The Hollywood writer’s strike

I gotta say…I’m with the writers on this one. I’m not always anti-corporate BS but this is one fight I’d have to side against the movie and TV companies.

Some of the writers from The Daily Show put together this pretty funny clip to explain their beef

Basically, the corporations are saying that the writers shouldn’t be paid for writing stuff for the web, when companies are suing Google and YouTube $1,000,000,000 (that’s a BILLION, folks, say it like Dr Evil) for copyright violations because YouTube had some clips of TV shows. Eh? Logic? There is none. Just money-grubbing.

Eastern Promises

Just saw this over the weekend, it was between this and Stardust, which according to RottenTomatos.com is just slightly better in overall ratings (90% to 85). It’s quite well done, and straight from the beginning you know it’s going to be pretty hard-hitting. This is NOT a comedy or light-hearted comic romp. It’s a rough, dramatic look at the Russian mob in London. Overall I’d give it an 8.5 or so out of 10.

Coolest part: the toughest hand-to-hand combat I’ve seen in a long time, with two black leather jacket-wearing tough guys attacking a naked Viggo Mortenstern in a public bath. With curved skinning knives. It’s pretty brutal! But not excessively bloody. What a great scene. No music, just heavy breathing and grunts in a steamy tiled sauna.

Wow, that last line sounds gay!

No offense to my gay/bi friends πŸ˜‰

Knocked Up review

I didn’t think I would like this movie as much as I did – it looks like a feel-good, overcoming obstacles type
romantic comedy, but it was really well-written, with plenty of ‘guy stuff’ to cringe and laugh at, plus it was
well-acted, with a good story and really good supporting cast.

I have to give this one a 9 out of 10!

The Bourne Ultimatum

Wow. That’s about all I can say about this movie. Just…wow! I have to say I really really liked this movie. I’ll just go ahead and say that it deserves a 10 out of 10! Just barely, because I think it’s better than a 9/10.

That 10/10 rating comes from having seen the earlier two movies and enjoying those, although you don’t have to have seen the first two to understand the latest Bourne movie. There’s a little backstory and it would help to know exactly what Bourne is trying to find out, but there are enough flashbacks to guide you along. Possibly too many flashbacks for regulars of the series, but it’s okay – the flashbacks usually happen during action sequences so you don’t get too bored. πŸ™‚

The chases (car, foot) and fights are really good and well thought-out, no glaringly obvious CGI to get in the way, good story, great pacing. If you haven’t seen the other Bourne movie and aren’t sure about Matt Damon as a kick-ass action star, rent the first two (the Bourne Identity and the Bourne Supremacy) and check out what you’re missing!

The Simpsons Movie

I have to say, I quite liked this movie! I didn’t think I would as much as I did, so it was a very nice surprise. It was basically a really long episode, but there were plenty of movie tidbits that movie geeks would recognize, like using different movie-style camera angles, panning shots and more. There were some obvious CG shots like you’d see in a Futurama episode but that’s alright.

The plot was very big and movie-like as well, there’s no way it could have been done in a regular episode. Having Arnold as the president was a funny touch.

The best bit, though, was the watching of the movie itself. Absolutely no one else was in the theater, and my girlfriend and I snuck in our own drinks (Dr Pepper and Irn Bru) plus both buttered and toffee popcorn πŸ™‚ We probably saved about 20 pounds just in food!

Overall I’d give the movie an 8 out of 10.

Is fandom dead?

This post on ExtremeTech suggests that fandom is dead.

Fandom, in this case, applies to extreme cases of collecting mania for a movie, book, game or other franchise, searching through multiple stores and driving across the city (or state) to find that ONE…LAST…ITEM, and more recently, sitting in lines for hours or days on end to celebrate the release of a movie, book or video game console.

I used to be that guy. I nearly bought, sight unseen, a signed, platinum copy of Death: The High Cost of Living when the artist of the comic, Chris Bachalo, came through San Antonio and signed everything people shoved in front of him. I still have a quick sketch of Death that he did (after seeing him do the same for another fan) and I drove across the city to get him to sign stuff at two different store signings. I stood in line and sat through opening-night showings of the X-Files movie, all three Lord of the Rings movies (even lying to a girl and telling her I’d see one of them with her 2 days after it was released – forget that!), and countless others. I took days off to play Civilization 2 when it came out, also to wait in line for Episode One tickets (hey, it was a good blast with a bunch of other Star Wars geeks and their very patient girlfriends). I even have plush versions of the Alien facehugger and chestburster.

I wasn’t as ‘bad’ as some other fanboys – I haven’t gotten any tatoos of comic book characters or slogans, I don’t have a huge collection of Aliens space ships (although I wouldn’t mind…), I have sold off major portions of my comic collection in times of financial desperation (was a really bad idea, I didn’t get anything close to fair value) and to my eternal regret I skipped going to the San Diego ComicCon when I lived in Orange County for 7 years.

However…now it’s just too easy to be a fanboy. ‘Fanboy’ doesn’t even mean what it used to mean, anyway. Nowadays it’s a moniker people attach to Windows power users or Xbox 360 freaks, it just doesn’t apply to me any more.

Plus, with the internet, eBay, ‘retro’ shirt companies and stickers, it’s far too easy to look like an OG (that’s Original Gangsta) of…pick your franchise: Transformers, Nintendo, Pac-Man, the Grateful Dead, whatever. For instance, I want a Transformers shirt, I used to be a big fan of the show when I was a kid and when I heard a movie was being made I actually thought to myself, ‘damn, I should get a shirt soon because soon every skater/emo kid in town is going to have a retro shirt like they actually watched it in the 80’s.’ So I put off getting the shirt and now I’ve seen the movie and I had an opportunity to get a pretty nice-looking shirt last weekend but passed.

I’ll tell you how much of a solid fanboy I am: I won’t even buy a cool NES gamepad belt buckle, even though I’d like one, because I never actually owned an NES. I didn’t really know too much about consoles as a kid and my dad would have never bought one anyway. I’ve seen cool, funky NES shirts I’d like to get, but no – I’m a purist. I won’t wear the shirt or the buckle. Commodore 64/128, hells yeah, though! My folks sprung for a 128 way back when and I’d spend hours playing copied games and stuff. I even did quite a bit of typing and writing on the word processor.

Anyway, I don’t think fandom is dead. If anything, it’s bigger than ever, as companies have cashed in on marketing and licensing rights, cracked down on copyright violations and released loads and loads of ‘authorized’ versions of absolutely everywhere. I was reading the Kevin Smith blog last week and although I know he’s milking the fandom with every non-action figure or t-shirt he releases, he’s living every comic geek’s dream.

I used to be a Kevin Smith fanboy too. πŸ™‚