Friday, July 29, 2011

Alien Nation

Directed by JON FAVREAU

Let it be known that I love westerns.  As is evident in this blog, I also love science fiction.  So I should enjoy the mashup of the two genres right?  Surprisingly, not in this instance.  Cowboys & Aliens may be unique and cleverly titled, but disappointingly, Cowboys & Aliens is a popcorn flick at best.  Cowboys & Aliens is somewhat entertaining and a complete visual spectacle, but it has little substance.  These days if it has anything to do with aliens, Steven Spielberg is associated with it.  Cowboys & Aliens is no exception.  Produced by Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard, and directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Cowboys & Aliens is loosely based on the 2006 graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg.  Regrettably, the film took the graphic novel's concept and left the comic book on the writing room floor.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More of The Walking Dead Season 2

Catch an extended scene of Season 2 of The Walking Dead.  The 2nd season picks up immediately after the 1st season finale, after the destruction of the CDC in Atlanta.  The only problem I have with this series is that it's too short-- a mere 13 episodes long.  The Walking Dead returns to AMC on October 16th.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Terra Nova - Trailer

Terra Nova is Fox's new scifi series, premiering September 26.  Admittedly, I have some trepidation when a new scifi show premieres on Fox.  Fox is well-known for the early cancellation of Firefly and The Sarah Connor Chronicles--two great shows.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Supernatural Season 7 - Sneak Peak

Great news!  Jewel Staite will be guest starring on Supernatural in October.  The sneak peak debuted at Comic Con this past week.  It looks like one fan secretly recorded the 2 minute preview on a handheld device.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Doctor Who - Fall Preview!

The Doctor Who Fall preview is here and it looks like a million bucks: weeping angels, Cybermen, River Song, Amy as a samurai, etc.  I can't wait for the good Doctor's return.  The remaining episodes of Season 6 return August 27th.  Another piece of great news--Matt Smith and Karen Gillan have signed on for the 7th season.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cap'n Crunch

Directed by JOE JOHNSTON

Let there be no doubt, Captain America: The First Avenger is a good movie.  It’s miles away from the action-deprived Thor and the cgi-laden Green Lantern.  Captain America falls in the range of the crisply cool X-Men: First Class.  Captain America had the potential to be a great comic book movie, similar to the Dark Knight franchise, but it fell short.  Captain America started great, stalled in the middle, and ended well.  I hasten to say this, but one of the great things about Captain America was Chris Evans.  I was one of the naysayers about Evans because I didn’t think it appropriate for Evans, who played Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four, to star as another Marvel hero, Captain America.  That said, Chris Evans pulled it off.  Evans’ performance in the dual role of Steve Rogers and Captain America is what gave the film it’s heart and subtlety. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Paranormal Insanity

Since 'Paranormal Activity's' debut two years ago, Oren Peli has quickly emerged as a nuevo master of horror. He's also the guy behind this year's sleeper hit, Insidious.  In the short time Peli has been on the scene, his films have developed a signature: no frills, no music, little gore--just pure psychological horror.  The previous paranormal films have been roller coaster-like.  They start out slow, calm, and for a good portion of the film nothing happens, but when stuff does happen, hold on to your fuzzy britches, because you're in for a rough ride.  Some may not like his subdued style, but this man has given the horror genre it's groove back.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Walking Dead Season 2 Teaser

The Walking Dead returns this October, which will not be in time to 'liven' up the ultra-boring summer tv schedule.  The most boring of which is Falling Skies.  The other snooze-fest is Alphas.  However, I'm willing to give both of these shows a chance to prove me wrong...but I don't think I'm wrong.  I have a pretty good barometer for bad television.  I've watched Falling Skies since it's premiere and it puts me to sleep faster than reading War & Peace, while drinking hot chocolate, while listening to my cat purr.  Perhaps if we had seen the actual alien invasion take place it would have been more interesting.  Alas, I don't think they have the budget for that.  But how can you go wrong with alien invasion?  Evidently, you can.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Dark Knight Rises Trailer

Via DC Comics
The teaser trailer for the last film in the critically acclaimed Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises, debuted last Friday before 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2.'  'The Dark Knight Rises' will be Christopher Nolan's last time in the director chair for the caped crusader and Christian Bale's last appearance as Bruce Wayne/Batman.  You may notice some familiar faces from Nolan's last film, 'Inception,' most notably, a very buff Tom Hardy as the unstoppable Bane.  Gary Oldman, Michael Cain, and Morgan Freeman return to their respective roles.  Anne Hathaway joins the cast as the captivating Selena Kyle/Catwoman and Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Leviit round out the cast.   

The Dark Knight Rises releases July 20, 2012. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ugh This Makes Me Sick

These greedy, greedy little studios continue to take classic doses of 80's cheese and turn them into angsty, post-Twilight, teenage, crap.  It's so bad that I haven't even heard of this tripe until today.  I typically have my ear to the ground for movies...all movies.  It's the The Howling Reborn.  See the trailer if you dare.

Carter Who?

The long-awaited trailer for John Carter of Mars (now just called John Carter) is finally here.  Taylor Kitsch (of X-Men Origins: Wolverine) stars as the title character and Lynn Collins (also of X-Men Origins) stars as Dejah Thoris, the Princess of Helium.  The rest of the cast include more familiar faces, such as Willem Dafoe, James Purefoy, Dominic West, Bryan Cranston, and Ciaran Hinds. John Carter is a confederate civil war veteran prospecting in the old west when he is mysteriously transported to Mars. While on Mars, Carter discovers an Avatar-like planet with 12-foot tall "green" inhabitants and the beautiful Princess of Helium, Dejah.  John Carter is based on the legendary science fiction anthology, the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs is best known for the creation of Tarzan.  

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Contagion Preview

Contagion is the new action-thriller by Steven Soderbergh with an all-star cast, starring Matt Damon, Gweneth Paltrow, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Bryan Cranston, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburne, Elliot Gould, and Sanna Lathan.  Contagion is about the outbreak of a deadly mutating virus and the worldwide pandemonium that follows.  The movie is centered around a team of doctors working with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to contain the outbreak.  It seems to be a better version of the 90's film Outbreak, sans the Dustin Hoffman euphemisms.  Contagion is set for wide release September 9th.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leave it Gus Van Sant

Leave it to Gus Van Sant to make Restless.  Restless is a movie about a terminally ill girl Annabel (Mia Wasikowska of Alice in Wonderland); Enoch, a boy who enjoys funerals  (Henry Hopper and son of the late Dennis Hopper); and Hiroshi, a ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot from WWII (Ryo Kase of Letters of Iwo Jima).  The film reminds me a of Harold and Maude from the 1970s, which was morbidly sentimental, in an interesting way.
Van Sant is well-known for his unconventional style and quirky characters.  His best known films are Milk, ElephantGood Will Hunting, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, My Own Private Idaho, etc.  Van Sant is one of those directors who people either really like or really hate.

Restless is set for wide release September 16, 2011.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eureka Season 4.5 Premiere

Season 4.5 of Eureka lifted off last night with a continuation of last week's space theme.  I hope all my fellow science fiction enthusiasts watched the shuttle takeoff last week. 

Fargo (Neil Grayston) and Zane (Niall Matter) accidentally lock themselves in an old Mercury-era space ship and blast off into space, luckily (or unluckily) with a newly developed FTL (faster than light) drive.  I guess the FTL drive is not unique to Battlestar Galactica.  This episode actually has several very funny bits, particularly when they pass the International Space Station.  Unlike most science fiction (at least the science fiction that I watch), Eureka is light and airy fun.  Anyone who's read any portion of my blog knows that I don't do comedies, but every now and then light and airy (sci-fi) is exactly what the doctor orders.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another Earth

Another Earth is the new sci-fi independent film about the discovery of a mirror earth. The discovery just so happens to coincide with a deadly car crash involving MIT business student, Rhoda Williams (Brit Marling) and a family in a minivan.  Rhoda is sent to prison for several years and upon her return there is an essay contest for a civilian to board the shuttle to the parallel earth.  Rhoda has her mind set on winning this contest so she can see the life her alternate self has led.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ward of The State

John Carpenter hasn't directed a film in 10 years.  Thus, I was super excited to see him back in the director's chair.  His new film The Ward is set for wide release this weekend and it was previously given an early release OnDemand.  The Ward is about a young woman, Kristin (Amber Heard), sent to the loony bin for arson in 1966.  As this is set in 1966, electric shock and lobotomies were common place.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Torchwood Season 4 Debuts on Starz

After a two-year hiatus, Torchwood returns.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, it's moved from the BBC to the premium cable channel Starz.  As I am writing this, you can surmise that I've since been "forced" into purchasing Starz until Torchwood's season concludes.  I'm not particularly fond of Starz, but Torchwood was too good of a show to pass up and last night's episode proved no exception.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Conan The... Abercrombie & Fitch Model

It's 2011, what's one more remake.  At this point, movie fans should surrender to the fact that there are very few original ideas in Hollywood anymore, save Christopher Nolan.  This brings us to the new remake, Conan The Barbarian.  Jason Momoa (of Stargate Atlantis and most recently of Game of Thrones) is the new Conan.  Needless to say, there is a lot of physicality required for the role and Arnold Schwarzenegger left big shoes to fill.  Thankfully, Jason appears to be up to the challenge.  However, whether or not he can deliver on the acting remains to be seen.  That said, Schwarzenegger wasn't exactly known for his acting ability in the first Conan films.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Iron Little Pill

I preface this by saying that I enjoy period pieces and I particularly enjoy films set in the Middle Ages.  What I have a hard time with are period pieces set in the Middle Ages with rock music in the trailer...and starring Megan Fox.  Thankfully Megan Fox had the good sense to drop out of the film.  Surely that decision benefitted her and the movie.  Kate Mara replaced her.  It's one thing to be remiss of Megan's absence in Transformers 3, it's another thing to see her don 13th century garb.  Sorry, but it's true.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Killer Elite is the new action thriller with a killer lineup, starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert DeNiro.   It's rare, but enjoyable, to see multiple A-list actors in one film.  The film is based on the 1991 novel, The Feather Men by Ranulph Fiennes.  The Feather Men is about a series of assassinations of members of Britain's elite Special Air Service (SAS) by a group of hit men called The Clinic.  In order to protect themselves and avenge their fallen comrades, the remaining squad members come together.

Monday, July 4, 2011

5 Days of Explosions

I preface this post by saying that I'm not a Renny Harlin fan, but I like some of Harlin's films.  I feel inclined to admit that The Long Kiss Goodnight and Die Hard II are a few of my guilty pleasures.  Both films contain ample amounts of 90's cheese, but are still fun to watch.  I also have a soft spot for Deep Blue Sea, which is one of Harlin's better films.  Harlin's latest film, "5 Days of War," is about war correspondents covering the Georgian conflict in 2008.

Free Fall - Part 2

After seeing the preview for The Fall, directed by Tarsem, I netflixed it.  I don't know how this film slipped past my radar, but I'm sad I didn't see it in the theaters.  I can only imagine how intoxicating it would have been to see on the big screen.  The film is sublime--a feast for the eyes.  Filmed in 28 different countries over a four year period, the visuals are stunning and the storyline is equally grand.  The Fall is a striking fantastical film in the tradition of Pan's Labyrinth (although Pan's Labyrinth is much, much darker).  The soundtrack is equally lavish with Beetoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, II. Allegretto.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I've been looking forward to this one since early spring.  Apollo 18 is the creepy new science fiction thriller set where else, but the moon.  Think Blair Witch Project meets the moon landing.  Blair Witch-like films are as stale as month-old bread, but the moon landing adds a new twist.  From the preview, the film reminds me a little of The Descent, which was one of the best horror films of the last decade.  Closed confined spaces (), no where to run (), no way out (), little breathable air ().  A true horror film at it's best.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Frighteningly Silly

I'm not surprised, however, I'm still somewhat disappointed with the new Fright Night trailer.  The remake (yes another remake) was a long shot, but the differences are stark.  The original film's Jerry Dandrige was an ultra-elegant, centuries-old vampire, creepily played by Chris Sarandon.  Chris Sarandon scares me without the vampire makeup.  In the remake Jerry is played by Collin Farrell and they all "live" in Disturbia or what appears to be a Las Vegas surburb.  If only Shia LaBeouf were here it would be a perfect storm.
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