DVD Releases: December 1, 2009

Out this week we have two DVDs to feature:  Terminator Salvation, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.  Do we Love It, Rent it, or Avoid Like Plague?


For fun here is a 5 second summary / commentary on Terminator Salvation

For me I suspect this will be my sentiments (NSFW)

  • Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: The second of the Night at the Museum movies.  I was not interested in the first but was impressed with how good it is, I really enjoyed it.  That made me more willing to give the second movie a chance, then I got to see more of the previews.  Beginning to suspect that the second one was merely a series of catch phrases and repeated jokes this movie got bumped to the rent list.  Then the reviews came in and only supported that concern.  If this gets on the rent que It's going to be low.

[reus id="11"]

Exploring: Terminator Salvation

terminator-salvation-posterTerminator: Salvation is the next installment in the Terminator franchise.  It takes place during John Connor's freedom fighter days as he leads the resistance against the Skynet and the robot army.  In his attempt to defeat Skynet and its army of Terminators by Marcus Wright, a man who apparently has been rescued from the past, though Connor wonders if instead he’s been sent from the future as a foil to his plan. As Connor and Wright push deep into the heart of Skynet, they get closer and closer to learning the secret behind the organization’s mission to wipe humankind off the planet. I loved the first two Terminator movies becoming a fan of the story and setting.  It was the best of both worlds great action with killer robots and good speculative fiction.  Then the third movie happened which moved the franchise away from any good "what if" and into pure boring action.  I originally had a lot of hope with this movie exploring John Connor's adult years and getting back into the setting returning the franchise back to what made it so great... after some of the early reviews and McG's talks that hope is swiftly slipping.

I put this one into the caution category.  I will watch it in the theater to review it but recommend for others to wait until the reviews are in.  My hopes is Terminator will turn out to be like Star Trek in quality rather than X-Men Wolverine.

For more information on Terminator Salvation

Let me know what you think.  Will you go to see Terminator: Salvation  in the theater on May 21 2009 or rent it?  If you have seen it in the theater should I go see it and why?

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Dark Horse's iPhone Comic App


Dark Horse Comics is launching a new iPhone app, and is offering the four-volume The Terminator: Death Valley comic (originally published in 1998) as iPhone downloads for 99 cents per issue.


I like the idea of Dark Horse branching out, looking into new mediums for delivering comics.  I'm not that excited about a Terminator comic but if this works and looks good we could be looking at a new method for delivering comics.  Imagine getting a subscription app that would allow the comic reader to receive new issues downloaded directly to them and in a portable format.  I hope that Dark Horse will explore making it available for other devices in addition to the iPhone.

(via SFScope)

Theater or Renter: May 2009

Theater or Renter: May includes eight SF movies:  X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Battle for Terra, Star Trek, Angels & Demons, Terminator: Salvation, Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian, Up, Drag Me to Hell.  Will we watch? Will we rent? or do we even care? Rules of the Game: Watch the trailers. Rate the Trailer. Then share with us your comments: does the movie, it’s trailer and buzz make you want to watch it in the theater, rent it, or not interested at all, and why?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Release Date: MAY 1st

Listed as: Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Studio: 20th Century Fox

Director: Gavin Hood

Produced by: Hugh Jackman, Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter, John Palermo

Written by: David Benioff, Skip Woods

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Dominic Monaghan, and Ryan Reynolds

The Plot / Story: The first chapter in the X-Men Saga, unites Wolverine with several other legends of the X-Men universe, in an epic revolution that pits the mutants against powerful forces determined to eliminate them.  Are you concerned that there is no story in that description... I am. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

for more read: A video look at X-Men Origins: Wolverine, And here.

Battle for Terra

Release Date: MAY 1st

Listed as: Animation, Adventure

Studio: Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions, MeniThings Productions

Director: Aristomenis Tsirbas

Produced by: Ryan Colucci, Keith Calder

Written by: Evan Spiliotopoulos, Story: Aristomenis Tsirbas

Stars: Brian Cox, James Garner, Evan Rachel Wood, Justin Long, Dennis Quaid, Danny Glover, Amanda Peet

The Plot / Story: When the peace-loving inhabitants of the beautiful planet Terra come under attack from the last surviving members of humanity adrift in an aging spaceship, the stage is set for an all-out war between the two races for control of the planet.  But will an unlikely friendship between a rebellious young Terrian and an injured human piolt somehow convince their leaders that war is not the answer? (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Star Trek (2009)

Release Date:  MAY 8th (May 7th in some theaters)

Listed as: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Studio: Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot Productions

Director: J. J. Abrams

Produced by: J. J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof

Written by: Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman

Stars: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nimoy, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Eric Bana

The Plot / Story: The origin story of Captain James T. Kirk, Spock and the crew of the USS Enterprise before they had boldly gone where no man had gone before. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

For more articles on Star Trek read here

Angels & Demons

Release Date:  MAY 15th

Listed as: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Studio: Imagine Entertainment

Director: Ron Howard

Produced by: Brian Grazer, John Calley

Written by: David Koepp, Akiva Goldsman

Stars: Tom Hanks, Ayelet Zurer, Ewan McGregor

The Plot / Story: Based on the book Angels & Demons by Dan Brown.  Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon finds himself in Rome, where he has to race against time to prevent the Illuminati, a secret society, from putting in motion a terrorist act that could destroy the Vatican. He's aided in his quest by the beautiful Italian scientist Vittoria Vetri (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

For more on Angels and Demons read:  Trailer: Angels & Demons TV spot

Terminator: Salvation

Release Date: MAY 22nd

Listed as: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Studio: Warner Bros.

Director: McG

Produced by: Derek Anderson, Victor Kubicek, Jeffrey Silver, Moritz Borman

Written by: Screenplay: John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris, Uncredited: Jonathan Nolan, Anthony E. Zuiker, Shawn Ryan, Paul Haggis, David C. Wilson, Characters: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd

Stars: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Jane Alexander, Helena Bonham Carter

The Plot / Story: John Connor is joined in his attempt to defeat Skynet and its army of Terminators by Marcus Wright, a man who apparently has been rescued from the past, though Connor wonders if instead he's been sent from the future as a foil to his plan. As Connor and Wright push deep into the heart of Skynet, they get closer and closer to learning the secret behind the organization's mission to wipe humankind off the planet.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

For more articles on Terminator read here

Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian

Release Date:  MAY 22nd

Listed as: Action, Comedy

Studio: 21 Laps Entertainment

Director: Shawn Levy

Produced by: Shawn Levy, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan

Written by: Screenplay: Thomas Lennon  Story: Robert Ben Garant

Stars: Ben Stiller, Amy Adams, Owen Wilson, Hank Azaria, Christopher Guest, Alain Chabat, and Robin Williams

The Plot / Story: Security guard Larry Daley infiltrates the Smithsonian Institute in order to rescue Jedediah and Octavius, who have been shipped to the museum by mistake. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)


Release Date: MAY 29th

Listed as: Animation, Action, Adventure, Comedy, Family

Studio: Pixar Animation Studios

Director: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson

Produced by: Jonas Rivera

Written by: Bob Peterson, Ronnie del Carmen, Thomas McCarthy

Stars: Edward Asner, Christopher Plummer, John Ratzenberger, Jordan Nagai

The Plot / Story: By tying thousands of balloon to his home, 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America. Right after lifting off, however, he learns he isn't alone on his journey, since Russell, a wilderness explorer 70 years his junior, has inadvertently become a stowaway on the trip. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Drag Me to Hell

Release Date: MAY 29th

Listed as: Horror, Thriller

Studio: Ghost House Pictures

Director: Sam Raimi

Produced by: Grant Curtis, Joshua Donen, Joseph Drake, Nathan Kahane, Sam Raimi, Robert G. Tapert

Written by: Ivan Raimi, Sam Raimi

Stars: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, David Paymer

The Plot / Story: A loan officer ordered to evict an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse which turns her life into a living nightmare. Desperate, she turns to a seer for help, and learns she only has a short period of time before she is literally ushered into Hell. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

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Joss Whedon Interview on Writing

Joss Whedon answers questions from fans about his sources of inspiration and writing.

Out of film, television, and internet, which media do you find is most enjoyable to work on, most stressful, most rewarding, and why? — Chloe Honey, it's all stress. I'm defined by stress. I'm on the ten best stressed list. The rewards are different -- movies are big and intense, TV is long and deep, internet is tiny and personal and mine all mine -- but all worth pursuing. I'm a media agnostic. If it's stories, I'll brave the stress.

I love how Joss focuses on the story.  It’s what really sets his work apart and why if he is working on a project I count that as a huge plus on whether the project will be good or not.

How do you develop a character? Do you have a specific archetype, trope, or "slot" to fill in your shows that you fit a character to, or do you create their personalities separate from their purpose? — Anne Purpose informs personality. It's not like I say "I need a wacky sidekick" — although I did when I was working on Disney musicals, but that was the form. I tend to focus on one character (perhaps a young woman of unnatural abilities, to pull an example randomly out of nowhere) and then the other characters are built from the needs of that character's journey.

I wonder if he follows Joseph Campbell’s philosophy and / or what other models he uses to determine what other characters they need.

You get a lot of critical and fan acclaim for being an excellent 3rd generation writer but I really enjoy your directing style. Who are your influences in that regard and what kind of background training did you receive before you got behind the camera? — buffywrestling I had no production experience outside of my backyard, but I had the best professors in the world. I'm influenced by everything I've seen and I studied most of the great American directors at Wesleyan (hint: watch EVERYTHING.) If I'm gonna pick directors, I'd say Borzage, Minnelli, Hitchcock, Carpenter. Today. But for some reason, Soderbergh's The Limey had the most immediate and visceral effect on my sense of style. It's so casually daring. Also, comic books really help dynamic framing and narrative coherence.

that’s awesome that he mentions using comic books as a means for dynamic framing.  It’s the same conclusion I came to.

I recently read an interview with you in Mother Jones magazine. "Geek God" I think was the term they used for you. How do you feel about your success? What advice do you like to give other "geeks" with good ideas? — Jennifer Russell If you have a good idea, get it out there. For every idea I've realized, I have ten I sat on for a decade till someone else did it first. Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.

I love how he is not necessarily style restrictive even in this case he is all for just producing it.

Joss Whedon at the premiere of Serenity (film)
Image via Wikipedia

Bonus Goodies

We all know that Dr. Horrible was a result of, and a metaphor for, the writer's strike. He even says, at one point, that he wants to "put the power in different hands." But things didn't turn out so well for Billy in the end. How did the tragic ending relate to the writers-strike metaphor, or did the metaphor not extend that far? — Jonathan We didn't write it as a metaphor — we just wanted Penny to have an agenda besides being torn between two men, and Billy's perspective is the classic cry of the noble villain. But this is a story that's been relevant for a long while — like, since there's been power. And people hoarding/abusing it. Wonder Woman brought up similar issues, which may be part of why it wasn't made.

Do you watch the movies/television shows the cast members from Buffy, Angel, or Firefly star in? Any favorite works of the cast members in particular? — Daniel Dude, Summer Glau is a Terminator. Summer Glau is a Terminator! My work on Earth is done.

And Castle [the new show starring Nathan Fillion] looks fun.

this is a hilarious answer, I had the same thought about Summer Glau… She Rocks!!! if only the show was any good.

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Speculative Fiction Movies Dominate top 25

Get your copy of The Dark Knight on DVD and help support the project IMDB presented their top 25 searched for films of 2008.  They wanted to go for a ranking that was not based on box-office performance or critical assessments.  I was pleasantly surprised to see how many speculative fiction movies were on the list.

  1. The Dark Knight (2008)
  2. Twilight (2008)
  3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
  4. TR2N (2011) Tron 2, I still don’t really care for the name
  5. The Expendables (2010)
  6. Iron Man (2008)
  7. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
  8. No Country for Old Men (2007)
  9. Juno (2007)
  10. Transformers (2007)
  11. The Incredible Hulk (2008)
  12. There Will Be Blood (2007)
  13. Sex and the City (2008)
  14. Into the Wild (2007)
  15. Superbad (2008)
  16. Cloverfield (2008)
  17. Terminator Salvation (2009)
  18. Wanted (2008)
  19. Dragonball (2009)
  20. Quantum of Solace (2008)
  21. The Departed (2006)
  22. Star Trek (2009) This is J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek
  23. The Godfather (1972)
  24. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  25. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

SF moves took up 60% of the chart with only 1/3 of those movies being ones that have not been released yet.

I find these search reports to be fascinating like a snap shot of what is on peoples minds and what they are curious about.

(via IMDB)

Randal Graves and the Empire Top 100

randaltop100 Randal Graves from Kevin Smith’s brilliant film Clerks has is number 92 on Empire’s Top 100 Greatest Movie Characters.

Why He's On The List: Randal is the voice of countless generations - anyone who's had a shitty customer service job in their early twenties will understand his attitude, wishing they could have articulated their frustration with his artful profanity and supreme disregard for, well, anything. But the key to Randal is that he doesn't necessarily hate his job, it's just that he remembers not to care (Empire).

Also on the List:

It is great to see how many Speculative Fiction characters make the list, especially in the top 10.  It makes me wonder if we should make our own list.

(via News Askew)

Sneak Peek at Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

I went to Yahoo on Saturday and watched the season primer of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, or so I was lead to believe. Fox announced that they were releasing the primer a week early for 24 hours through the Yahoo player. Before getting into reviewing what I saw, I thought that I should take some time talking about the yahoo event. The primer was only 43 minutes long and appeared to be an abridged version of what we can expect for Fox 2 night primer on Sunday January 13th at 8pm est and Monday 14th at 9pm est. There were several instances during the sneak peek where the show seemed to fast forward and skip ahead leaving out conversations like the explanation of what type of robot Cameron (played by Summer Glau) is since she was displaying some traits that were non-characteristic of a terminator robot. Although I appreciate fox for giving us an early preview of the primer I wished that they would have been up front with the fact that it was an abridged version and not promote it as the primer.

The tale picks up 2 years after Terminator 2 with Sarah and John Connor still on the run. They haven't seen any sign of another terminator robot but they still must stay hidden from the government. This is because Sarah is seen by the government as an escaped mental patient who assassinated a promising robotics scientist blew up Skynet Labs and killed many police officers. The police and a new terminator robot find them. They have to run with the help of a new bodyguard robot Cameron and figure out why the robots are back. They did a great job on the primer. I found it entertaining and fun to watch and would recommend everyone to check out the actual primer on Sunday and Monday you will not be disappointed.

Top 5 Likes

  1. Picked up after T2: The story line picked up two years after terminator two allowing fans of the Terminator series to joyfully forget that T3 ever happened and maintaining continuity. This includes Sarah's confusion over why their efforts in T2 did not stop Skynet from being built.
  2. The Acting and Directing was well done: One particular point that really stuck out was when the Terminator robot enters the room posing as a human. The acting was so well done that mannerism was that of a robot and not human.
  3. Summer Glau was just awesome. For those who are eagerly awaiting the naked time travel cameo like Arnold's in T2 well... you just have to watch and see.
  4. The show was entertaining, fun and exciting
  5. They put in explanations for continuity stuff without slowing or stopping the flow of the story. A good example of this is at one point Sarah Connor ducks behind a reclining chair to avoid being shot by the terminator robot who fired multiple rounds into the chair, rounds that should have cut through the chair and into Sarah but they didn't. Latter when the police are investigating the scene they drop in conversation that the chair had kevlar stuffed into it, this took a fraction of a second and the story moved on but I was also happy because my mind didn't dwell on the improbability of a chair stopping bullets.

Top 4 Concerns / Dislikes

  1. The Series could easily become formulaic (concern).
  2. The Series could easily loose it's tension (concern). The writers have to strike a balance between attack and retreat from the robots if they allow the show to become all one or the other it would become boring and any tension would get lost as the audience would grow numb to their plight.
  3. Weird fast forward parts
  4. Streaming issues: lockups, interruption, and stuttering (typical streaming experience)

Terminator TV

I have no interest in this...

Thomas Dekker (NBC's Heroes) is set to play John Connor in Fox's SF drama pilot The Sarah Connor Chronicles, based on the Terminator film franchise, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Dekker, who plays Claire's friend Zach on Heroes, will join Lena Headey in the title role. Sarah was played by Linda Hamilton in the films; John was played by Edward Furlong in 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day and by Nick Stahl in 2003's Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

The action of The Sarah Connor Chronicles takes place after the events depicted in Terminator 2 and follows Sarah, a modern warrior and loving single mom to 15-year-old son John (Sci Fi Wire).

I love the first 2 Terminator films.  Ages ago, my uncle Jean and cousin Jeff rented a VCR so we could the first Terminator movie on Video Tape and my grandparents home.  It was the first movie I ever watched on tape.  My first real love and I saw the second one in the theater.  I love them both.  The third one could not happen, plus I heard nothing good about it, so I never watched it... Now they are making a series...

I am more likely to try out the series than I ever am to see the third movie, but I must admit, I would rather see more Firefly...