the book. But in this video, the ultimate power belongs to SpongeBob SquarePants.
Now that's scary. And disturbing. And hilarious.
...which I can't watch either at home (with no cable) or at school (basic cable only) but we're not going to worry about that right now. We're going to concentrate on getting the show picked up for another season and then worry about how I'm going to watch it...thanks to the Internet, I'll be able to find it SOMEWHERE. Or beg my parents to get cable TV. Which hasn't worked yet, but whatever.
Two other notes: Go see Speed Racer. Now. That movie is fan-frickin-tastic, and Johnny and I will have a full review up soon.
Also, check out my new favorite Twilight site: www.twilightguy.com Yes, it's all about a guy reading Twilight. He is awesome, and he just proves my point that Twilight isn't just for 13-year-0ld fangirls (not that there's anything wrong with being a teenage fangirl). He does commentary on each chapter and includes stories from other "Twilight guys." Also, he's my age and not only has his own syndicated radio show, but a publishing deal! *decides to be admiring rather than jealous* His first book is coming out next year...something to look forward to after Breaking Dawn and TtM. And season 2 of "Moonlight."
Oooh! Today I saw an ad in the window of my local Borders for their Breaking Dawn release party, right after we came out of "Speed Racer." I was quite excited.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I remember when the show first started last fall, I wasn't that excited about it. Of course, I watched it anyway because it's about vampires. The first few eps were okay, nothing special, but then the fourth episode BLEW ME AWAY and from then on I watched every week without fail. Oh, and I also got Johnny hooked around episode 5 or 6, and my awesome friend Ryan started watching with us when it came back in April.
Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight saga, is being re-released on May 31st with the first chapter of Breaking Dawn (book 4) which comes out August 2nd!! Normally I would be the first in line to buy it, but we have a dilemma here. I already have a copy of Eclipse, purchased last summer when it was released the first time.
I have officially gotten one person addicted to Twilight! I talked about it constantly and made my roommate read the book. She then read the entire series in less than a week (which also happened to be right before finals week!). She had to buy New Moon because I still don't have a copy of that one. Ryan has also promised to read the books over the summer, which just proves how awesome he is.
I'm finishing up my finals this week, and Johnny graduates from 8th grade on June 4th (congrats in advance!) so VR will probably be back that week or the week after.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
From my favorite Twilight fan site, Twilight Lexicon, comes this EXCLUSIVE interview with the director of the TTM, Catherine Hardwicke! Catherine addresses the issue of pleasing the fans. She likes the book. Major bonus points, Catherine! She knows how important the movie is to the fans because she's a fan herself. We have exactly 7 months until the movie comes out...consider the buzz generated! But give us MORE. Thank you!
Also this week, the final word on whether "Moonlight" will be renewed for a 2nd season (*crosses fingers hopefully*). I need my Mick fix!
Oh, and although this isn't really movie related, read The Host! It is amazingly fantastic. Stephenie Meyer pwns JK Rowling...although after watching some interviews with JKR I think I may have been a bit harsh in my rant. I think she just got sick of all of the fame--before Deathly Hallows came out she was more famous than Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus combined. Dateline devoted an entire show to the 7th book, she was appearing on TV shows every day...I think Harry Potter got more coverage last summer than any other story. She wouldn't be the first author to get sick of her characters--Douglas Adams, author of the 5-book Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy, killed off his entire character base in the fifth book (probably so the fans wouldn't beg him to make it a 6-book trilogy). I hope Stephenie never becomes so famous that she loses touch with her fans.
Monday, May 5, 2008
And with...let's see...7 months and 7 days until the movie comes out, the trailer is released. Within hours, tens of thousands of people watch it. Continuously. And I am one of them.
Reading the comments on YouTube and the Twilight Lexicon (ooh! I should link to them!) I saw more "OMG"s and exclamation marks than anywhere else in my life. The fangirls have spoken, and they want MORE.
No, seriously, give us more. NOW.
Maybe I should start rebuilding that time machine...anyone know where I can find a flux capacitor?
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Let me start by saying that I love the Harry Potter books. I adore them. I remember when I was in fifth grade, my mom told me about this woman in England, an single mother who'd come up with this idea for a book about a boy who discovers he's a wizard. That same year, I had an amazing teacher who would read to our class out loud, one chapter a day right after lunch. Lo and behold, she'd heard of this little book too. Before she'd gotten halfway, I was hooked, and I begged my parents to buy the book for me so I could see how Harry's story ended. I was calling people "muggles" years before the word was added to the dictionary.
I went to three of the midnight release parties (for Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, and Deathly Hallows) and I own all seven books in hardcover. But for some reason, the movies never really interested me. I went to see the first one with a friend of mine, and then avoided them until last summer, when I took my brother to OotP. I have a horrible tendency to nit-pick. The danger with turning books into movies is that everyone who reads a book has their own view of how the characters, scenes, etc. should look and it's inevitable that the movie director is going to get it "wrong" according to at least some of the fans. For a long time I just thought that they'd gotten it "wrong" with the HP movies. I remember sitting in the theater, watching "Sorcerer's Stone" come to life on the big screen, and actually seeing Quidditch for the first time. Instead of being dazzled by the special effects, I was thinking, "They're trying to actually KILL each other! Why hasn't Madam Hooch called 'foul' yet? That's, like, twenty fouls! This would NEVER happen in 'real' life" (aka the book). The problem is not that they've gotten the details wrong; they've lost the essence of the books. The special effects are fantastic, but I still find it cheap and overdone.
Then I see first-graders walking around with Harry Potter pencil cases, and it hits me: J.K. Rowling is a sellout. Granted, she was still able to sell me all seven books. But with all the hype and the merchandising and the worldwide renown...okay, it would probably go to my head too. On the one hand, it is incredibly cool that a book can get so many people so excited. But at the same time, it's become less about the books and the fantastic world she's created and more about "Ooh! Let's see if we can get people to buy Harry Potter toothpaste!" Which, of course, they can.
It's entirely possible that "Twilight" will end up the same way, but I don't think so. Stephenie Meyer, the brilliant creator of the Twilight saga, seems much more...the only word I can think of is "accessible." I don't know how to explain exactly. But she's written about her writing experience, and she seems very connected to the fans and still surprised that she's become so successful. She can reveal information about the book without needing to make the evening news. Oh, and she's done something that JKR has yet to do (shocking, I know): she's branched out from the characters that made her famous. Stephenie's newest book, The Host, contains none of the Twilight characters and isn't even in the same genre. It comes out a week from today (squee!) and I can't wait to read it. She'll certainly have a good number of Twilight fans reading it, and draw in new ones as well. It's a test to see if the fans like her books for the writing, or simply because of the characters. But she's not afraid to see if people still like her books if she's not writing about Edward. Personally, I think The Host is going to be AMAZING.
"Twilight" the movie comes out shortly after "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" hits theaters. I think Twilight is going to kick HBP in the butt. It's probably just wishful thinking. Still, even with all of the hype, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was only at the top of the NY Times bestseller list for a few weeks. Guess who knocked the mighty Harry Potter out of the top spot: Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight saga. I anxiously awaited both books last summer; I devoted an entire day to each of them. There was no record-breaking crowd standing in front of the bookstores at midnight for Stephenie's book, but I honestly enjoyed Eclipse more.
Yowch. That was a long rant. Sorry. I did warn you that I had a lot to say.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Anyway, I decided to do my famous snappy reviews of the stuff I've been watching recently.
The Tingler: Old, funny-bad movie about creatures in your spine. Vincent Price!
Signs: Like "The Birds" with aliens, kinda. Seriously creepy and awesome.
The Blair Witch Project: Stupid movie. I wasn't scared...*sleeps with lights on*
Blade: Wesley Snipes: badass vampire assassin. Like "Buffy" with gratuitous violence.
Dexter: Disturbingly delightful. Sociopath kills killers, has really awkward sex scenes.
Breaking Bad: Chemistry teacher starts meth lab! He's dying of lung cancer.
Mythbusters: Blowing sh!t up for science!! Yay! They test urban legends.
Also in my free time, I've been writing fanfiction! You can check my FF account here: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1498371/
I've written stuff for Moonlight (which returns NEXT FRIDAY!!) and Dexter, along with 3 for my FAVORITE book series: Twilight. Which is going to be turned into a movie! It's funny how much the Internet has changed the movie-making process. For example, instead of finding out about the movie maybe a month before it opens, I knew about it before they even started filming. I can get the latest news on Stephenie Meyer's (the author) blog, and I'm sure the trailer will be up on YouTube approximately 7 seconds after it appears in theaters. It's fascinating to read about the process of turning a book into a movie. As usual, fans are divided. I'm usually pretty wary about "book-to-movie" projects, but this time I'm firmly in the "completely excited" camp. Probably because they've involved Stephenie in the whole process, and she's just as excited as the fans. She got to go to the set, and meet the actors. And they gave her a CAMEO!!!
That was a really smart marketing decision. Oh well. I don't care why they did it. I'm optimistic right now that this is going to be a faithful adaptation of the book.
Vital stats: "Twilight" is directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Lords of Dogtown...now I'm going to HAVE to Netflix that one) and stars Robert Pattinson (AKA Cedric Diggory) and Kristen Stewart as Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. And I only have to wait until...December 12. They haven't even finished FILMING yet, and I'm already looking forward to it.