Friday, May 29, 2009
“Summer, summer, summertime; time to sit back and unwind.” – Will Smith
I’m a movie geek and prone to enjoy the stuffing out of the summer movie season. Hey, who doesn’t enjoy sampling the wares from the major studios in the summer? So far, for my money, “Star Trek” is on track to be the 900 lbs. Gorilla this season.
“Well, if that’s the case, Evil Chicken, what else is there to look forward to at the movies this year?”
Funny you ask, Gentle Reader. Please allow me to let you in on what I’m looking forward to checking out at the local multiplex this summer:
1. “Up” from Pixar. If I could write for any company Pixar would be the one. They care for character and they make certain that the story is served. I have yet to see a Pixar film that I did not like.
2. “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”. This is Heath Ledger’s last film and it comes from Terry Gilliam. Gilliam has a way of using the medium of film and twisting it into amazing and thoughtful entertainments; check out “Time Bandits”, “Brazil”, or “The Twelve Monkeys”. Amazing filmmaker. I can’t wait.
3. “Drag Me to Hell”. Sam Rami made a new horror movie. Please allow me to repeat that… SAM RAMI made a new horror movie. If you are a fan of the genre then you know the name. Rami is best known for the “Evil Dead” series and, of course, the “Spiderman” movies. “Hail to the king, Baby.”
4. “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince”. Yes, I am a Potter-Head. This is a dark one. This sets up the finale to the entire series. It’s a great read and I bet it’s gonna be a great movie.
5. “Land of the Lost”. Make no mistake this will be stupid. It will be a goofy movie but it will also make me giggle and it will spark gushing waves of nostalgia. It will entertain and that’s one of the main reasons that I go the movies for anyway.
What are movies that I may see at the theater that I could wait for DVD:
1. “Transformers 2”. It will be a special effects movie that will sell a lot of popcorn. It will probably be best seen on the big screen but it’s not “must see” for me.
2. “Terminator Salvation”. I’d like to see this more than Transformers but I still have not made it to the theater.
3. “Night at the Musem II”. Eh.
4. “Inglorious Basterds” (with and “E”). Brad Pitt and Quinton Tarantino kicking Nazi butt? Sign me up. I would have put this one in the “Must See” section but after seeing all those movies.
5. “District 9”. Alien rights after their arrival? A plot for Alien slave labor? It sounds very cool. I’ll have to read some more spin on it before I take the plunge.
6. “Public Enemies”. This may easily slip into the “Must See” section. Johnny Depp as John Dillinger? Nice. We shall see.
Movies that I will wait for basic cable or the “Late, Late, Movie”... maybe.
1. “G.I. Joe”. As Randy says, “I’m not feelin’ it Dog.” This reminds me of a movie in the eighties called, “Megaforce”. That was an abomination of a movie designed to sell toys and exploit the masses much like this one. Don’t play into the MAN’S hands! Just say no.
So there you have it; the movies that I am interested in seeing – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What’s on YOUR list?
It is no great secret; I am a Jimmy Buffett fan. Listening to his music for any length of time and one gets the urge to move to warmer climates and expatriate to places that are full of characters and character. Gentle Reader, I must be honest with you, expatriation has been on my mind as of late. I have been bitten by the bug that transfers the longing for the Gypsy lifestyle. As Keith Richards sang on one of my absolute favorite Rolling Stones songs from the “Some Girls” album (yes, that’s right, I said ALBUM), “I Will Walk Before They Make Me Run.” Tom Waits exemplifies the concept of life on the road (I’m listening to him now on YouTube).
Let’s face it, there is just something romantic about the open road. Anything is possible there, anything goes. This is a great country to, “go on the bum”, so to speak but there are other wonderful possible options that have been slipping into my daydreams as of late including but not limited to; British Columbia, Key West, Southern Utah, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the South of France, Ireland, Italy – these are all spots that I could see transplanting my family and myself.
“But WHY, Evil Chicken?” you may ask. “Why would you wish to do such a thing?”
Well therein lies a very good question which I shall answer partially. Why not? It is no great revelation that life is entirely too short. I know that the good Lord is on the thrown but still it is important to make hay while the sun shines. So I dream. I dream of places far off away from the cares of life in the great Garden State. I have always dreamt of making some sort of a difference but just who is to say that that difference could not be made somewhere so very, very far away from here?
Hmm… Somehow I find this appealing.
Perhaps I should consider some of the nations that some of the readers of this blog call home? There are not many of us but we are mighty, Gentle Readers. Let’s look at where you are from to feed my dreams of expatriation… Number 1 (according to my widget) is the U.S. of A. Most of the readers here are from my homeland. That’s not too surprising since I am an American and, dare I say, proud of that distinction. Number 2 is Canada. Oh Canada, I could easily see myself settling down in your bosom. Number 3 is the United Kingdom. Yes. You and I would have a time, wouldn’t we? Number 4 is Unknown. Unknown? I suppose that the Unknown are the Gentle Readers who have, for whatever reason, have had to hide their location. I’m ok with that; truth be told, I’m a little envious. Know that I am pleased and glad to have you here. Number 5 is Spain; Number 6 is France – welcome my brethren know that I would expatriate to either of your boarders. Number 7 is Taiwan. Number 8 is Mexico, number 9 is Turkey and number 10 is Germany. 11 is New Zealand, 12 Finland, and 13 Hong Kong. You are all dispersed over this great blue marble, Gentle Readers. I’m just thankful to have you here for a brief moment in time; a moment when you decided to kick back, relax and listen to the non-sense that you will find here most of the time.
Wherever you call home, Gentle Reader, thank you for stopping by. Who is to say, perhaps one day we will be neighbors? Rest assured I will be dreaming of it and one never knows.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
So I’m mowing the lawn – an abhorrent activity that sucks away about an hour and a half – two hours of my life on a laborious and weekly basis this time of year, and I notice out of the corner of my eye Mother Hen. She was wandering in my direction when the engine stalled. The stalling of the engine is nothing new in the weekly sentence of cutting the grass but having Mother Hen outside while I am mowing the lawn is.
“Would you be interested in teaching a class on Star Trek?” she asked.
“Yeah, you heard me. The college is hosting summer camp classes. They are looking for a Pokemon instructor and someone to teach a class on Star Trek. Would you be interested?”
“Sure!” I said with a smile. “How cool is that?”
“Yeah, I thought you’d like that.” She said with a smile and she went back inside leaving me to tend to the rest of the greens. I primed the engine and started the mower once again – now my thoughts were on the class and all of the wonderful possibilities that it presents instead of the lawn; and I was all right with that.
And that’s how it happened, Gentle Reader; that is how yours truly became the instructor for the summer course on STAR TREK! Let me just say, I can’t wait. I am going to be sharing one of my passions with others, getting paid for it, and, my youngest daughter, Chicken Little (Chick 3.0), can take the course for free! I still don’t know how many kids will be in the class but I’m really excited about getting underway. When its over I want the kids to know what to do in case of a warp core breach, just how Zephraim Cochran ushered in the age of warp technology, and the dangers of mind melding with a Horta. More importantly, however, I want them to be aware of a great story that happens to unfold in the 23d century and that they can appreciate the historical, scientific, technological and social context of that story as well. I can’t wait.
“The Human Adventure is Just Beginning.” I will keep you posted on how it goes this August.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
I came to this party late but I’m so glad I showed. Pop some popcorn and direct your cursor over to here: http://www.drhorrible.com/index.html.
“But Evil Chicken, why would I want to do that?”
Because, Gentle Reader, you are about to be entertained. It is a play in three acts and it runs about 43 minutes. It’s got it all, comedy, tragedy, drama – it’s brilliant. Writer / director Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity) put this together back in 2008 during the writer’s strike. Wikipedia, my favorite second brain, says, “The idea was to create something small and inexpensive, yet professionally done, in a way that would circumvent the issues that were being protested during the strike.”
Well, he scored a direct hit. The cast is awesome and clearly having a blast playing their rolls. Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Houser) is Dr. Horrible, Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) is Penny, Nathan Fillion (Firefly) is Captain Hammer and Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory) is Moist.
Will Penny fall for the hero? Will Captain Hammer help to open the homeless shelter? Will Dr. Horrible ever join the Evil League of Evil? Click over and find out!
Better to come late to the party then never at all. Enjoy!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Despair Inc. has been and is one of my favorite little enterprises on the web. They create products that skewer the shady hypocrisy and self-aggrandizing pop psychology of all those bloody “Motivational Posters” that have crept into offices and places of work over the past bakers dozen years, or so. If you have not been there please check them out here: http://despair.com/index.html, you will not be disappointed. I have one of their calendars on my desk and it stands there between my phone and my computer as a beacon of sanity.
Well. Despair Inc. just had their first “Demotivator Caption Contest”. Mother Hen told me about this contest yesterday and I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring today. I wrote one up but I was 1 hour and 23 minutes too late. The contest was over. That’s what I get for checking email as poorly as I do. ...I was thinking…
Sometimes there is a reason why the Road is Less Traveled.
But it was not meant to be. The winner will be announced in about 15 minutes from now and will win $500.00. Not too shabby. Well, there’s always next time.
What would your caption read?
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Let me cut to the chase. Go see this movie. It deserves to be the 900 lbs Gorilla of the 2009 summer movie season. Star Trek is BACK! Bring an uninitiated and unwashed non-Trek fan with you and you will BOTH have a great time at the movies. Be warned, Gentle Reader, whether you think you are or you aren’t a fan of Star Trek – you WILL be after you see J.J. Abrams take on the legend. You may want to tell a friend about the great time you had at the movies seeing the new “Star Trek” movie. This friend of yours may say something like, “Star Trek” and wrinkle their nose as if they have just stepped in something they wish they hadn’t. Take heart – the stereotype pendulum swings both ways. They probably do not deserve to enjoy the wonderful bounty and feast for the eyes that the new “Star Trek” film is. Come to think of it, chances are you need better friends anyway.
But enough about your friends, THIS is about STAR TREK.
A little note about me and not to beat a dead horse but one could say that I have more than a passing interest in Star Trek. More to the point, I am a fan; mostly of the Original Series and The Next Generation with a little Deep Space Nine thrown in for good measure. Treks after that – and with all due respect to Seven of Nine, no thanks, I’ll pass. Now you know where I stand. If you want to know further where I stand I recommend checking here: http://evilchickenscratch.blogspot.com/2006/04/reenergized-part-i-of-ii.html, here: http://evilchickenscratch.blogspot.com/2006/04/re-energized-part-ii-movies.html, and here: http://evilchickenscratch.blogspot.com/2009/04/enterprise-project.html.
Now that’s out of the way let’s get down to business… Scratch that. I should also say that there will be mild SPOILERS ahead so if you with to remain pure stop reading now. See you next time and thanks for stopping by.
Ok, NOW let’s get down to business.
J.J. Abrams has delivered. He has re-launched the entire franchise by making a Star Trek movie that everyone can enjoy. Not since “Star Trek II – the Wrath of Kahn” has this feat been accomplished. In fact, STAR TREK is even more accessible to the general populous due to the fact that the story itself is like pressing a giant reset button. This is the cadet crew of the starship Enterprise – but they exist inside an altered timeline. In other words that which was old is new again – in a BIG way. Accepted truths from the original series are now no longer set in stone. The characters are, at their core, still the same it’s their future that is WIDE OPEN. This altered timeline sacrifices sacred cows and promises that it will continue to do so into the future. I love this turn of events in the Star Trek universe. Suddenly, I’m not the only one who can hope that “Voyager” and the last few Star Trek movies with the Next Generation cast just never happened.
Telling a story on film is a collaborative art. The director and the cast has to have a story that they can hang their hats onto. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are the ones who helped lift the “Star Trek Movie Curse” (only the even numbered ones are good). Although this STAR TREK has reset everything, technically it is the eleventh in the series. The curse has been lifted. They did not forget that anything with the title of Star Trek should foster hope.
Yes HOPE! Hope for a great many things. Hope that in the future we don’t blow ourselves to kingdom come, hope that the future is one where people have learned to get along – as human beings and, in a greater a scope, in a universe that is teeming with life, and hope that humanity has a place in the cosmos. Star Trek is about a great many things but, rest assured, the greatest of these is hope. Orci and Kurtzman used this to their advantage. I hope that they continue to do so in the future.
The cast is superb. Going into the multiplex, as a fan, you hope for the best, well, the best was what this fan got. In an odd way this film is like welcoming back old friends. All of the principals nail the dismount here. Christopher Pine’s James Tiberius Kirk unites arrogance with ability. Zachary Quinto’s uncanny performance as Commander Spock underlines the emotions of the emotionless and the loneliness of being the character he is. Zoe Saldana’s Uhura is just a joy to behold. Karl Urban channels DeForest Kelly as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. John Cho is the folding Katana wielding Mr. Sulu. Anton Yelchin is the 17 year-old math whiz, Ensign Pavel Chekov. Simon Pegg is Engineer, Montgomery Scott. Pegg’s “Scotty” is a force to be reckoned with. Pegg chewed up every scene he was in and made his role, somewhat of a memorial to James Doohan. There is a scene where Scotty is sitting next to another man in the transporter room – that other man is Jimmy Doohan’s son. Brilliant. Then there is Leonard Nimoy as an older Ambassador Spock from the future. I’m smiling as I type this because I know that the director, writers, and actors must have had a great time with working with Mr. Nimoy and the Older Spock character.
I could go on but you should really see it for yourself. The curse has been lifted. STAR TREK is BACK! “The Future is Beginning” at a theater near you.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
The Summer Movie Season has now started! “X-Men Origins – Wolverine” opened this weekend making it the first of the big summer box office movies to grace multiplexes from sea to shining sea and around the globe this year.
“So, Evil Chicken how was it?”
It was all right.
Now that I have answered this question let me tell you why I absolutely hate those four little words, it was all right. You see when I see a WOLVERINE movie I don’t want it to be “all right” or even “Good”; no, I want it to rock my world. I want Logan himself to slash his way out of the movie screen, make me spill my popcorn all over the place, grab me by my shirt, and ask me – “Do you gotta problem with that, Bub?” I want to smell the smoke from his cigar. I want to know that he is the best there is at what he does and that what he does isn’t pretty.
But, It was all right.
I don’t wish to discourage you from seeing it especially since the work print of this film has been pirated and released onto the net about a month ago. I would really like to support this film because by supporting it in the theaters will go a long way to a studio – even like FOX to throw their hat into the ring for another go round. And, next time, I want a Great Wolverine movie. One where ideas and characters are not throw away; one where the director and writers have a passion for the characters that are entrusted to them and they actually want to tell a decent story. The actors, including Mr. Hugh Jackman do their utmost to make this work but they lack the guiding leadership for everything to gel. They are trapped in a world that is not of their making.
Look, if your expectations are not too high and/or you have no idea who the characters or their back-story are you’ll have an ok time at the movies. If you’re a fan of these characters, you would like to see them develop into something more than one dimension on the big screen and you expect more from your Wolverine movie than an average to sub-average action flick you’re gonna walk away unsatisfied.
I really don’t mean to sound too harsh but… But… SPOILER… Deadpool? ...Really?
It was all right.
I want GREAT. It looks like I’m going to have to wait.