Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Video Revue coming soon (to a computer near you!)

I know our shows usually go up on Sunday mornings, but we've hit a glitch. Our webmaster (TC from Subject:Cinema) has been busy all week taking care of Kim, who came down with the chicken pox! Fortunately she's feeling better but he hasn't had time to do much else. I'll let you know as soon as our latest episode is available.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Video Revue: Creative Works #1--Jim Henson

Hello everybody! This week, Johnny and I discuss Jim Henson. "Creative Works" is our newest recurring feature, like "Laff Track" and "Actor's Studio." The Creative Works shows focus on the creators of different characters (in this case, the Muppets). We mention some of our favorite Muppet moments and also talk about some of his other projects.

Our show has actually been up since yesterday morning, but I haven't had time to post it here. Of course, if you subscribe to us on iTunes, the shows download automatically (hint, hint). As always, you can also find us on Podshow.

There were a couple Jim Henson facts I forgot to mention on the show. He was also involved in the creation of Yoda, my favorite Star Wars character, and also recommended his long-time friend Frank Oz to voice the Jedi master (Oz did the voice in all 5 Star Wars movies). One of his companies was also behind the '90s show "Dinosaurs." Henson was developing the concept before he died in 1990.

Keep watching the blog, because I'm going to create a YouTube playlist with some Muppet videos and post a link here.

Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Congratulations, Svengoolie!

Svengoolie (Rich Koz), who I met a couple weeks ago, received a Rondo award, which is a fan award given every year in various categories related to sci-fi and horror. He wasn't there to pick up the award in person, so he sent a DVD with an acceptance speech and had a friend pick up the award for him.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Star Trek Initiation: The Menagerie Part 1

Well folks, I'm back with another episode of the original Star Trek to review for you! According to the good folks at Wikipedia, this was the only 2-part episode in the original series. It was also a way to use some of the footage from the original unaired pilot episode, but I'll get to that later on.

The episode begins with Spock, Kirk, and McCoy beaming down somewhere because Spock claims he received a message from Captain Pike, the former captain of the Enterprise. The other commander, Commodore Mendez, states that this is impossible, because something has happened to Captain Pike.

Ooh, ooh, I know this one! He was captured by vengeful Romulans as part of an intricate plot involving time travel and a device that can create black holes, right? No, that was somewhere else...

Anyway, Captain Pike was actually exposed to high levels of delta rays. This means that his face has become disfigured, and he is also now confined to a washing machine-like wheelchair. It operates on his brainwaves. With his mind, he can send it forwards or backwards, turn it, and make a little light blink. One blink means yes, and two blinks means no. That's all he can say. If they have the technology to create a brainwave-powered chair, why can't they give poor Captain Pike a larger vocabulary? Or a voice-output system? This is one of the inherent problems with old sci-fi, because we have different ideas of how technology will operate in the future. Back in the sixties, many people thought we'd all have flying cars by now. Or that we'd have blown ourselves up with nukes. But none of them ever imagined the Internet or iPods or TiVo. Going off on a bit of a tangent: you know those annoying walkie-talkie cell phones? I wonder if there's a way to get them to make the Star Trek communicator sound...

Okay, so Captain Pike refuses to see anyone besides Spock. Spock tells Pike that "it" is six days away at warp speed, and he's going "there." Pike keeps on blinking "no" at him, but Spock respectfully, stoically tells Pike he's going to do it anyway. Of course, we have no idea what "it" is yet. Spock then proceeds to hack into the ship's computer and send a message to the Enterprise that they are being sent on a classified mission and the course is being programmed into the computer. He runs into a couple guards, but they're quickly disabled by his nerve pinch. I wish I could do that; it would save me a lot of trouble if I ever find myself in a fight. And it's mutiny on the Enterprise as Spock manages to get both McCoy and Pike onto the ship, leaving Kirk and Commodore Mendez behind. They take off in another ship, and once Spock realizes they're not going to turn back, he turns himself in for mutiny. I failed to see his logic, but I'm sure he knows what he's doing. Did I mention I think Spock is awesome?

There are three main reasons Spock was able to pull off his plan (and, yes, getting caught was part of his plan all along). The first was that he simply has the knowledge of the technology and the ship (the geek shall inherit!). Second was that he had the trust of everyone onboard; even when Kirk suspected Spock, he didn't act on it. Third, it was completely unexpected, so he had the element of surprise. It's always the quiet ones...

We find out that Spock has programmed the computer to take the Enterprise to Talos-IV, the only planet which ships are forbidden, under punishment of death, to visit. During his tribunal, Spock points out that three officers must be present. This works out to be Kirk, Mendez, and Pike, which is why Spock kidnapped the former captain of the Enterprise. Spock submits a video log from thirteen years ago as evidence for why he's taking the ship to Talos-IV. This leads to a long flashback, which is actually from the unaired pilot. I saw it some months ago, and I thought it looked familiar. Anyway, the episode ends with flashback-Pike being captured by the Talosians, who are able to create powerful illusions with their oversized brains. The court has recessed and Spock's fate will be decided in the next episode.

I know how the flashback part ends, because I've seen the pilot, but I don't know what will happen with Spock (aside from the obvious fact that he won't be executed).

I'll be back with Part 2 soon! It was really weird, but cool, to see Spock act as the "bad guy": hacking into the computer, sending false transmissions, knocking out the guards. If it was anybody other than Spock, I'd be convinced that the Enterprise was being led into a trap. But Spock knows what he's doing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Star Trek revue!

Not to be confused with my written review, posted on Monday, this is our podcast review of the new Star Trek movie. This is sort of a bonus episode--we'll be back this weekend with our normal show--so it's about 10 minutes long. There are some spoilers, so I would suggest not listening if you haven't seen the movie yet.

You should. Whether you're a die-hard Trekkie or someone who knows nothing about Star Trek.

As always, you can find us on iTunes or Podshow. If you've seen the new Trek, let us know what you think! You can e-mail us at

Live long and prosper.
(Does that look anything like the Vulcan salute? It's supposed to.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

I've been writing an awful lot lately, haven't I?

But it's time for one more post! Unless I watch another episode of Star Trek tomorrow, that is...

Anyway, to make a long story short, I have uncovered something that I just had to post here: a webcomic called Irregular Webcomic! IWC is done almost entirely with Lego characters, in addition to some D&D minifigures and the comic's creator himself, David Morgan-Mar. He's got about twenty different storylines going on at once, with various crossovers as well. And they're hilarious. Some of my favorites are Harry Potter, Mythbusters, and Death. Yes, there is a plotline involving not just Death, but multiple Deaths. Apparently there is a different collector of souls for each cause of death. For example, Death of Insanely Overpowered Fireballs. He's always in trouble with Head Death and being demoted to more obscure methods, such as Death of Being Sat On By A Giant Frog. There's also Death of Inhaling Hatmaking Chemicals. And you can bet Death has run into the Mythbusters multiple times. If only there wasn't that pesky clause that allowed the departed to challenge Death...I don't think a single soul has ever been successfully collected.

David has been doing the strips since 2003, so there's over 2000 of them now. If you want to start reading, you've got several options:
1. Just jump right in! It might take a while before you understand what's going on, though...
2. Go to the cast page and find a storyline that interests you. You can read all of the strips in that storyline, and by the time you reach the latest ones you'll probably have met most of his characters.
3. Pick a date and start reading from there. I wouldn't suggest going all the way back to 2003 unless you (A) have a lot of time on your hands and (B) understand RPG jokes. They were kinda lost on me.

Some quick tips to help new readers:
-The president, in this universe, is a dinosaur. Apparently he was elected in 2004.
-One of his storylines involves Shakespeare. He works in an office with other people named after Shakespearean characters and writes Harry Potter fanfiction.
-Expect lots of pop culture references. These are explained in the annotations.
-Also expect a physics lesson fairly often. These are explained too.
-One of the older storylines involves Steve Irwin. I'm not sure how often he's shown up since the real Steve died, but I would suggest avoiding his storyline if you're still upset about his death.
-The universe was destroyed in December 2008, and they spent most of January 2009 trying to fix it. As a result, I think he's re-starting all of the storylines.

Some of my favorite lines:
"I find you lack of face disturbing." (Darth Vader to Death)
"We need finesse...hand me that jackhammer." (a Martian. There are 3 of them, all unnamed)
"We need to create another Big Bang as a control sample." (Jamie from the Mythbusters)
"Stand back. I'm going to destroy the afterlife!" (somebody from the RPG storyline)
"Humanity will pay for this. Especially the one known as Steve." (Cthulhu)
This entire comic featuring McGonnogal and Dumbledore
"We are Nazis! We do not make anachronistic references here!" (Hitler's Brain, who was brought back to life by the Mythbusters as their challenge from Head Death)

Oddly enough, I find this web comic much easier to understand than some of the others I've read...

Movie Revue: Star Trek

I saw the Star Trek movie last night. Wow. It was amazing. Johnny and I even recorded a special episode of the podcast--look for it tonight or tomorrow--but I'm going to post something here too.

This review is spoiler-free, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, no worries. We do get into some plot details in our podcast review.

First of all, I love Spock. Even from watching less than half of the first season of Star Trek: TOS, I have decided that Spock is my favorite character. And the entire reason I wanted to see the movie in the first place is that Spock is played by Zachary Quinto, also known as my favorite TV villain of all time. I would like to say that Zachary is a PHENOMENAL actor, and I LOVED him as Spock. Plus, with the return of Leonard Nimoy, you get two Spocks for the price of one!

Chris Pine does a great job as James Kirk. It was interesting to see Kirk as a teenager; plus, now I actually have an image of Kirk not associated with the Priceline ads. Also loved Sulu--he's probably my favorite minor character on TOS, and he was played in this movie by John Cho...also known as Harold from the "Harold and Kumar" movies. I thought he looked familiar. Oh, and Uhura is now a "xeno-linguist" instead of just the token black lady.

It's weird to say that the characters have grown a lot since the original series, because they're all supposed to be younger than they were on the show, but they have grown. I thought all of the character development was excellent. Scotty and McCoy were HILARIOUS. Honestly, even though the movie was over two hours long, I wish I could've seen more. Maybe they should make a TV show with the movie cast! Honestly, I would watch it. Every week. Especially if Sylar has been written out of Heroes completely...but I digress.

I loved the movie. I thought the acting was fantastic, the special effects were amazing, the plot was...secondary...and I hope they all come back for another!

Overall: 5 stars/5

Marvel and DC Keep on Trekkin' (Marvel/DC/Star Trek Parody)

The latest offering from YouTube's "ItsJustSomeRandomGuy." With the only superhero movies this summer come and gone, Spider-Man has an idea for their new gig...

As always, RandomGuy cracks me up.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

1990 Crest Toothpaste Commercial

I have been looking for this commercial FOREVER! This was the "apple in a blender" PSA we mentioned in this week's episode.

Please brush your teeth.


A new idea this week: I've created a YouTube playlist for this week's episode. It includes most of the commercials we mentioned, and some we didn't. Click here to view them all!

Also: our blog is at 150 posts!! Thanks to everyone who reads and comments.


A fake commercial for Swiffer, animated by SecretAgentBob, better known as the creator of "Charlie the Unicorn." As promised, posted to the blog!

Back to our show...MAYBE...

This week, Johnny and I take a look at commercials! From good ones to bad ones, long ones and short ones, and even some fake commercials, this week, it's all about the ads!

Brought to you by Spatula City and Yakko Warner's Head-Shaving Spray-Painting Emporium.

As always, you can find us on iTunes or Podshow.

Keep watching for a review of the new Star Trek movie coming soon!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My brush with fame!

Longtime readers of the blog, and people from Chicagoland, will recognize the name Svengoolie (also known as local celebrity Rich Koz). He hosts the late-night movie on Saturday nights on WCIU (Channel 26) from 9-11, and also occasionally makes guest appearances at various places. Johnny and I both had the chance to meet him last Saturday!

Sven was at the grand re-opening of a movie memorabilia and collectibles store called Horrorbles. I'd been to their old location once or twice. Their new location, which is right next door, is much roomier and nicer. I was only able to look around for a few minutes while I was waiting in line for my photo with Sven, but I'm definitely going to go back. They have collectible action figures and old movie posters and an entire wall with shelves of DVDs. It's basically a little piece of geek heaven.

Sven was there from 6:30 to 8:30, but he said on his blog that people should get there early. I was there around 5:45, and Johnny joined me with our dad about half an hour later. My original plan was to show up around 6. I was glad I'd given myself the extra 15 minutes because there was a HUGE crowd, and a lot of people showed up after I did. Dad and Johnny were glad I'd saved them a spot in line. I was surprised by the mix of people there--I saw a lot of families with young kids. Now, granted, most of the movies Svengoolie shows aren't scary, even when they're supposed to be, but I wouldn't have watched them when I was six.

Anyway, I only had a minute with Svengoolie, but he was just as nice and funny in person as he is on TV. My dad took some photos of me and my brother with Svengoolie. We also both got his signature--he signed a photo for me, and then we bought a rubber chicken and Sven signed that for Johnny. Why a rubber chicken, you ask? It's a running joke on the show. Whenever Svengoolie cracks a really bad joke, he gets rubber chickens thrown at him. Why rubber chickens? They're funny.

Here are the photos! I had such a great time.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek Initiation: The Corbomite Maneuver

Hello fellow Star Trek followers. Unfortunately, I do not have a review of the new Star Trek movie yet. This weekend was crazy busy, and I've got finals next week, but if all goes well I'll have a chance to see it Memorial Day weekend (or possibly before). I have to say, all of my Trek-fan friends have seen it and raved about it, so I'm very excited. This week, I'm reviewing Episode 10 of the original series, "The Corbomite Maneuver."

The episode begins in the middle of an uncharted territory, as the Enterprise is mapping a new star system. I believe this is the first time they've literally gone "where no man has gone before." They are about ready to wrap things up when they encounter the Spinning Cube of Doom. Well, they don't actually call it that. But it blocks their path, and it follows them, and nobody knows what it is or what it's for. It also spins, and it's cube-shaped. Hence, Spinning Cube of Doom (or SCoD). Kirk tells the crew to start approaching the cube. The SCoD, it turns out, is also radioactive. It continues to chase the Enterprise even when they try backing away. It continues to emit higher and higher levels of radiation until Kirk orders the crew to blow it up.

Now in my mind, the last thing you want to do with something emitting radiation is make it explode, but apparently it's not a problem for the Enterprise. After the SCoD is defeated, Kirk orders the crew to practice emergency procedures. I noticed he was extremely short-tempered with everyone, especially Dr. McCoy. I assumed at first that the SCoD had some sort of mind-control power, but I think it was just the stress of escaping a potentially dangerous situation. Unfortunately, as it turns out, the danger is far from over.

Shortly after blowing up the SCoD, they are contacted by an alien ship who informs them that the Enterprise has blown up their warning beacon. The alien, who calls himself Baalok (isn't that an antacid?), is incredibly pissed at the Enterprise for destroying the SCoD. At one point, he tells the crew, "I assume you have a deity...or deities..."

That right there is number one on my list of Signs that Really Bad News is Coming.

Anyway, Baalok gives the Enterprise "ten of your Earth units known as minutes" to prepare for their annihilation. Kirk makes several attempts to reason with Baalok's ship, all of which are ignored. Spock's advice at this point is to surrender. He likens their situation to a game of chess and suggests that Kirk has been checkmated. Kirk's idea is that, rather than a chess game, they should look at the situation as though it is a poker game and raise the stakes.

From what I've gathered about the Vulcans, I would assume that (A) they would be very good at poker and (B) they would have very little interest in playing it. But I don't know. The poker idea is, after all, a metaphor. Kirk's idea of raising the stakes is to inform Baalok that his ship is armed with "corbomite," a mysterious substance that will destroy any ship that attempts to harm the Enterprise (hence the name of the episode). Baalok buys it enough to delay the destruction of the ship, but he insists on seeing proof of the corbomite. When Kirk refuses, Baalok captures their ship and starts towing it to another planet. His plan is to remove all of the crew and then destroy the ship.

If you've never seen The Corbomite Maneuver, go watch it now, and stop reading this review, because Here There Be Spoilers.

Kirk manages to escape from Baalok's power, but not without nearly burning out the engines. Unfortunately, it appears that Baalok's ship is in even worse shape: Uhura picks up a very faint distress signal. Kirk decides to go and help, so they beam over to the ship to meet the Great And Terrible Baalok. It was obvious that they found some five-year-old kid to play the real Baalok and then dubbed in an adult's voice. At one point Baalok says that nobody would have found him frightening in his real form, but I thought he was pretty creepy. Anyway, once again Star Trek managed to surprise me with the ending. Everything made sense once I realized that Baalok had been bluffing as well. I do wonder if he'd ever been intending to actually blow up the Enterprise, or if his ship even had the capacity to do so. Overall, I loved this episode. One of the best I've seen so far. I'd love to watch the remastered version sometime.

Episode notes:
-Why is Uhura's uniform yellow instead of red? That bugged me through the whole episode. Mustard yellow really isn't her color.
-The doctor puts Kirk on a diet because his weight is up a couple of pounds. I found that hilarious, considering how William Shatner looks today.
-When Baalok's ship appeared, I thought, "Oh shit, the Spinning Cube of Doom has a mommy." I also dubbed his ship the Spinning Disco Ball of Doom.
-If an alien threatened to blow me up and then offered me a drink, I wouldn't take it. Sorry.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sesame Street 1993 Intro

Because of our "Sunny DAZE!" podcast, I decided to post my two favorite intros to the show. First there's this one (absolutely love it to this day)...

New Sesame Street intro

...and then there's this one. I absolutely love this one, too!

Video Revue: Sunny DAZE!

This week on Video Revue, Johnny and I take a look at one of the classic children's shows: Sesame Street! We discuss some new segments, old favorites, and a few of the many notable people who have visited Sesame Street in its 40-year (!) run. As always, you can download the show from iTunes or listen on Podshow.

Also, happy Mother's Day! If you have a mother, give her some love. And listen to her advice without complaining (at least for one day...). If you had a mother, remember her fondly. If you are a mother, make sure your kids listen to your advice for once without complaining...

If you have memories of watching Sesame Street, we'd love to hear your stories. Please e-mail us!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

YouTube Channel of the Week: Howcast!

I decided to bring back a long-neglected blog feature: YouTube Channel of the Week. This week's winner: Howcast.

Howcast puts out several videos a week. They're informative and often humorous video tutorials for everything from getting people to shut up in the movie theater (see above) to getting a date to removing ink stains to building a laser security system. Just go to their channel and type in a keyword. You'll probably get something, because they've got over a thousand videos already.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Video Revue: Actor's Studio--Christopher Lloyd

This week, Johnny and I focus on some of the (many) films and TV shows starring one of our favorite actors, Christopher Lloyd. From Taxi and Back to the Future to Camp Nowhere and Cyberchase, to his surprising first appearance onscreen, join us as we discuss why we llove Lloyd!

As always, you can find us on iTunes or Podshow.

Question for the comments: if I would make video playlists on YouTube for each episode, would you watch them? It wouldn't be that hard to do. Would you prefer posting them directly to the blog, or just linking to a YouTube playlist?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Connect with Video Revue!

It's been a while since I posted our contact info, and some of it has changed since then, so I'm going to post it again.

Johnny and I both have YouTube channels. He creates his own videos fairly regularly, while I'm mostly there to watch and favorite a little bit of everything. You can connect to us by clicking here for sandrilene23 (Monica) and here for thevisualboy37 (Johnny).

I have sold my soul to the "Facebook Status Rip-Off" website, more commonly known as Twitter. You can follow us on Twitter by clicking here.

You can also link to us on Facebook and by following the links in the sidebar. I'll add our Twitter link to the links section soon.

New Video Revue tomorrow! Johnny and I kick off our "Actor's Studio" feature by looking at one of our favorite actors: Christopher Lloyd!