Monday, May 12, 2008

We Love Speed Racer!

That's right we absolutely loved Speed Racer. We saw it in imax and as I said on last Saturday's show (part 1, part 2) it is a visual feast! It's fun, exciting, silly, sweet, beautiful, and I will say it again FUN!!! Haters be darned!

One think that is really bothering me is ridiculous claims by certain reviewers that this is nothing like the classic anime. Well all I can say to that is check out "The Trick Race" to see just how wrong you are (YouTube currently has it in three parts, Click here for the first). The Wachowski brothers proved that they truly understand the heart & soul of the 1967 anime and they did an amazing job bringing it to the big screen in live action!

Another note from some critics is that it may be too childish for many adults while being too risque for young children. This claim is often followed by a statement about how many families may be going to see Iron Man instead. Well we loved Iron Man but if you think Speed Racer (where the most risque thing is a kiss and some sexyish talk about a kiss) is too risque but the bedroom romp of Iron Man is ok for your kids then perhaps you shouldn't have children. As for it being too childish for adults all I can say is that a monkey is funny for everyone, and this monkey has always been a part of Speed Racer, and lets not forget that Speed Racer was always intended for kids and families. This movie is fun first and foremost and should just be enjoyed for what it is an amazing retelling of a classic anime from the 60s.

We have come to a conclusion that people don't allow themselves to just relax and have fun anymore. You can't go to Speed Racer and expect Atonement! Plus just because Andy & Larry Wachowski made it doesn't mean it is a Matrix sequel. This is a movie you go to the theater to watch and just say "Wow!" because it looks so incredible. The Imax made us feel like we were there and when a car flipped it flipped right over us. The colers were beautiful and I have no doubt that if the variety and brightness of the colors were all available in 1967 they would have used them in the exact same way as the movie did.

Aside from just how enjoyable the movie is this is another one that we don't think could have been cast any better. While John Goodman (who plays Pops) and Paulie Litt (the little boy who plays Spritle Racer, especially in his scenes with Chim Chim) were often scene stealers Emile Hirsch played the part of Speed Racer exactly as it was supposed to be as did Matthew Fox as Racer X and if you have any doubts about that check out the episode I mentioned before. Christina Ricci made a great (and sexy) Trixie and the lovely Susan Sarandon truly was everything a Racer Mom should be!

Speed Racer made us feel like kids again! We want the toys, we want to drive the Mach 5 and the Mach 6, we want to watch the movie again and again!

What were all you haters out there expecting? This had all the right characters in all the right situations placed in an amazing and fantastic world that truly translates anime into reality. If you were upset by the races (would you rather watch them go around an oval track over and over again) and how the cars were modified then you obviously know nothing of Speed Racer. I think people should stop hating for the sake of hating and start accepting that this is exactly what it set out to be, this is SPEED RACER!


Monday, May 5, 2008

We Love Iron Man

That's right, if you heard our show on Saturday night you heard us gush on and on about how much we loved Iron Man (of course having Jon Favreau & Robert Downey Jr. unexpectedly stop by the theater to introduce the movie didn't hurt our feelings about it)! And to all those of you that kept saying it would only earn $70 million because no one cares about Iron Man, well it looks like we were absolutely right for mocking you (ha ha ha ha)! Over $100 million domestic and $200 million worldwide gross? That's right skeptics, put that in your pipe and smoke it!

As far as I am concerned Iron Man is a great movie first and foremost and a superhero movie second. It couldn't have been cast more perfectly, I was even pleased with Gwenyth Paltrow's performance as Pepper Potts. The thing that disappointed me most about Iron Man is that I have to wait for a sequel.

For all you fanboys, you should be quite pleased that the story and characters truly mesh with the comic book lore and it is quite apparent that Jon Favreau & Robert Downey Jr. had real care for & connection to the comic and in Robert's case the character of Tony Stark.

I must say I was especially impressed with the CGI/Motion Capture. I have never seen flying look so real. I don't think it takes much of a stretch of the imagination to believe that there was a man in the Iron Man suit and he was actually flying, in fact I would go so far as to say I have never seen flying in a movie look so good.

Congratulations to Marvel on their first indepenently financed feature! You have proven that sticking with the comics is the way to go! Big studios take note, this is how you do a comic book adaptation (or any adaptation for that matter). If you think a story is good enough to make a movie from then you must follow Iron Man's lead and stay true to it.

If you haven't seen the movie yet stick around all the way through the credits (it won't hurt you to wait in your seat a few minutes) for a spectacular final scene with a great cameo.

This is definitely a movie worth seeing in the theater (I plan to see it multple times).


Friday, April 25, 2008

Hocus Pocus Supernatural Focus!

Wow I can't tell you how excited we were when we watched Supernatural last night because they played a small portion of a song very special to us. Years ago when we were in college we were driving in the middle of nowhere somewhere in upstate New York and as we're flipping through radio stations looking for something (anything) to listen to. Well we finally come to a station that comes in clear and are absolutely mesmerized by the music, we happened to tune in just as the song was about to begin so we didn't miss one wacked out chord! After a few moments of listening we had to know who was this, what was this, it was utter craziness! Finally the dj comes on and tells us we were listening to "Hocus Pocus" by Focus. Of course we needed to find this majestic song but it's not exactly popular music--not really anything we'd listen to had we not been so entertained I mean how could you not want to hear more from a band that incorperates yodeling? Well weeks later I am at a used book shop and I go downstairs where they also have some used records and right in front of me as I step off the stairs is a big pink album with FOCUS written on it and low and behold this album, "Moving Waves", happend to be the album that included "Hocus Pocus" so of course I had to buy it. Now the rest of the album is pretty out of control too (and I certainly don't mean in a good way) but for "Hocus Pocus" and the thrill of torturing friends with the musical stylings of Focus it is well worth it to listen to over and over again. Now they only used one part of the song and no it wasn't the yodeling part but from the moment I heard the notes I could not stop laughing. Dave looked at me and asked "is that what I think it is?" Oh yes Dave they actually used "Hocus Pocus" by Focus and it was in a hilarious Supernatural episode called Ghostfacers! I liked Supernatural before but this means we now have an unflappable connection to it. By the way the Ghostfacers theme song is amazing and I wish it could be my ringtone!

I couldn't find a good place to send people to hear "Hocus Pocus" but I did find this video on YouTube of them playing it live. It's not as good as the album version but you'll certainly get the idea! Enjoy!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

All Is Right in the World

So we hear a rumor that Kelly Brook finally broke up with Billy Zane. If this is true then all is right in the world! We love you Billy but seeing you with Kelly actually made peoples heads explode.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why So Serious?

There are some things that flip my world upside down. Today's news about the death of Heath Ledger is one of those things. The first place I read the news was on a gossip blog so I thought it must be a joke or some wild internet rumor but low and behold all the news sites had the same information. In a way you can never be completely surprised when someone with a history of drug problems dies and drugs are involved but still there was something about Heath Ledger that made people forget about past indiscretions.

I keep hoping that this is all some kind of joke and that the people involved in promoting The Dark Knight are totally twisted. I am imagining a memorial service for Heath Ledger where all of a sudden he jumps out in full on Joker garb surrounded by Joker goons as he stares out at the somber crowd he cackles and shouts "WHY SO SERIOUS!?!" Yeah I know I'm twisted but that would be better than him being dead.

But since the news probably has it right I send my condolences to Heath's friends and family and especially his baby daughter.

RIP Heath Ledger (April 4, 1979 - January 22, 2008)


Friday, January 18, 2008

The Sci-Fi Generational Gap

I was reading last week's Entertainment Weekly and I came to the last page with an edition of The Final Cut entitled "Is Sci-Fi Out of Ideas" written by a man named Mark Harris. While the piece is interesting it made me realize something: there is a huge generation gap where the people on either side have completely different views of sci-fi.

In the column Harris makes a good point that pretty much all of the science fiction films coming out are recycled ideas and remakes of other movies. The problem comes with his somewhat arrogant question about why people aren't coming up with new ideas in sci-fi while he credits 2001: A Space Odyssey as the last truly original sci-fi film that changed it's landscape. The reason I call the question arrogant is because he acts as though the world hasn't changed since 1968. There was a time when the focus of sci-fi was on the fiction. People were not as aware of emerging technologies and they just liked stories of escapism with flying cars and lots of flashing colored lights.

I was a child when computers started showing up most middle class homes and I was still young when the internet became a staple. I remember the days where your only choices were AOL and Prodigy and busy phone lines because dial up was your only method to surf the web. In the matter of only a few years it was multiple household computers and high speed internet. What it comes down to is the fact that I have grown up in a technology boom and I can understand why it's growing harder and harder to find new quality ideas for sci-fi. The youth of today want to know that the science in their sci-fi is logical and reasonable otherwise it should just be a story of fantasy.

Most old sci-fi movies don't hold up to today's standards. It's hard no to laugh at the old cinematic versions of future computers and other so called advanced technologies. By remaking an old sci-fi flick people are able to make updates that make technological sense, not to mention the fact that people know the stories so they don't question the parts that are such strong examples of fantasy.

To add a flying car to a sci-fi flick nowadays you have to explain how the car flies, what kind of power is used and how it's harnessed, how do they avoid accidents without roads or are the cars more simply hover crafts (yeah that's right there is a big difference between a flying car and a hover craft). It's the same with all technology shown in movies today. We are skeptics but we are well informed skeptics. Unlike prior generations we don't believe whatever we're shown and told and we require ideas based in fact.

The movie Demolition Man (it may not be great but I love it) is a good example of a more recent sci-fi movie that had original ideas and stuck to scientific realities extended to fit a future context. Even the cars they used were prototypes future models supplied by General Motors. Cryogenics is a process that is still being worked on. It's all about the science.

One of the great things about The X Files was their basis in fact. Scully would lay out the science while Mulder focused on fiction and myth. It is what we have come to expect in this day and age.

By not even acknowledging The Matrix in his article Harris shows that he certainly is not from my generation (Mr. Harris, your age is showing). You neglect a movie that sparked a revolution of sorts and spawned 2 sequels. Are you trying to say that this is somehow not a sci-fi film? Do you have some convoluted idea that it is recycled in some way? The sequels may not hold up to the 1999 original but that doesn't take away to how great The Matrix is. Maybe you are just too old to understand why this is based in scientific reality. Did you type your column on your Apple IIe?

And what about Harris's theory that Westerns have been rebooted so why can't they do the same for sci-fi? Well for one thing the Western is based in the past not the future which means certain facts are already laid out. They can't give a cowboy an AK 47 and expect people to accept that. They can't have people driving around in cars. The simple fact is that the base of a western is already laid all one has to do is come up with the fictional story to overlay on the backdrop.

Harris may be right when he says that for many the reboots feel like been there done that but there are generations of younger movie goers that haven't seen the originals (and would probably laugh at their absurdity if they did). While I find it sad that many times kids don't realize something is a remake I can understand why they would be reticent to watch the original. Sci-fi doesn't hold up through time the way other genres do. Science changes, it becomes outdated and illogical and technology flashes forward at light speed so to speak.

In the end I have to say I feel bad for Mark Harris. This must have been his geeky realization that he was getting older and I guess he didn't like it. Some day I will be older and they will be remaking The Matrix and other movies I hold dear but when that happens I hope I'm mature enough to admit that the science and graphics of the original are outdated and a reboot is not entirely unwarranted. Besides, doesn't it make way more sense to reboot or remake sci-fi movies and TV shows than the idiotic ideas they have had recently of bringing absurd versions of things like Josie and the Pussycats, Starsky and Hutch, the Mod Squad, etc... to the big screen?

Our entertainment industry is historically derivative. New ideas are few and far between but keep in mind the industry is run by large corporations that have discovered that remakes make money. New ideas (especially progressive ideas that are often expressed in quality science fiction) often find it hard to find funding. Fantasy is far easier to be creative with than sci-fi (in fact if you look at a lot of old "sci-fi" as the years pass they become little more than fantasy anyway, science just surpasses the antiquated ideas of what could be).

Take a moment to think about it. And think about just how much fiction you'll accept in your sci-fi.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ain't No Party Like a '300, The Cat Version' Party

Hi, my name is AnnaMay and I'm a cute-a-holic!

Every single day I visit Cute Overload, often multiple times throughout the day. I can't tell you how many time's I've looked at the kitten in a frog hat, ya know if I had my way I would totally go so far as to tatoo that picture over my boyfriends face. I mean he's pretty darn cute but he's no kitten in a froggy hat. Ahh the elusive kitten-frog, as long as you exist on the internet I don't know if I can ever make it through this recovery process!

Anyway, you may have seen this link elsewhere but this is the cat version of the 300 trailer. Make sure you keep your volume up!

If you don't like it then you are so not cool in my book. You will respect my cute-thority!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Gladiator Nostalgia

In September of 1989 America was treated to a spectacle of strength, speed, and competition that would last for the next 7 years. American Gladiators gave us red white and blue spandex clad warriors who would destroy all challengers that dared to get in their way. I remember watching these hulking figures with names like Nitro, Zap, Turbo, and Ice. It was exciting to see real competition and I don't think I'm alone in my fond memories which is why I am so excited that they brought the show back.

The new American Gladiators (check out the official NBC page for the show) just began and I can't tell you how happy I am. Ever since I heard it was coming back I have been excited and trying to get everyone I know to watch. I was a bit worried that they would try and make this new version flashy and silly and somehow take away from the competition but I have to say I am quite pleased. They changed the costumes, now the gladiators wear silver (I guess the red white and blue stars and stripes patriotism doesn't have the same appeal that it did in the 1980's - oh the days of American flag fashion). While they have added a few new events most of the great ones from the original show (assault, joust, hang tough, and of course the eliminator to name a few) are still part of the competition. The new gladiators seem like good choices though they somehow feel smaller than the old ones, though I guess leaner is a better way to say it. The women are sexy (I have to say Crush & Siren are my current faves) and cut and the men are forces to be reconed with like the 6'8" Justice who towers above everyone or Titan who seems to be as wide as he is tall. I think Hulk Hogan was the ideal choice to host the show. Seeing him reinforces the nostalgia of the original show - ah the heroes of my youth. Unfortunately they gave him a flop of a co-host in Laila Ali. I understand why they chose her in that she is an athletic icon and certainly not opposed to being part of competitive reality shows but this cannot make up for the fact of how poorly spoken she is. It's painful to hear her try and interview contestants. When competitors are falling over tired and completely out of breath and they still sound better than the person interviewing them there is a huge problem. It goes beyond fumbling over words to the point where she sounds relatively incompetant. You'd think after being interviewed every week while she was on Dancing With the Stars perhaps she would learn some sort of speaking skills but this doesn't seem to be the case and that indicates she probably won't get any better at it. My gosh there are plenty of female athletes out there that probably could do a better job and some with names just as big. What about Venus or Serena Williams? Both of them are strong, sexy, and from what I have heard in interviews well spoken. I guess it doesn't really matter though since her camera time is so limited. So aside from Laila I only have one other problem with the show so far. They have not figured out how to shoot it yet which is kind of funny since they could have referenced the 7 seasons of the original show to see how to get the best camera angles on the events. But none of these things take away from how fun this show is. The events still rock and true competition is always thrilling to watch.

Perhaps this is a good time to bring this show back. At a time where kids look up to spoiled talentless tarts who gain fame by having sex on camera in night vision and drugged out train wrecks who would be better off if they never left rehab, maybe it would nice to see kids look up to people who gain fame for being strong, athletic, healthy (or at least give the appearance of health) individuals - both the competitors and the gladiators. Standard athletes seem to have lost much of their appeal (not that women's athletics ever really got publicity or fan fare). Perhaps silver suited goliaths is the way to go, let kids work to get the the body and skills of a gladiator, let them want to compete.

Anyway I give American Gladiators my seal of approval. It seems that NBC gave it a home on Mondays at 8pm so check it out.