7/31/09

"A keyboard...how quaint." Star Trek Tech News

"Hello Computer?"
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is my favorite original series movie, and it's also the best, if you ask me. You didn't, but there it is anyway. Well, one of the most quoted scenes is officially becoming a reality. A scientific breakthrough has been made that would make Scotty (and James Doohan, I think) very proud. The scientists of Earth have actually come up with...drumroll...

TRANSPARENT ALUMINUM!

Yes, it's true. It's probably not handy dandy enough to build a whale tank on a Klingon Bird of Prey yet, but it's probably headed in that direction. According to a newsletter that I got from SyFy.com (Man, that re-name stinks.) yesterday, here's the news that's fit to print on the real-life Trek technology.

"Oxford scientists say they've created transparent aluminum, but is it similar to what we saw in Star Trek IV? Well, not really. Using a powerful FLASH laser that produces brief pulses of "soft x-ray light," they knocked out an electron from every aluminum atom in a lab sample. Because this process didn't disrupt the metallic lattice structure of the metal, it magically turned the aluminum into a substance transparent to ultraviolet light.

Compounds containing aluminum have already been created (such as the aluminum oxynitride pictured above), but this is the first time pure aluminum has been rendered transparent. But you won't really be able to see through it — it's only invisible to extreme ultraviolet radiation. The amazing part? ''What we have created is a completely new state of matter nobody has seen before," said Professor Justin Wark.

There's a catch, though: The aluminum sample turned transparent was tiny — less than a 20th of the width of a human hair in diameter. And the amount of power required to create this minuscule window was equal to that of a power plant providing electricity to an entire city. Oh, and the see-through aluminum reverts quickly back to its natural state. But hey, it's a start. Scientists are saying the technology used to create this entirely new state of matter might also help in the quest for generating power using nuclear fusion."

Neat, huh? So when do we get communicators and phasers?!


7/29/09

Disney's "Alice in Wonderland" Will Tour


Apparently, we'll all be able to follow Alice down the rabbit hole. But where? How? So many questions remain. My friend Jen sent me this link today, and it sent me searching to no avail for more details.

It's something Disney constructed for Comic-Con. It looks absolutely amazing. But no details are given about where we can expect it to tour. I very much enjoy prop and costume tours. "Lord of the Rings" did it. Disney's new, "A Christmas Carol" is touring the country via train, charging no admission I might add. It's a new trend that's a winner if you ask me.

Experiences like this bring us one step closer to immersive experiences from films we love.
Just imagine what it would be like if we could spend a day actually living the events of a film. Think of a grand murder mystery party recreated in the mansion where they filmed, "Clue". (I'm sure it was a set, but just let me have that one.) Just imagine spending a day solving a mystery inside Disney's, "Haunted Mansion".
Universal is soon to debut the new Harry Potter section of their Florida theme park next year, so we're getting closer at any rate. There's always the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios. But these are all experiences you have from a nice safe distance. I want the freedom to do something much more hands on and first-person. It's the next logical step for fans.

Well, a geek can dream, right? Until then, I guess we'll all just have to stick to frequently googling the Alice In Wonderland tour. Sigh...

7/27/09

How Disheartening

Behold what became of the new, "Creature from the Black Lagoon" musical stage show at Universal that I was so excited about...



How sad. It really could've been something cool. But this gives me no hope whatsoever that it's any good at all. Bummer.

7/23/09

Comic-Book Movies

There have been oh-so-many over the years, but as far as I'm concerned, they can just keep 'em coming. Here's a list of 25 Comic Book Movies that Bolstered the Genre. Click Here To Read It.

What's your favorite comic book movie? Here are a couple of images that will give you a clue as to mine...most obvious clues ever, but hey...



Now, there's some argument about this one so I left it off the list, Tomb Raider. Technically this was a game to film to comic adaptation. So the comic part came last, and I'm not gonna lie...the comic iteration of the subject matter was my least favorite. But still, technically speaking it counts. You can read my defense of Tomb Raider by following this link.

7/22/09

Stop Fox from re-casting Futurama!

Sign the petition at the bottom of this blog. Scroll down, and you'll find the widget after the blog posts and before anything else.

What cruel twist of fate is Fox trying to pull? Dangling Futurama in front of the fans, two new seasons to boot, and then re-casting!

People always say that actors on television or in film are greedy when they demand large paychecks. But here's the thing about being an actor, you're self-employed and you never know when you'll ever get a job again?

And shouldn't Billy West, Jon Dimaggio, Katey Segal, and the rest of the gang be entitled to a slice of the pie that they created? Think of the millions and millions of dollars that FOX could make if they do in fact start up Futurama again. Shouldn't the voices of the show be entitled to a large sum of that since they were integral in its making?

We all know that studios make far more money over time than actors EVER will with merchanidising and re-releases.

Yes, it's a cartoon and yes, they can easily replace the voices and keep going. But they shouldn't because the show won't be the same. The voices ARE the characters. And fans can tell a cheap imitation from a mile away, especially long-time fans like myself. Actually, it's the little voice performance nuances that make the show so funny.

Would they ever replace the Simpsons voices? They tried, but they didn't succeed. People say the actors are greedy, but I say it's the executives who are greedy, wanting to keep more money for themselves and the company.

Don't let it happen, sign the petition! They're just over 1000 at the moment and they need 500,000.

7/21/09

You've Just Entered...The Twilight Zone

Childhood Trauma:
Personified.
According to Variety, there's a decent chance we'll get to see not only one more Twilight Zone movie, but possibly two. Read the original story HERE.

The 1983 film was a regular at our house. We had it on an old beat up VHS tape that we watched over and over again. It was recorded over, "Singin' In The Rain", which is precisely why I didn't see that musical until I was a teenager. Too many mixed emotions.

You see, the "gremlin on the wing" scene scared the bejeebus out of me. Terrifying. Quite frankly, it still creeps me out today, though the Simpsons take on that particular TZ episode did a lot to neutralize the fear. "Aw, he's trying to claw my eyes out." God bless Ned Flanders.

I will say that on my 18 hour flights to Europe...I was less than pleased to get a window seat...

As for the rest of the film, I think it stands today. I mean, come on...Steven Spielberg even directed a segment back when he was kind of in his horror phase, don't forget, he co-wrote and produced, "Poltergeist". The man likes to creep you out.

Mega-Sidebar: On some of the Indiana Jones bonus materials, he mentions that Lucas wanted to do a Haunted Castle story. Can you even imagine how amazing that would've been? A Haunted Mansion/Indiana Jones movie....drool. What's left of that idea is the Nazi-occupied castle-scene. Still a classic. "Son, the floor's on fire."

ANYWAY, the segment of the 1983 movie set at the nursing home still gets me crying a river. But then, I have a soft spot for old people movies.

Then there's the Disney World thrill ride, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, which still raises goosebumps all over my body whenever I get to ride it. All that combined with my husband's treasure trove of Twilight Zone stuff, and I'm well versed enough to get really and truly excited about this idea. (He's a big fan of Rod Serling and has several TZ scripts and books about Serling. He used to have several episodes on DVD, but we lost them in one of our cajillion moves.)

This is also prime material for new movies, because The Twilight Zone was a serial episodic show which lends itself to new iterations quite well when you think about it.

SO, what say you geeks? A new Twilight Zone movie, yay or nay?

Futurama always spoofed what it loved, hence all the Trek jokes. Here's a fabulous take of theirs on, "The Twilight Zone" opening. Over the course of the show, they did several "Scary Door" mini episodes, none of which are available on YouTube. Of course. Hulu doesn't have them either, so you'll just have to take my word for it that they're funny.



And then, of course, there's the oh-so-famous quote which still gets constantly tossed around in my family. This STILL makes me jump, even though I know what's coming.

7/20/09

Comic-Con Fever

I know, just last week I admitted to having British fever...I'm coming down with a lot of weird geek ailments lately. But I am actually feeling a little sick over missing Comic-Con. I think if I won the lottery tomorrow, people would be surprised at how I would spend my money. Star Fleet uniforms, conventions aplenty, and lots of trips to theme parks. I guess it would be a little bit like Tom Hanks from, "Big".

So I've been babbling a lot lately about Comic-Con, and I thought I'd provide you some of the links to said babbling.

Why Comic-Con Matters

10 Things You May Not Know About Comic-Con

Comic-Con: Your Friendly Neighborhood Film Festival

Zombie Girl: The Movie To Screen At Comic-Con

As far as convention satire goes, this is by far and away one of the greatest (and most under-rated) movies to address the subject.



Then there's this, which I enjoyed very much...



I think I'd make an excellent nerdy correspondent for someone at Comic-Con. Somebody send me next year...I'm shameless...but until then, I'll be glued to the internet as soon as the festival starts and crossing my fingers that Conan will give us a Triumph segment at the Con. Who would you dress as if you could go in costume?

So many choices...so little disposable income.

7/19/09

Acapella Simpsons

Just saw this on the end credits of a Simpsons rerun...priceless. I don't know why acapella versions of things amuse me so, but they do.

7/15/09

Bridget Jones Returns! (and I've got British fever)

Hooray! Bridget Jones rides again in a third installment set to begin filming at the end of this year, according to People.com today. This is not only fabulous news, but funny timing, as I was just saying to Jake that Jones was Zelwegger's best role ever yesterday.

I love the first film with all my heart, I like the second one an awful lot too, even if the plot was a teensy contrived. Both have a tremendous amount of re-viewing value and Zelwegger brings back a style of distinctly non-self-conscious comedy that not many actresses today can achieve. Nor do many of them try, for that matter. (I'm talking with or without the extra pounds. It's not the weight, it's the performance. It's brave and vulnerable.)

Aside from being truly funny as a character, she is a bit of a mascot isn't she? What with her normal proportions and her constant mistake-making. Throw in all the British culture, and I'm there...with bells on. It hearkens back to the personality comedians of days gone by, stick Bridget Jones in any situation and I'll watch. Can't you just see her in black and white trying to move a piano or something? She's classic like that. (When's the last time you saw something "hearken", eh?)

You see, I have a bit of a British obsession, and it was all kicked off by the first Bridget Jones movie which my best friend Lindsay insisted that I watch. Thank goodness she did, it started me down a wonderful road.

Yes, now I am a regular watcher of BBC shows, especially the mysteries that show on PBS like, "Poirot". I started watching Richard Curtis movies. I think I once read a Jane Austen book....okay, so I'm no expert. But I just love the culture. I am thoroughly enamored of all the Sherlock Holmes stories, have read them all and have become a bit of an expert. That's got to count for something, when do I get my badge?

I also seem to favor English actors by accident, Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart, Bob Hoskins, Jim Broadbent, and on and on.

There's a classiness to British culture that I long for here in America, a rich cultural history.

I don't mean the kind that they only show in movies, all the Arthurian legend and what-not. Though I do love that too. I just mean the subtle differences here and there. Tea times and accents and scenery. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it because I'm sure that makes me sound like a dumb American who has no real idea what British culture is like. Because that's true. But I love it all the same. My fish and chips, my Earl Grey, my British slang ("sod off" and "round the twist" and "steady on" and all that)....my beloved Bridget Jones and the cinematic London that she occupies.

So here's to another Bridget movie and my shamelessly incomplete knowledge, but very real love, of British culture. I'll have a pint on that.

7/13/09

Harold Ramis Speaks

My friend Josh sent me this link by way of slashfilm.com, and it puts a lot of fears to rest. This combined with the Ghostbusters game definitely puts me at ease. BUT, I also remember hearing Spielberg say he wasn't going to use any CGI, so...take all this with a grain of salt. It never hurts to hear Ramis talk about "the biz" and the franchise. If you can't see the video below, follow THIS LINK to the source page. It's seven minutes in geek heaven.

7/8/09

So You Think You Can Dance

I recently took the time to rant and rave about why you should be watching this show. Rant is located HERE.

I am actually mid-episode as I type this. It's such a treat, every week I look forward to both episodes, even though I'm typically yelling at the television on Thursday nights. My sister in South Bend watches, "America's Got Talent" religiously. So I figure we can be like the Landers Sisters of reality television.

Evan is still my favorite dancer, but I admit that his Gene Kelly style origins have made me forever biased. But this season is so packed with incredible dancers. There's one or two I don't love, but it's just because they don't stand out personality-wise, at this point, they're all wonderfully talented. So I certainly can't complain.

However, I am noticing that the choreography this year is...spotty. Some good routines, a few great ones, and a whole lotta weirdness. There's a lot of stunt choreography happening, and more often than not, the dancers pay the price for that because I am assuming that most of America doesn't know who's really to blame. (I.E. Kristin's "alien" routine last week...it was dreadful, but that had nothing to do with her. She hasn't had a chance to shine since the Bollywood routine the first week of the show. It's a lot of the luck of the draw this season.)

I felt the same way about Phillip and Jeanine's Russian Folk Dance tonight. It was silly looking, but that's just the style of dance, it's so culturally different, that it will probably always look silly to us. But they did a great job with what they were given, but because the voting base for this show is so strongly teen...they'll probably be in the bottom three because the tweens of the world didn't like their costumes. It's infuriating sometimes.

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot lately how much this show is a true revival of the dance contest shows of the 70's and 80's. They were everywhere back then, heck, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" used to practically play on loop on WTTV 4 when I was a kid.

Then there was, "Soul Train" and I learned about Danny Terrio from a single joke in Frank Oz, Steve Martin and Michael Caine's brilliant, "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". Needless to say, I'm really glad for the revival. As far as I'm concerned...American Idol can slink away into the annals of karaoke history and we can bring on more dance shows. But, "So You Think You Can Dance" will probably always be the best of them all.

That's not to mention that one of the best things about the show is the smart judges. They give useful critiques, they're not mean-spirited and they're not pandering. They don't avoid giving critiques that the audience might not understand, which...gasp...forces the audience to learn!

This week's Friday Night Videos will definitely feature dance. Stay tuned...

7/6/09

"Trick 'r Treat" - Finally to be Released


Many moons ago, a movie was made. Word on the street was that it was really really really good. A near perfect Halloween movie, or so the legend went. But the years started to go by...and the movie never debuted. Nobody really knew why, fans who saw advanced screenings raved about it. The buzz was HUGE. But the studio, Warner Bros. simply never released it. The first release date was October 2007. Then there was a rumor that Halloween 2008 was the final release date, but it came and went and NOBODY heard of it again. Just as the film started to fall into shadow, as we Lord of the Rings geeks like to say, THIS HAPPENED. I saw this thanks to Todd Sokolove on Facebook.



I haven't been this excited for Halloween-themed material since ye olde Halloween Buffy episodes!

7/4/09

The Proposal - Movie Review - No Spoilers


On Thursday, Jake and I went to the movies. He went to see, "Transformers", confident that he could get past all the bad reviews so far and just enjoy robots bashing away at each other. I decided to heed the bad reviews since I didn't enjoy the first movie all that much anyway and go see something else. I opted for, "The Proposal" for one reason alone: Betty White...

Happy Fourth of July

I emailed this to everyone and their mama last year...but it's just the absolute best. Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Friday Night Videos - Voice Over Madness

Outtakes from Paul Frees' incredible Haunted Mansion recording sessions.



And here are some fun Futurama bloopers.



This is likely the most classic movie to include discussion of voice-over work as a large part of the plot. This is just the tiniest snippet of Jean Hagen's brilliant and hilarious performance from, "Singin' In The Rain".



Until next time....

Now is the time on Sprockets

When I write.

Here are the blogs from this week.

How to Navigate a Flooded Production Market

&

The Heartland Film Festival

7/1/09

Ghostbusters: The Video Game


The Ghostbusters game is everything you ever hoped it would be. It's an absolute blast, it's actually really difficult, it looks amazing, it's funny, and it's essentially the perfect film to game adaptation.

Our friend Josh, who is officially a member of the geek consortium, allowed us to come over and play the game before he himself had defeated it...