Saturday, March 19, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
This is the first official picture of Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman. All I can hear is latex rubbing against itself and the sound of my own laughter. A beautiful woman felled by silly costume design... again.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
A review of the films I've seen this past week.
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME (2010)
Utter shit. * star.
ROBIN HOOD (2010)
Embarrassing, especially the casting. Russell Crowe is too old and wheezy to hang out with a bunch of guys in their thirties and pretend to be Robin Hood, and Cate Blanchett is past "Maid" Marian and into spinster territory in the role. And the way the conflict is set up as this racist bullshit between the English people and the encroaching French... um, your nobility are Normans, the kings are Plantagenets: you're all fucking French. The faux-nationalism is drawn too broadly to be anything but dopey. I've said it before, I'll say it again: Ridley Scott is a hack. He made two decent movies 30 years ago (and I've always thought Blade Runner was incredibly overrated), and he still gets hailed as some sort of genius for the sloppy shit he puts together. No stars.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
:: Check out this report on TEPCO, the scandal-ridden Japanese power company that runs the nuclear reactors currently threatened by the aftermath of the quake. 29 cases of cover-ups of cracks on the cores of 13 nuclear reactors? Wow.
Imagine being told by the government to stay indoors when your house was destroyed in the earthquake. Scary. (Don't worry, though; here in America the nuclear industry is telling us we should be glad that failsafes are failing, because the industry will learn so much from the accidents.)
:: Larry Kudlow on the Japanese earthquake: "the human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll, and we can be grateful for that." Yes, we are so grateful.
:: The GOP, meanwhile, want to shut down the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, ground the air fleet that searches for hurricanes, and cut off funding for monitoring volcanoes. Because natural disasters never kill anyone, I guess.
:: I saw this coming last year: people are getting incredibly sick because of last year's BP Gulf fiasco. And it's not just because of exposure to crude oil, but because of dispersant chemicals that BP used (and lied about using, even one dispersant that had been banned in the UK) that, when combined with crude oil, create an even more toxic substance. But remember, OSHA said there was no need to protect your lungs from the oil spill. This was reported by Al Jazeera, the only news outlet that isn't asleep at the wheel and dazzled by Charlie Sheen's nonsense.
:: Republicans have stolen control of Wisconsin. The Senate Democrats are still being held in contempt of the Senate, and so their votes are not being counted.
:: Meanwhile, in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder is pushing a bill that basically gives the final word in governmental decision-making to corporations. No, literally.
Republicans have declared war on the other 99%, and they're probably going to win. That's right, I have zero faith in the willingness of American citizens to fight this.
:: New Hampshire (Republican, duh) State Rep. Harty is an evil old fuck. "Hitler did something right"? Anyone who elected this asshole should be filled with embarrassment that their representative would say something like that.
:: Speaking of New Hampshire and politicians embarrassing their constituents: Michele Bachmann telling a New Hampshire teabagger rally that "You're the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord." You Teatards are really electing leaders with a firm grasp on the American history you claim to be patriotic over but apparently don't bother knowing the details of.
:: Nine boys, ages 9 to 15, were killed in the mountains of Afghanistan while collecting firewood by NATO helicopter gunners who mistook them for insurgents. Winning the hearts and minds... What are we even doing there anymore? We're never going to achieve any kind of meaningful victory.
:: If you haven't already seen it, here's a valuable infographic detailing how much money those tax breaks for the rich are going to cost the US versus the savings from cutting social programs. Our corporate-run government is going to steal from the poor to give to the rich until, gods willing, they finally collapse under the weight of their own uselessness.
:: Shut the fuck up, Congress. We don't have the military capacity right now to establish a no-fly zone in Libya, even if we did have any authorization from the UN to do it, which we don't. I get it, Libya has oil and gas prices are nearly four bucks a gallon, and that's the only reason we ever have to go to war, but put it back in your pants, alright? Yes, what's happening in Libya is truly awful, but pretending to care because of the oil is just tasteless and embarrassing.
:: I kind of hate myself right now for ever believing that President Obama was going to ever come through on his promise to close Gitmo. He did the dog and pony show and appeased a lot of people with a worthless announcement that he didn't have to follow through on, and now he's perfectly fine with keeping the trials going. Lesson re-learned: no government will ever willingly give up any of its powers. "Rule of law" is just another gimmicky, meaningless phrase that stands for nothing.
You want proof that there's no rule of law in this country? Look what the government is doing to Bradley Manning. His punishment--he hasn't even been given a trial yet--is a clear message to the rest of us to get in line and stop criticizing the government for its decisions. You shouldn't need any more proof that Obama is just another president, CEOing this country for the benefit of himself, his cronies, and his corporate masters. Change? Sure, when he needs you to believe it to get elected. As president, it's business as usual.
:: And with all of this Bradley Manning stuff going on and the government still trying to destroy Wikileaks, it makes me want to puke to hear Hillary Clinton shilling on about the importance of free speech and protecting internet freedom. Sure, as long as it's those brown countries, right?
:: Chief State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley has actually resigned over the White House's treatment of Manning. Chief State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley has a conscience. Apparently, President Obama does not.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Found a Star Wars 30-Day Challenge going around on Tumblr, so I once again decided to do it as a meme on Blogger.
1. All-time favorite character in Star Wars
2. Favorite member of the Rebellion
They're both the same character: Artoo Detoo. (And I have to say, I prefer it spelled out as opposed to the alphanumeric R2-D2. I don't know why the preference is there, but it struck me more as a kid, and it's stayed that way ever since.)
3. Favorite member of the Empire
Darth Vader, though my love for Peter Cushing puts Grand Moff Tarkin at a close second. (I really dug what they just did on Clone Wars with Captain Tarkin and Anakin Skywalker meeting for the first time. The little hint of the Imperial March when they shook hands gave me a chill. I love that show.)
4. Favorite Jedi
5. Favorite Droid
Artoo, but I love almost all droids on principle.
6. Favorite type of ship, or specific ship
The Millennium Falcon, of course. The X-Wing is pretty sweet, too; it was always one of my favorite toys as a kid (I never had the Falcon). I have a LEGO X-Wing, too.
7. Favorite planet
Frankly, I'm not a huge fan of any of the one-landscape-and-weather-system-only planets of the Star Wars universe. I mean, they fit the story, but there's not a single world where I can point and go "Hey, that's neat." I guess, if you go outside the movies, Arbra, where the Hoojibs live, is kind of nice and foresty.
8. Favorite movie in the original trilogy
The Empire Strikes Back.
9. Favorite movie in the prequel trilogy
Revenge of the Sith.
10. Favorite photo that’s related to Star Wars
This girl just makes every convention better. There's a whole Flickr page devoted to her somewhere out there.
11. Favorite battle
The three-tiered battle in Return of the Jedi, with Han leading the rebels on Endor, Lando leading the strike on the second Death Star, and Luke and Vader battling it out before the Emperor.
12. All time favorite scene in any of the movies
Luke Skywalker stops short of surrendering his humanity. In fact, I think this is one of the great scenes of the original trilogy that's given an extra layer by the prequels, since you see that Luke is not making his father's mistake and not giving in to slaughter and anger. Where Anakin let himself go and couldn't control himself, Luke turns away. And then coupled with Vader's reclamation of his humanity, which of course he has to die to achieve.
13. Favorite quote
"I love you." "I know."
14. A scene that makes you happy
Gosh, anything to do with Artoo and/or Chewbacca, I think.
15. A scene that makes you sad/angry
For me, it comes down to Obi-Wan's pained "You were my brother, Anakin." There's so much going on here. The perversion of Anakin's political loyalties through fear and manipulation. His descent into mass murder. Obi-Wan's sense of betrayal and, I've always thought, his sense of failure in training Anakin. I find it very powerful, and it only deepens as The Clone Wars goes on and the relationship between these two is deepened.
I think this is a major part of what the prequels are about: the fall of the Jedi, brought about in large part by their own arrogance, their own high-handedness, and their own sense of institution. Historically, we see a lot of institutions fall because it becomes self-perpetuating to the point where it will do anything--even lie and kill--to protect itself, and becomes so assured of its own importance that it can't change until it's too late. It's my personal theory that a lot of people don't like the prequels because they don't want it to be about what it is, which is the failure of the Jedi.
16. Photo of your Star Wars related things (books, action figures, posters, shirts, etc.)
I goddamn love me the LEGO video games.
17. Your favorite moment in The Phantom Menace
18. Your favorite moment in Attack of the Clones
Because I'm a squeeing fanboy, the moment my favorite actor, Christopher Lee, appears onscreen.
19. Your favorite moment in Revenge of the Sith
Lowering the mask. When Becca and I sat and watched the entire saga in one day, the moment the Vader mask was fitted on, there was a long, slow, rumbling peal of thunder from outside. It was awesome.
20. Your favorite moment in A New Hope
Isn't this everyone's?
21. Your favorite moment in Empire Strikes Back
Everything about this scene--the acting, the dialogue, the editing, the score... this is a perfect movie scene.
22. Your favorite moment in Return of the Jedi
See number 12.
23. Something you wished was different in the series
You know, I've played this game before, and it's pointless. It's all there, all the way George Lucas wanted it, and it all works for me.
24. A character you didn’t like in the series
Not in the film series proper, but as Star Wars characters go, I really don't have much interest in Asajj Ventress as a character. Also, I hate Chewbacca's kid, Lumpy.
He's like a feral animal that was badly domesticated and is about to snap at any moment.
25. Your favorite book/series from the Expanded Universe
I'm not big into the Expanded Universe (I don't count The Clone Wars, since it's official). My favorite thing in the Expanded Universe is either Hoojibs (if the Marvel comics actually count) or the Dark Horse miniseries Star Wars Underworld: The Yavin Vassilika, because it was hilarious.
26. Your favorite Obi-Wan Kenobi quote
"It is our decisions that shape our destinies." (Revenge of the Sith)
27. Your favorite Yoda quote
"For my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us... and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this... crude matter!" (The Empire Strikes Back)
28. Your favorite Darth Vader quote
"The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am." (Return of the Jedi)
29. Best Star Wars related story/incident you’ve had
I really enjoyed writing these: From Father to Son, Etc. and My Star Wars Biography. They helped me really cement and solidify where I stand now in the self-destructive world of Star Wars fandom. (Turns out: completely apart from it, which is a very comfortable place to be.)
30. Why you love Star Wars
It's all in those two essays, I think. But the simple version is that I love the characters, and the fact that they inhabit a fictional world that has room for everything you could want. That's why I think fans are silly to whine about humor, because the Star Wars Universe has evolved to be something that can be populated by whatever you want it to be. You can make it as dark or as light as you want. Don't like The Clone Wars? Fine. Stick with your Rogue Squadron novels instead. Enjoy it for what you like about it. I always do.
There he is, that snot-colored, over-marketed asshole on the commercial for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and he's surfing and burbling and smarmily calling out "Who says ogres can't surf?"
Um, no one, obnoxious repository of all of Mike Myers' worst acting and comedy excesses. No one in the five billion year history of the universe has ever once uttered the phrase "Ogres can't surf." Never. Never as a salve, never as a joke, never as a declarative line in the sand.
I fucking hate Shrek and I will never forgive you or your kids for spending billions on this fucking thing.