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DRAGONBALL: EVOLUTION (Article) - 4/12/2009 4:03:00 AM

It is better than Streetfighter, which just makes it a somewhat competent but heavily cliched movie. It's basically a direct-to-DVD flick with more SFX than you'd find in a direct-to-DVD flick.

Expect it to die at the box office just as Streetfighter did. The Saturday matinee I attended had a grand total of three people, not including the staff checking the auditorium's thermostat (which was the high point of the movie-going experience).

Slaughter (Article) - 4/3/2009 6:02:40 AM

I also take exception to the opening line of the review, but darkheart beat me to it.

However, I also don't agree with his assertion that a writer/director making a bad horror movie is "rare." Unlike the horror classics which he listed, we tend to forget those writer/directors who make wretched horror movies. Two of the most infamously bad horror movies of all time - Plane Nine from Outer Space and Manos: The Hands of Fate were both products of writer/director auteurs. Just for kicks, I checked out IMDB's ten lowest rated horror movies (ratings of 1.1 to 1.4, which is no small feat), and eight of them were written or co-written by the same person who directed.


Sarah Connor Chronicles: Ourselves Alone (Article) - 3/8/2009 7:22:31 AM

...the Sarah Connor Chronicles ratings have tanked big time this season. They went from 11.4 million viewers last season to a measly 4.95.

The ratings for SCC dropped to 3.5M viewers as soon as it moved to Friday night. The most recent episode logged a series-low 3M viewers. Even factoring in the DVR numbers, it's going to take a miracle to avoid cancelation.

Meanwhile, Dollhouse opened to 4.5M viewers and is now down to 3.5M viewers. Its prospects are a bit better than SCC due to higher DVR numbers, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

The Sky-Monster (Article) - 3/8/2009 6:52:40 AM

I'm rather open-minded about various cryptids. Indeed, my Mania name is lifted from one such local legend. But I do have tremendous doubts about this encounter.

Sounds most likely to me that he observed a common vulture and the peyote morphed it into a pterodactyl. It was also late at night, a time when even the most sober minds are sometimes open to some trickery (there's a reason it's called "the witching hour"). It's a pity that his desert sojourn wasn't with a friend (preferably someone not on a hallucinogen) to compare/contrast the experience.

BTW NIck, I heard you on the Uncanny Radio podcast - you really do get around! Interesting talk on the other odd phenemona around Loch Ness. I recall reading a book on Loch Ness which also mentioned the mysterious "Men in Black" years before the public perception was forever altered by the Will Smith movie.

Dollhouse: Stage Fright (Article) - 3/3/2009 3:09:53 AM

I really cringed when I saw the previews for this episode. One thing I've learned by watching way too much tv over the years is that these pop-star episodes are always dreadful. Dollhouse is increasing reminding me of Alias, but in doing so also reveals how much better Alias was.

Sorry Joss, I'm officially taking Dollhouse off my tv-viewing schedule. I'll blame the results on Fox's meddling, but a mediocre series is a mediocre series. Even if the series turns around in quality, I suspect it won't last the season before Fox trashes it for something cheaper to produce anyway.

Dollhouse: The Target (Article) - 2/22/2009 10:12:19 PM

Slight nitpick here... it's Joss Whedon not Wheadon.

This episode could have been called Hard Target Part 2 or Surviving the Game Part 2 because it featured the same sort of formula as those two films.

The basic plot format of a human hunting human prey has been around for quite some time, with the 1924 short story The Most Dangerous Game usually credited as the origin. It's been adapted into movies for decades (starting in 1932, filmed on the same sets being used for King Kong). A number of tv shows have also made use of the plot, everything from Gilligan's Island to The Incredible Hulk. Heck, Whedon himself has already visited this plot (check out the "Slayerfest 1998" storyline in the Homecoming episode of Buffy).

That said, Dollhouse is not off to a great start, but given that it's a Whedon production, I'll give it more time to establish itself. I've never been disappointed by any of his series. Also great to see Amy Acker again.

Monsters Down Under (Article) - 2/21/2009 9:32:43 PM

Possums do carry their young on their back for awhile, once they get too big for the pouch.

There's also about 100 species of marsupials in Latin America, with the 'possum being the lone marsupial to make the trek across the Rio Grande. Plus you can find a handful of species in the islands between Asia and Australia.

I don't think science has a reasonable explanation as to why marsupials have thrived in Australia and South America and not elsewhere. Some say it's their lower metabolism due to the heat. Others have said there's some sort of genetic advantage - marsupialism tends to protect the mother (which gives birth to relatively undeveloped offspring after a brief gestation period) while making the offspring more vulnerable.

One thing that does make sense is that the marsupials are somewhat more limited in their evolutionary choices compared to their placental counterparts. Because they are designed with forelimbs which must grasp the mother's skin to reach the mother's nipples at birth, such evolutionary options as wings (bats), flippers (seals, etc), or hooves (horses, deer, cows, antelope, etc) are not possible. These advantages may be what give the placental mammals an advantage over the marsupials in the rest of the world.

The Top 20 Greatest Horror Writers of All-time (Article) - 2/21/2009 9:03:59 PM

Excellent list. It's great to see a well-balanced list, going back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. I'd like to toss another name out for at least Honorable Mention: William Hope Hodgson.

Hodgson's "House on the Borderland" was a great influence on Lovecraft, and all of his stories are every bit as creepy and disturbing as Lovecraft's. True to the curse of great horror writers, Hodgson died young, killed by an artillery shell late in World War I at age 40.

Two thoughts this column brought to mind:

1) Instead of remaking and rehashing every horror movie ever made, why not adapt more already existing stories? Any one of the above authors have a wealth of adaptable stories which have never made it to the screen.

2) Speaking of remakes, I'd much rather see more original and thoughtful columns (like this one) than the rehashes. Intelligent writing and discussion is always more interesting to me than snarky columns (snark comes cheap on the net; intelligent not-so-much). But if you must give us a weekly dose of snark, at least use some of your talented in-house writers.

Frank Miller to unthaw BUCK ROGERS next (Article) - 12/20/2008 5:57:37 AM

<p><em>'Buck Rogers' was created as a comic strip in 1928. </em></p> <p>Not quite.</p> <p>The character (along with WIlma Deering and Dr. Huer)&nbsp;was created&nbsp;by Philip Francis Nowlan, and first appeared in a couple of novellas published in the sci-fi pulp <strong>Amazing Stories </strong>in 1928. The following year the characters were adapted into a comic strip.</p>

5 Upcoming Comic Book Movies That Must Be Stopped (Article) - 12/6/2008 10:56:30 AM

<p>I realize that this is article is a humor piece, but no comic-based superhero movie would ever get off the ground if we only dwell on the elements that will appear absurd on screen. Recent comic book adaptations clearly show that film makers realize that the movie versions of comic books need some &quot;grounding&quot;&nbsp;in the real world (The&nbsp;change in the X-Men costume design, for instance).</p> <p>Submariner - I highly suspect that the film version will do away with the little ankle-wings, and I'm pretty sure the costume will morph from the thong to a full-bodysuit of some sort.&nbsp;And it's true that Submariner (like Aquaman) always looks like a third wheel trying to find something useful to do when working in conjunction with other superheroes, but since this movie will (presumably)&nbsp;not involve other superheroes, I'm sure it can work just fine with a plot taylored for the character.</p> <p>Captain Marvel&nbsp;- Sure he's a knockoff of Superman, but that could work to the movie's advantage. People aren't as familiar with Capt. Marvel, so expectations will be different. The writers could actually make the character <em>fun </em>instead of having him be hamstrung with Supe's famous &quot;Big Blue Boy Scout&quot; persona. Remember how much fun Tom Hanks had in &quot;Big&quot; when he went from being a kid to a grown up? Add in superpowers and let the fun begin!</p> <p>Luke Cage - I'm not very familiar with this character, but seems to me that this character could be updated for the times quite easily. And the costume could be dispensed with altogether.</p> <p>Thor - I think this one is the riskiest of all. If McKidd gets the role, it seems like they may be doing some severe &quot;grounding&quot; compared to the comic incarnation. Looking forward to this with some degree of trepidation.</p> <p>Green Lantern - Ok, the big problem here seems to be the choice of writer/director. Sure, Berlanti got his start on teen dramas. But what's not being said is that he has since moved on to adult character-driven dramas like Eli Stone, Brothers &amp;&nbsp;Sisters, and DIrty Sexy Money. And one of the co-writers is a frequent collaborator of Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, who has a good bit of experience writing comics for both DC and Marvel. He's also working with Michael Green, who has a long history as a second unit director of major effects/action movies, and Aaron Sims, who has an impressive record doing production design for dozens of sci-fi/fantasy movies. I'd like to see what Berlanti and his team come up with. There's only so many top directors for the genre, and most of them are booked up (del Toro alone has&nbsp;his schedule filled 'til about 2050), so some of these projects have to get doled out to less experienced people. Hopefully we'll see some new talent emerge.</p>


Date Joined: June 15, 2006