Theater or Renter: March 2010

Theater or Renter: March includes three SF movies Alice in Wonderland, Repo Men, and How to Train Your Dragon.  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?

Alice in Wonderland:

Release Date:  MARCH 5th

Listed as:  Fantasy

Studio:  Walt Disney Pictures

Director: Tim Burton

Music by:     Danny Elfman

Produced by:  Richard D. Zanuck, Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd

Written by:  Linda Woolverton

Stars:  Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover, Michael Sheen, Stephen Fry

The Plot / Story: This movie is a continuation of Alice’s adventures picking up 10 years after she has left Wonderland and forgotten the earlier visit.  She returns and learns that she must help the inhabitants to slay the Jabberwocky, the dragon who terrorizes the inhabitants of Wonderland under the rule of the Red Queen. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Comment:  Under Tim Burton’s direction I expect Alice in Wonderland to be a dark and strange trip down the rabbit hole.  The music should also be very good under Danny Elfman's direction.  The cast involved in the project is stellar though there is concern over Jonny Depp’s Mad Hatter coming across more like his Captain Jack character.  The problem I've had so far is how some of the characters look from the posters and trailers, especially the Cheshire Cat who is my favorite character.  I expect some of this is due to Disney's push to make this a 3D movie.  The pros outweigh the con's so Alice in Wonderland is still a theater for me.

Repo Men:

Release Date: MARCH 19th

Listed as:  science fiction, action, thriller

Studio:  Universal Pictures

Director:  Miguel Sapochnik

Produced by:  Scott Stuber

Written by:  Eric Garcia, Garrett Lerner

Stars:  Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schrieber, Alice Braga, Carice van Houten, Chandler Canterbury

The Plot / Story: In a future where artificial organs are readily available for purchase, just don’t default or they will repo them.  One of the best repo men finds himself outfitted with a new heart, then forced to go on the run when he falls on hard financial times.  Based on a novel by Eric Garcia of the same name. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Comment:  The what if sets this movie in a world that I don't want any part of and believe we would never have, though with our nation moving towards fascism it may not be as far off.  It also fails to be pitch it's self as a warning tale.  The trailer bored me.  I like Jude Law and Forest Whitaker but it's just not enough putting Repo Men into the Not Interested category.

Update: I still hold fast to my opinion about Repo Men but Bob the Elementalist, Eric and I did get into a fun conversation on genetic manipulation during witch we realized there could, with our current laws, be a situation where the genetic additions to a person would be copy written by the corporation and they could end up repossessing those additions.

How to Train Your Dragon:

Release Date:  MARCH 26th

Listed as:  Fantasy

Studio:  DreamWorks Animation

Director:  Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois

Produced by:  Bonnie Arnold, Michael Connolly, Tim Johnson

Written by:  Adam F. Goldberg, Peter Tolan, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders

Stars:  Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Gerard Butler, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson

The Plot / Story: Young Viking Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third is sent to the Isle of Berk in the North Sea, where he is to subdue a dragon as a rite of passage.  Based on the book How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell.  (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Comment:  The movie has an interesting premise but I'm concerned that it may be too kidsy and not a family movie.  I'm still having difficulty with the look of the dragons which I hope will be fixed once I'm fully into the movie and watching it on a big screen rather then just getting little glimpses from a trailer.   How to Train Your Dragon is still on the fence between theater and renter though I'm now leaning towards theater.

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How to Train Your Dragon Trailer

The trailer is out for How to Train Your Dragon, watch it above.

How to Train Your Dragon is a movie based on the book of the same name.  It has an interesting premise but looks like it may be too kidsy and not a family movie. Dragons are also hard to visually capture well and so far from this trailer I'm not too excited.

Let me know what you think:  Are you excited to see this movie?  What do you think about the look of the Dragon?

Plot / Story:  Young Viking Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third is sent to the Isle of Berk in the North Sea, where he is to subdue a dragon as a rite of passage.

DVD Releases: March 31st, 2009

Cthulhu-movie Out this week we have eight DVD’s to feature: Cthulhu, The Real Ghostbusters, Vol 1Dragonquest, Vampire Secrets, National Geographic: Journey to the Edge of the Universe, Ogre, and two Goosebumps: The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, Return of the Mummy

  • Cthulhu:  I can’t wait to watch this movie.  I’m a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft and wanted to watch this independent movie when it was in the theaters but due to it’s limited release I was unable to watch it.  For more read here.
  • The Real Ghostbusters, Vol 1: OMG we were just talking about this show on the Project: Shadow Informant.  I loved this as a kid.  I’m so excited to see it out.
  • Dragonquest: I have not seen this one but it does have dragons in it for our fantasy fans.  If you have seen this let me know in the comments if I should rent it.
  • Vampire Secrets: A History Channel exploration into Hollywood’s vampires including a look at the origin of several common superstitions and reveals the connection between the ancient vampire myths of Europe, Greece and China.  I haven’t seen this show but I like most of the History channel’s exploration specials.
  • National Geographic: Journey to the Edge of the Universe: I love these shows the imagery of stellar objects are always breathtaking.  Go on a voyage through the cosmos, beginning on Earth and traveling outward through the solar system and the Milky Way, past distant galaxies and to the very limits of the universe. Images from the Hubble telescope and innovative computer graphics make possible the single, long traveling shot that comprises this journey, and unobtrusive narration explains the sights along the way.
  • Ogre: Yet another bad monster flick from the Sci-Fi channel.  Not having watched this one yet I wonder if it’s just bad or if it passes into the realms of a craptastic B movie.  If you have watched this let me know in the comments.
  • the-real-ghostbusters For the Parents: two Goosebumps movies out this week for the young viewers.
    • Goosebumps: The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight: This collection of spooky tales:  In the title story, Jodie and Mark witness strange goings-on at their grandparents' farm. In "Don't Go to Sleep," Matt wakes up to find a family that he almost doesn't recognize. And in "Calling All Creeps," Ricky is paying the price for posting a mean girl's phone number in a personal ad.
    • Goosebumps: Return of the Mummy: A trio of spine-chilling adventures:  Gabe encounters an unhappily disturbed mummy while visiting his archaeologist uncle in Egypt in "Return of the Mummy." Next, Jeff gets a surprise when he receives a sarcophagus containing a 4,000-year-old mummy from his father. Finally, Eddie and Hat's plan to scare a boastful pal doesn't turn out the way they plan.

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The Fan Spectrum

February last year, I posted for the first time about the Three Types of SF Fans.  Reactions were mixed.  I have thought about it a lot, and I have realized that their are not really three types of SF fans, these are actually parts of a spectrum.

Fans of the Spectacle

Fans who are interested in action and special effects, typically of Space Opera, Disaster/Monster/Action Movies, usually watches movies, some series, rarely reads the books.

These fans are on the coldest end of the spectrum.  They are only interested in being entertained, and simply do not think too much about what they are watching.  Think about your friends who thought the Matrix was just a great action movie with cool special effects.  You know the ones who didn't see all the questions about the nature of reality and how we perceive it.  They are fans of spectacle.

The studios have geared their films more towards this type of fan because there are more of them and they are easier to please.

Admit it though, we all started here.  We may have been young, but each and every one of us first got into Speculative Fiction be we enjoyed the spectacle.  For me, it was dragons and vampires.

This is the first stage of development of every fan.  Our job is to move more people into the second and third phase.

Fans of the Specifics

Tom Cruise as Lestat in the 1994 film Intervie...
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Fans who are interested in the nitty-gritty details and their accuracy or consistency.Typically of Hard Scifi, Military Scifi, and High Fantasy, usually reads the books, watches the series, and nit-picks the movies

For many Scifi fans, this shift happened with Star Trek or Star Wars.  For Fantasy Fans, it is usually Lord of the Rings, and for Horror Fans it was either The Vampire Chronicles or Mayfair Witches by Anne Rice or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Many fan bases stagnate here and die off.  The Studios have started blaming continuity and consistency for their financial short comings, thus the spate of remakes, reboots, and the dread re-imaginings that crop up every year.

Yes, it is easier to write a story when you don't have to worry about consistency or continuity, but they are not better stories.  They are just different.

To move a fan from Spectacle to Specifics, find something in a setting or character they like, and talk to them about it.  Encourage them to grow in their fascination, and soon they will delve into the setting more fully, and the spectral shift will happen.

Fans of the Story

Fans who are interested in the story, the characters, and Typically Soft Scifi and Sociological Fantasy, usually reads or watches the series, and watches the movies.

For Fans of the Specifics, the changes George Lucas made to the original Star Wars Trilogy and the prequels went too far.  Fans of the Story were able to see how these changes improved and tightened the narrative.

Fans of the Story are few in numbers, but they are the heart blood of fandom.  They write/perform the filk, the fan fiction, and fanfilms.  They make the fan art, run the conventions, and strive to keep SF on the straight and narrow.

It isn't easy to move from being a fan of Specifics to a fan of Story.  For this shift to happen, the fan has to see the complete series as a seamless whole.  They have to learn how to see past the trees to the forest.  There is no easy way to happen or to bring this about.

When it does happen, it is like magic.  Most of us have had this shift happen for at least one franchise.  Think about the one series that is closest to your heart.  The one you seek out every little tidbit of information about.  For that story, you are a fan of the Story.

Spectral Shift

It is not easy to ask people to make these shifts, or to help other move through the spectrum, but it is vital if fan culture has any chance of surviving.  So for the next thirty days:

  • Introduce your friends to filk.
  • Have a movie night at your house and show a fanfilm.
  • Start a role playing group and uses your favorite setting.
  • Start having friends over to watch your favorite shows.
  • Help just one person find a new series, book, or movie that they will fall head or heels in love with.

If we all do our part, fandom has a long and beautifyl future.

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Del Toro and the Hobbit

guillermo-del-toro_hobbit As I wait for Guillermo del Toro to finish writing and directing the Hobbit film, I cannot help but scrutinize every word that he says.

Have you brought up the possibility of Viggo Mortensen reprising the role of Aragorn in The Hobbit?

Del Toro: You know, when the time comes. I hope New Line buys lunch.

Have you made any casting decisions?

Del Toro: Not yet. Just the ones that have been announced [Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum]. There's not lack of information. It's not withholding. We really don't have more information, because we're writing. And literally, like every week, what you discover writing the two movies, writing the two stories, it changes. So every week there's a discovery, and anything we say this week would be contradicted next week. Certainly that would be true in casting. Why create hopes or why create expectations if down the line you're going to go, "You know what? That was not a good idea." So we won't cast it until we finish writing (Scifi Wire).

I love that he is not wanting to get our hopes up only to dash them.  I wish he would have given more information about what will be in each movie, and I assume that is what he is talking about when he says that it changes every day.

I cannot help but wonder how much of the story is being shaped by what he perceives as the limitations of the medium, or the cost of doing some of the scenes.  There is one character he has given a lot of thought too.

smaug How are you going to do Smaug the dragon in The Hobbit?

Del Toro: Smaug is THE creature in The Hobbit. The way Tolkien wrote it already is magnificent. It's already a fantastic character. So, obviously, dragons, you ask every person what their best favorite dragon is, they will give you a different answer. In my mind, what we're going to attempt on the design of this creature and the creation of this creature needs to push the envelope beyond anything you've ever seen on that kind of creature.

That's a lot to overcome.

Del Toro: Yes and no. Yes and no, because, normally, the creature, there is some stuff that has been done with dragons that I find there are very few landmarks created for me. One of the best, one of the strongest landmarks that almost nobody can overcome is Dragonslayer. The design of the Vermithrax Pejorative is perhaps one of the most perfect creature designs ever made. So what you have to be careful is not to try to be distinctive just to be distinctive, but Smaug has certain characteristics that make him unique already. I cannot. I am bursting at the seams about spilling the beans, but I won't, because I would be shot. ... (Scifi Wire)

Smaug is the Achilles’ Heel of the movie.  The Wyverns in the Lord of the Rings movies looked a little strange, and as a fan of dragons and dragon-kin, they really let me down.  Smaug plays a pivotal role in the book, and should also in the movie.  I pray to Eru Ilúvatar they do not mess it up.

Dragon that Sing your Songs

dragons I have no idea how these speakers sound, but for $940 they better sound like the band is in the room with me. Other than the outrageous price and fact that they are made out of plastic... I think I kinda want these.

I am a huge fan of dragons, and I would love to replace some of the more boring appliances around my house with stone dragon substitutes, but first, they need to make them out of something other than plastic, and then lower the price. They are cool looking though.

(via Crave)

Dark Wave Industrial- DRAGONS

m_458d54e456f1cba629010a769cf04138 I am always looking for new dark wave music to add to my collection, and I am glad that I get so many recommendations.  I am very picky about the bands I listen too.  Today, I was turned on a Bristol band called Dragons.  I went to their MySpace to check them out, and I was excited by the tunes they have on their profile.

Here are the Roses

Opens like a Depeche Mode song, following many of the dark wave conventions that we have come to know and love, but the song continues into a more spacious sound reminiscent of early Mission albums.  The galloping drum is to tapping, Anthony Tombling's voice transitions beautifully from a cold dryness into to a full throated cry on the choruses.  A nice tune, hauntingly bleak, yet beautiful.


Danceable rock somewhere between Iggy Pop and a subdued Rosette Stone.  The song continues to build into a fete of guitars and drums.  A song for the clubs.

Lonely Nights

The song begins is a scratchy echo that reminds me of many Bauhaus classics, while the choruses have a more melodic character of the the best death and goth rock.  The guitar work is emotional.  The lyrics on this song more cliche, bordering on emo compared to the bleakness of the other tunes.

Where is the love

The eerie goth blue bar sound of early Fields of the Nephilim, drone under Anothy's solid voice.  The gothic appeal of this song is solid.  I can definitely see this tune on a listen by candlelight playlist.  This is probably my favorite of the sample songs they made available.



They have four albums:

  1. Here are the Roses (Album)
  2. Lonely Tonight (EP)
  3. Here are the Roses (EP)
  4. Condition (EP)

All of their albums are available through iTunes Plus without DRM (get them here Dragons )  And their EPs Here are the Roses (EP) and  Condition (EP) are also available on eMusic.

Check them out on the net at their Website and MySpace Profile

Get 25 FREE iPod® compatible downloads from eMusic! Choose from over 2.8 Million songs!