Flick Review

Directed by JJ Abrams

To quote Monty Burns: “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I hate, and I don’t hate this.” Right off the bat let me say I’ve found JJ. Abrams’ previous work to be mediocre at best, Lost jumped the shark after the second episode, and while I do agree that when an alien monster does eventually rampage through Manhattan, the first images of it will indeed be shot with crappy phone cameras, and shaky digital video, when it came down to it I just didn’t care about the whiney, rich yuppie fucks fleeing the creature in Cloverfield. So even though I’m not one of the rabid fanboys currently drinking the Abrams Kool-Aid, as I was watching the flick I actually realized I was getting caught up in this shiny, new non-Shatner reboot of the Trek franchise.

In the 23rd century, The U.S.S. Kelvin is destroyed by a huge, technologically superior starship, killing George Kirk, but not before he rescues most of the crew, including his newborn son, Jim. Ten or so years later in Iowa, a young James Tiberius Kirk (Jimmy Bennett) is running from the law in his stepfather’s 1967 (clearly a tip of the hat to the first year of the original series) Corvette Stingray. He clearly has no use for the rules that govern society, as he is a total badass, even at this young age. Across the galaxy, on the planet Vulcan, the young Spock (Jacob Kogan) is hazed and abused by his fellow students for his half-Vulcan, half-Human heritage. Another ten years pass and we catch up with Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) at Starfleet Academy, and soon the two will find their destines entwined forever. Starfleet graduate and Commander Spock is totally pissed when Kirk “cheats” on the Kobayashi Maru test, but the hearing is cancelled when a distress call is received from Spock's home planet of Vulcan. Though Kirk is not assigned to a vessel, Dr. McCoy uses his position as a ranking medical officer aboard the Federation's flagship U.S.S. Enterprise to sneak his friend on-board. When Kirk learns that the phenomena appearing above Vulcan is the same “lightning storm in space” that preceded the destruction of his father’s starship the Kelvin, he convinces both Captain Pike and Commander Spock that the event may actually be a Romulan Trap. Kirk's instincts are correct, and the Romulan starship, Commanded by a nutcase named Nero (Eric Bana) reveals its true intentions, and a series of events that threatens the existence of the Federation and jeopardizing the destiny of Starfleet's best is thrown into motion.

The performances are for the most part strong, the fan service amusing, (Kirk fucks a green chick, a “red shirt” biting it, etc.) The visual effects are spectacular, and the story is half decent, even if they had to go back to the old “time travel” formula used so often in both the original series and movies.

The blu-ray boasts a ridonkulously beautiful 1080p transfer that just fucking pops. Blacks are inky good, colours vibrant, and detail is astoundingly sharp. The sound is every bit as good, Paramount’s Dolby True-HD sound track will beat your home theatre sound system to a pulp before taking names and doing all over again. The action sequences are stunning, and the dialog is as crisp and clear as you would expect. Defiantly one of the best audio tracks I’ve heard in a long time.

So while I don’t hate this flick, I still wish they could have found a way to get Shatner into the story, and I don’t really buy Abrams’ reason as to why he couldn’t be in it. Canon? Really? He couldn’t be in it because he dies in the future? And since when did trekkies care about continuity anyways? Star Trek continuity changed at the speed of plot if I recall…

Ah well.


It would seem that JJ Abrams succeeded in making a Star Trek flick that is accessible to both fans of the franchise, and non-trekkies alike and for that he should be applauded, and the flick is actually half-decent so I give it 4 sexy green chicks out of 5. The blu-ray extras are a different story altogether and only rate a 3 out of 5, as I really expected a lot more.



Unlike the great Ian Malcolm, I love always being right. It has always been my opinion that something was terribly wrong with the Global Warming crowd. Maybe it was because they never wanted to debate the “science” behind it, or maybe it was because they treated sceptics like holocaust deniers, or maybe because most of them treated it more like a religion instead of the undecided science that it was. As it happens, Al Gore's Climageddon has been postponed. Like forever.

This week the New York Times, of all papers, broke the news that computer hackers broke into the files of one of the world's leading climate monitoring agencies at the U.K.'s University of East Anglia last week. What they uncovered has sent Liberal and Socialist Global Warming Nutbars screeching for an enquiry as to how the security breach occurred. They still don't want to admit they are wrong however...

For those that don’t know, the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit is the leading institution concerned with the study of anthropogenic climate change. The CRU was the main source of information Al Gore used for his hilarious work of fiction: An Inconvenient Truth.

Anyway, the hackers found thousands, yes THOUSANDS of e-mails, and documents pertaining to the powerful research unit’s stand on global warming. “So what?” you might well axe, “It’s their mandate, is it not to research and report truthfully on man made global warming?” Well, yes it is… and no. No because when their hypothesis (that evil mankind was killing the planet) didn’t mesh with their findings, so they decided to lie about what they discovered to prove their hypothesis. Which is, as everyone knows, the opposite of what scientists are supposed to do when researching.

Here are some examples of what was discovered by the hackers:

From Phil Jones To: Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University). July 8, 2004

"I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"

For those that don’t know, the IPCC is the UN body charged with monitoring climate change. Apparently, Phil Jones and Kevin Trenberth did not want it to consider studies that in any way challenge the view that global warming is real and caused by man.

In this next e-mail, Kevin Trenberth as good as admits there is no evidence of warming, yet…

From: Kevin Trenberth (US National Center for Atmospheric Research). To: Michael Mann. Oct 12, 2009
"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't... Our observing system is inadequate"

Here, they can’t even hide their distain for anyone who dares question their “reasearch.”

From: Michael Mann. To Phil Jones, Ray Bradley, Malcolm Hughes, S. Rutherford. Tue, 11 Mar 2003
The Soon & Baliunas paper couldn't have cleared a 'legitimate' peer review process anywhere. That leaves only one possibility—that the peer-review process at Climate Research has been hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board. And it isn't just De Frietas, unfortunately I think this group also includes a member of my own department...
The skeptics appear to have staged a 'coup' at "Climate Research" (it was a mediocre journal to begin with, butits a mediocre journal with a definite 'purpose').
It is pretty clear that thee skeptics here have staged a bit of a coup, even in the presence of a number of reasonable folks on the editorial board (Whetton, Goodess, ...). My guess is that Von Storch is actually with them (frankly, he's an odd individual, and I'm not sure he isn't himself somewhat of a skeptic himself), and without Von Storch on their side, they would have a very forceful personality promoting their new vision.
There have been several papers by Pat Michaels, as well as the Soon & Baliunas paper, that couldn't get published in a reputable journal. This was the danger of always criticising the skeptics for not publishing in the "peer-reviewed literature". Obviously, they found a solution to that--take over a journal!

From: Michael Mann. To: Phil Jones and Gabi Hegerl (University of Edinburgh). Date: Aug 10, 2004
"Phil and I are likely to have to respond to more crap criticisms from the idiots in the near future.”

There are about three thousand of these e-mails, many of which appear to be regarding the scientists trying to figure out ways to deny freedom of information requests to see their data, as well as exaggerating global warming data, illegally destroying information that contradicts their hypotheses, manipulating data to prove theories, and much, much more.

What else can one say? While Al Gore was ripping people off in Toronto, charging $500 a head to listen to his lies, the real news about so-called man-made climate change was breaking all over the world. We can only hope that the Liberal dominated mainstream media takes its collective head out of the sand and runs the story, but we all know how likely that is.


Crouching Tiger/ Drunken Moron

This is for me the “feel good” story of the week, quite possibly the year. Not only does it make me happy on a Monday, (no mean feat) but it also proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Darwin was right.

Some drunken dingle berry chose to break into the Calgary Zoo in the middle of the night and jump into the tiger cage, where a two-year-old Siberian Tiger mauled his arm so badly that it may have to be removed. Awesome.

Which leads me to axe this question: how many tinnies of Lucky Strong do you have to crush to make breaking into the zoo and crawling into the tiger paddock seem like a reasonably good idea? I’m betting eight, give or take one or three.

I mean really, you and a bud are hanging out having a few “pops” and at some point the two of you decide to move the party elsewhere. I’ve been there and done that, it happens, BUT almost (well, always) 100% of the time “elsewhere” ends up being a pub, or someone’s flat somewhere within walking distance. Never, and I mean not even one time did I ever say: “Hey McBain, what say you and I wander on over to the zoo and play pin the tail on the tiger for real.” Nor would I. Personally there is not enough booze on the planet to make that seem like a good idea.

The saddest thing about this story is that the drunken tool who was mauled survived the attack, living to possibly breed and spread his stupidity, and moronisizm (yep, I had to make up a new word for this idiot’s actions) onto the next generation and this my friends is the real tragedy.


Indian Summer??

So seeing how the last few days have brought us chilly weather more appropriate to the season, I feel I must think back to last Wednesday, the 23rd of September. On that day here in the Town of Cows, it got up to 93F (that’s 34C for all you metricentrics out there) which was apparently a new temperature record for that date in history… or at least since 1998 or something.

Everybody at the office, from the code monkeys hanging around the lunch room, to the choads in the lab were blathering on about the “Indian Summer” (or for the Politically Correct out there “Native American Indigenous Persons Summer”) which got me wondering; what exactly is an “Indian Summer” anyway?

I heard the term tossed around in my youth and had always been under the impression that it was something that that happened when the region experienced a full summer, followed by a few days, weeks, or maybe even a month of uncharacteristically warm early autumn weather.

I had to know the truth so I whipped it out. That’s right, I pulled out the old Webster’s Dictionary and found out that Indian Summer is described as 1. a period of warm or mild weather in late autumn or early winter.

Not only were the code monkeys, and the lab choads wrong but (gasp!) I was too!

There’s a first time for everything I suppose…


Blame France, Not Britain

So on the news the other day I heard a story about a tiny group of whiny Pure Laine Quebecois who managed through bitching and moaning to cause the cancellation of a yearly historical re-creation of the Battle on the Plains of Abraham. For those of you who don’t know what this is here is a brief history lesson.

The Plains of Abraham was the location of many battles between the Imperial French and British Empires, where in 1759 the British Army defeated the cheese-eating surrender monkeys of the French Imperial forces. Without British victory in this battle, North America would be very different than it is today.

This year however, the event was cancelled due to interference from the mostly racist
Pure Laine members of the separatist Parti Québécois and Bloc Québécois who for purely political reasons began criticizing the event as a slap in the face for Quebecois. They couldn't’t be more wrong in their posturing.

The defeat of the French Imperial Army in 1759 was the BEST thing to happen to Quebec because it set in motion the domination of the French-Canadian minority over the English majority for the next 250 years and beyond. So for this, French Canada should be forever grateful.

Why? Well because IF the French had beaten the Brits back in 1759, then Quebec would still be part of France in 1803, when Thomas Jefferson made a little deal with Napoleon called The Louisiana Purchase. If Quebec had been part of that deal then the territory would eventually become one of 50, or 51, or however many states.

What would this mean for Quebec? Well,
USAmerica is a melting pot, meaning the French Québécois would be speaking USAmerican ENGLISH. Quebec would NOT under any circumstances be allowed to hold the United States hostage with the threat of separation because the separatist Parti Québécois and Bloc Québécois would not exist there because there is no absurd Government mandated “tax payer cash allotment” for third, fourth, and fifth rate political parties like there is in Canada. No, all Quebec would be if the French had won that battle would be a backwater state no different than Maine, North Dakota, or Rhode Island, and they most certainly would have no language police to oppress the Anglos, nor would they be ever be declared their own “nation.”

What would this mean for Canada? Canada would be much stronger financially as a nation without Quebec. Even if official bi-bilingualism was gone the money saved would be enough to make every tax-payer in Canada a millionaire. Imagine no bi-lingual packaging, no tax-sucking French TV and radio, no separatist political parties using tax-payers money to break up the country! Imagine the English speaking majority not having to suck up and kiss the butt of the spoiled child of confederation for the last two hundred or so years! But most importantly, imagine no French on the spines of your dvd and blu-ray cases! ;)

No, the reenactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham is NOT a slap in the face for Quebecois, because if they understood their own history they would know it is what made Quebec the most powerful nation in Canada today, and they should not forget that.


Prepare to be Reviewed

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Directed by Michael Bay

Two years after the events in Transformers the Autobots are working with a secret military taskforce hunting down rogue Decepticons. Meanwhile, Sam is off to Princeton University and wants to start off his new life sans giant alien robots, but lurking in the background a new sinister threat looms…

Okay, off the top as I have said before (I coined the term of phrase actually): Michael Bay is part of the problem with Hollywood today. He, and the major studios, are a big reason why it is so difficult for independent writers and filmmakers to get studios to look at their work, and one of the reasons why flicks cost so godsdamn much to make these days, and why it costs thirteen bucks a seat @ the box office.

BUT that being said, you give Bay 200 million bucks to make a flick about giant robots beating the crap out of each other and blowing shit up, and you are not left wondering where all that cash went. Every penny of that 200 mil is visible on the big screen.

In fact, the first hour of this flick is pretty good, robot fights, explosions, Megan Fox… hmmm… anyway it all builds up to a decent climax, then it stalls out, sputters back to life, then starts the whole process all over again, both exhausting and deafening the viewer by the time the final credits roll. The plot is simple, the movie is loud, bombastic, popcorn fodder. Its funny I read Roger Ebert’s review the other day and he used the term “incomprehensible” when he described the plot. Er, really Mr. Ebert? Methinks if he finds to plot of Revenge of the Fallen too difficult to understand, then maybe its time for him to hang up his pen, and give up his balcony seat to ME because he is clearly suffering from the mad cow… but I digest…

Who cares about the story anyway! Bring on the giant alien robots fighting, of which there is plenty in this flick. Once again John Tuturro is one of he best things about This Transformers flick, oh and Megan Fox… did I mention she’s in this flick? And that she is uber-hot?

Anyway, the problem that writers Roberto Orci, Ehren Kruger, and Alex Kurtzman, have in this flick is trying to please all those stupid-assed, obsessive, bot fan-boy choads by throwing a heap of so-called “fan favourite” characters into the flick that do nothing but show up onscreen for two minutes, say one or two lines and are gone from the screen faster than Keyser Söze. Somebody tell me what the point was in having the constructicons and Devastator in the flick at all? Any Decepticon could have climbed up the pyramid and started busting shit up only to get blasted in half five minutes later. My advice to Orci, Kruger, and Kurtzman is to completely ignore the fan-base and try to write the best film they can, that makes sense and ties up the half dozen or so loose ends left dangling in this mediocre “summer blockbuster.”

It’s not all bad really, that bit at the beginning with all the home appliances turning into Decepticons amused me because back in 1985 Julian and I came up with the exact same ideas, for our own personal amusement of course… I’m sure Michael Bay didn’t somehow get a hold on my old notes and drawings…or DID HE? Heh, just kidding.

In the end it just isn’t a very good flick, and that’s too bad. I was expecting “The Empire Strikes Back,” and instead got “Attack of the Clones.” Oh well, better luck next time.

Oh, and it was nice to see Starscream (my fave Decepticon) get a few more lines and stuff to do in this flick, so that and the hotness of Megan Fox, is why Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen gets a TWO out of FIVE.


My Favourite Dictator

Happy Belated Memorial Day to all you USAmericans out there, “I personally believe that USAmericans…don’t have maps” ah forget it. I would have had this up yesterday, but The Company that I work for has seen fit to BLOCK CMBZ… it’s a conspiracy I tells ya. Anyway, here is a note to USAmerican President Barack Hussein Obama:

Stop it with your baseless, unfair condemnation of the General Secretary of the Worker’s Party of Korea, the Great Leader himself, Kim Jong-il.

Yes, Great Leader Kim Jong-il, a man whose Legendary exploits are the stuff of Legend! Have you seen the size of the fish he caught? Have you heard of all of those holes in one he’s hit? Have you seen his video collection? And what about that hair?!

He is the Great and Glorious Leader of North Korea and YOU are only alive today because he has allowed it, so you will show him some GODDAMN RESPECT!

You are lucky he even performs for you BASTARDS! Leave Kim Jong-il ALONE!!!!!!


The Official Calgary Comic Expo Blog

Was sick for a couple of days… Just a cold caught from the thousands of sick, coughing, sneezing humans @ the CCE, not the so-called “swine-flu.” It’s almost funny the amount of goo that builds up in the ole sinus cavities!

Anyway, was down @ the Calgary Comic Expo on the Saturday and am left wondering somewhere in the recesses of my brainmeats that oh-so eternal question axed by old guys in buddy cop movies: am I getting too old for this shit?

The truth of it is, I had completely forgotten about the CCE up until a week before it was on and was only reminded by me buddy Dooks on a visit to his store. At that moment it dawned on me that I was completely unprepared, had planned nothing, saved nothing, and on top of everything couldn’t even be certain of my attendance. On the way home I mulled, and hemmed, and hawed in the dark cavern of my mind and came to the conclusion that no, I would not in fact be attending this year, I would stay home and relax, perhaps read a book or something.

As the week progressed I found myself going back and forth like a tennis match in my head: should I stay or should I go? After a Friday night of beers and Rock Band on the 360 that lasted until 4AM, and the sudden knowledge that Edward Freaking James Olmos, Mr. American Me himself was to attend the Expo, I decided I would indeed attend.

Woke up around 9:30 Saturday morning and got my shit together, showered, dressed and was @ the Big4/Round-p Center/Corral by 11:00. And it all went wrong big time, so much so that I nearly fled the scene. I bought a ticket (was it always $20 to get in?) and was then instructed to get in line for entrance. I looked at the entrance; people were filing in through the big double-doors, why could I not just go in with them? Or what of the half dozen other entrances to “Hall D?” Then I remembered back to the Big Convention, back to Celebration 4 and it all became clear to me: the organizers of these events just LOVE to make people WAIT IN LINES. Even if there is no need to. Especially if there is no need to.

So I strolled through the hallways of Hall D of the new edition to the round up center, through the old complex, passed the corral, almost out the back door and into the parking lot, up the stairs to the west entrance of the Saddledome. About four or five city blocks worth of line-up, and I waited. And waited. Four blocks of line, three deep with Filthy Humans, ripe with the B.O. and diet Dr. Pib stench of Geek… was I the only Geek in attendance with the good sense to SHOWER this morning??? Perhaps or perhaps not… but the stench was palpable, hanging in the air like a living thing, a funky companion of which there was no escape.

I was in line, for an hour, slowly moving forward, inches at a time before finally making it through the first set of doors into the anti-room where the fan groups were housed and the meeting rooms where the panels were to be held. This area is thick with costumed Geeks, and fat guys squeezed into Star Trek shirts that are many sizes too small, as well as cos-playing 13 year old girls dressed as their favorite “yaoi” manga characters. Oh hey, there is a Klingon! And a Stormtrooper! And then right in front of me passes none other than UglySkinnyGreasyGlassesGirl and her friend HomelessLookingGuy from the city’s Anime club! I shudder to think of how far we’ve fallen. This is the very stereotype of Geek Culture that “normals” latch onto when they seek to deride us, the very thing I have been fighting against my whole Geek life.

I find myself @ the doors to the main hall and as soon as I am through the doors everyone in front of me grinds to a dead stop. Come on. I want to scream out to everyone: “FUCKING GET A MOVE ON!” but I don’t. I dig deep for the patience of the Jedi, the patience that seems to be evaporating from my being with each passing second. Breathing. Deep breaths. I push forward through the crush of people and try to get a look @ some of the various wares the dealers and scalpers are selling in this great hall of Consumer-Geek-Culture.

All around me, male and female Geeks of all shapes, sizes and hairstyles are coughing, sneezing, sniffing, chitting and chatting, as they meander, slowly shuffling like the zombies in Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, searching back and forth, scanning the tables and booths for something that might pique their interest, or perhaps just something distractingly shiny.

It took me most of a half-hour just to push and shuffle my way to the Red Five Collectables booth. I dived sideways like a running-back avoiding a tackle, pulling myself from the mass of sweaty humanity to the relative safety of the booth. I chatted with some buddies, my eyes big as saucers, and annoyance level firmly in the red over the sheer number of Geeks in attendance. A confined space, ten thousand people, and they’re all in front of me.

After catching up, and catching my breath, I dove back into the moving mass of smelly Geek. I try to check out some of the different dealer booths and tables, but it seems every time I try to move off to one side, the current of the crowd sweeps me past and away from the table that caught my eye.

I should have known… it’s usually quite difficult to get to see anything in the first couple of hours of these conventions, so I decided a different strategy was in order. My idea was to skim around the perimeter, then make a bolt for the inside aisles in an attempt to check the whole place, returning later only to the booths and tables that contained items I was interested in purchasing. Hit and run, zip in, zip out, like going to Wisconsin.

This of course posed a new problem: The Stoppers. Those Geeks, mostly with small children and babies in flimsy but wide push-carts that feel they have to stop in the middle of the aisle every five seconds because of a whining or screaming kid. I have two suggestions for you: step to the side and let people through, or pay the five bucks for a fucking baby-sitter, and leave the squealing pink-grub @ home! This way you don’t have to slowly push a baby pram through a huge crowd, inconveniencing EVERYONE and you don’t contribute unnecessarily to the stink of the crowd with the wonderful stench of a shit-filled diaper! I don’t want to go off on a RANT here but look, I understand you Geeks out there who choose to breed want to have your genre-cake and eat it too by having kids and still participating in all the glories of the Geek Lifestyle to which you have been accustomed, but come on, have some consideration for others and get Grandma to take care of the kid for the day for once.

Eventually I found myself @ a booth with a shitload of G.I Joe figs and decided to have a quick, and what I thought would be a fruitless, look for the Blue Costumed, Green Sunglasses, “Olivia Munn features” Baroness® figure I’ve been trying to get my greedy little hands on for months. Just as I was ready to give up the ghost, I spotted her surrounded by a heap of Dukes® and Storm Shadows®. I pulled her from the peg and tried to pay, but was told to go to the other side of the booth. I did happily knowing that “Olivia Munn features” Baroness® would soon be mine, I will have paid way too much for it, but it would be MINE. There was no one in line and I reckoned this would take only a few seconds to pay and be on my way… WRONG! As soon as I came around the corner of the booth two people materialized seemingly from no-where, in the line in front of me. I shook my head and trudged forward thinking; at least they have interac® as a payment option, as cash was pretty tight this week/every week, so being able to access the accounts directly was a huge plus since 96% of dealers on the floor only accepted cash. The first guy in line zipped through quickly; a cash customer, the second guy tried to pay with interac®. Tried being the operative word, several swipes, two cards, and several minutes later the girl @ the till decided “his cards” didn’t work so in the end he paid with cash. I wanted to use my interac® card to free up the cash for a higher priced item later, but was now doubtful that the option was available. One, two, three, swipes, four or five tries, and two different cards later and a line queuing up behind me. Well, clearly there is something wrong with my cards… ER their machine, either that or the girl working the till didn’t know how to operate it! So much to my chagrin, I ended up paying with cash.

As the day wore on I began to feel a wee bit peckish and thought to grab a little snack from either the stampede burger kiosk or the pizza booth. Coming around the corner I saw the line for pizza and quickly fled, not wishing to wait a half hour in another line up. As for the burger kiosk, I don’t even think it was open… the decision was made! I would go without! It wouldn’t kill a fat guy like me to miss lunch on a Saturday afternoon anyway. And about that, one of the things I love about a huge Geek Fest like the Calgary Comic Expo is this: I am NEVER the fattest fuck in attendance. No matter how down on myself I may get with regards to my immense girth, there is always a bigger, fatter, geekier Geek waddling through the crowd to make me feel better about myself, if only for a moment.

I fought my way back to the Red Five booth and chatted briefly with buds before heading out the doors for a breath of fresh air. As I pushed open the glass doors on the west side of the complex, the cool air assaulted my senses, like a man crawling through the desert taking his first sip of cool, clean water, I drank back the fresh air greedily, gulping it in until I had my fill, then back inside to the warm, moist, fetid air of many, many, Geeks.

As I was saying “hey” to me buds from the Calgary Fan Force the thought of being too old for this shit again assailed my brainmeats. Was I getting too old, to grumpy, too ornery, too curmudgeonly, to have fun anymore? Even as the words drifted past my lips they felt hollow, empty, a lie. How could I be too old for this? Sure the crowds are unpleasant, and some of the dealers choose to scalp you on every purchase, but its all part of the experience. For two days all of Geekdom, from Otaku, to Steampunks, get together to celebrate their uniqueness, madness, Geekness. For those two days the geeks all get along the pettiness and politics of fandom are set aside as all are united in their quest for that one elusive book, t-shirt, comic, action figure, or autograph that their collections just must have, and if that is wrong, then baby I don’t want to be right.
*The Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo image is copyright the owners and used without permission.


Flick Review

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Scientist Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly) finds herself face to face with the alien Al Gore, oops, I mean Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) who traveled across the galaxy to warn the Earth of a theoretical -errr- impending environmental crisis. The Government treats the extraterrestrial as hostile, and denies his request to address the United Nations, so Helen and her stepson Jacob go on the run with Al -errr- Klaatu to try and convince him that the filthy Human inhabitants of the Earth are smarter than they look and should survive, but perhaps it is already too late.

I really went into this flick with an open mind, having been a huge fan of the original 1951 flick (which is included in the Blu-ray release as a great little bonus!), but about half way through began to get the distinct impression that the flick should have been called An Inconvenient Truth 2: The Wrath of Gore(t)!

It’s almost sad when the best thing about a huge budget sci-fi film like this is a pair of cameos by John Cleese and James Hong. Jennifer Connelly is gorgeous of course, and I can’t think of a role more perfect for Keanu than the straight-faced, emotionless alien-in-a-human-body, character he plays, but for my money the story was weak and full of holes, and if the story isn’t there, the film cannot work.

It seems as if the screenwriter(s) took the bare bones of the original, classic, and wrote it around a couple of weak action and effects shots, put it in a cocktail shaker, dumped it out and hoped for the best. As a science-fiction geek, I may have been able to almost over-look this if the visual effects were awesome, but to be honest, they are little more than mediocre throughout. The GORT robot is especially bad and looks so much like a crappy CG effect in every scene that it is truly, annoyingly distracting.

On the plus side the movie arrives on Blu-ray with a FANTASTIC 1080p, 2.35:1-framed transfer that is truly reference quality. The AQ is equally impressive with a remarkable DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack that will give your home theater the workout it deserves… except that means you have to watch the movie, so it’s kind of a trade-off.

The Blu-ray also includes a really good supplements package that in many ways is superior to the movie itself, but your mileage may vary.

Even taking the good with the bad, I still cannot recommend this flick and give TWO Dyson Spheres out of FIVE.


Work Time WTF!

Who does this? I know that I work with some filthy bastards, don’t we all? But who the hell is the grubby bastard that thinks its cool to spit gum into the urinal?

What exactly is wrong with you if you engage in this sort of behaviour, really what kind of douche thinks so little of others that while taking a pish they figure; why not just spit my tasteless gum into the urinal too?

You d-bagerinos know who you are, so maybe you should try to keep this in mind the next time the urge relieve yourself of your gum comes in the middle your relieving yourself: some poor minimum wage cleaner is going to have to fish that stinky, rubbery, piss-nugget out of there at the end of the day!


Urinal image from www.urinal.net/


Worktime WTF?!?

Who does this?

Working in an office has its perks; free coffee, internet, comfy chairs, and occasionally someone will bring in deliciously tasty treats like boxes of doughnuts or sausage rolls.

After the initial stampede of workers, stomping and elbowing their way to the free food as if they hadn’t eaten in a fortnight, there comes the inevitable lull and as the morning begins to wear on, the number of treats diminishes until the moment arrives when There Can Be Only One item left on the table.

So tell me who the hell is the psycho that ALWAYS chooses to eat like half a doughnut, or who takes one bite from a sausage roll, then puts it back on the table??? Honestly if you want to eat it, then JUST EAT THE FRIGGING THING!

If you don’t think you can finish an entire item then here are your choices:

1. Leave the item the fuck alone.

2. Throw out the rest of the food item after you have partially consumed it. Why? Because if I see food sitting anywhere, all sad and half-eaten like, looking pathetic in a dusting of it’s own crumbs, you bet your ass it is going in the trash.

What the hell is wrong with you people anyway?

This is not the end, not by a long shot!


Flick Review


Directed by Zach Snyder

“…two riders were approaching, and the wind began to howl.”

My hands were still shaking a little when I wrote this out in long hand, my brainmeats trying to decompress from what I witnessed on the giant IMAX screen only hours before.

Back in the eighties I used to go to a place called “Back To The Future Comics” for my bi-weekly four-colour fix, and I remember reading in one column or another about a 12 issue series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons called WATCHMEN that was coming soon. I was intrigued, the book sounded like something I would dig, so I told the comic store guy to add the title to my file at the store.

Reading it all those years ago I remember telling my friends how fantastic it was, but not once did I ever believe a film could be made of it. Indeed, I stated on many occasions to my comic book enthusiast friends that the story was “un-filmable.” Now after seeing the flick, I hold to my earlier statement.

Don’t get me wrong, WATCHMEN is not a bad film, on the contrary, it blew me away, the problem is that I am a “fanboy.”

The WATCHMEN books were something I’ve read many, many times over the years, each time discovering how densely layered the storytelling was and how it succeeds on every level even to this day. The story, the art, the supplements, everything works together to achieve a cohesive whole and if even one “cog” wasn’t there it could not have been as brilliant as it turned out to be. These twelve issues, later collected into graphic novel format and reprinted dozens of times truly changed the way we look at comic books forever.

As I have stated many times before, Film and Graphic Novels are two very different mediums, yet throughout the flick my mind could not help but drift to what was left out and what was changed. I enjoyed the film, but by knowing the original source material as well as I do, it changes the way I look at the film. The good news is that unlike the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, you won’t have to have read the book to understand what’s going on in the film.

Performances are solid throughout, especially Jeffery Dean Morgan as Edward Blake aka The Comedian. Also the music, sound, and set design, are all fantastic, and the level of detail in the world of WACTHMEN is exceptional to say the least. The story, while still satisfying, I think still left too much out, but I believe that’s more my problem than Zach Snyder’s who clearly from the very first frame shows he has a great passion for the source material.

Will Alan Moore hate it? Of course he will! He took his name off the project the second it was green-lit, and stated in Wizard #209 “I’m NEVER going to watch this fucking thing.” But can you really blame him considering the cinematic abortions that were League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and From Hell?

As for me, I give WATCHMEN Four blood-spattered smiley-faces out of Five.


Obama Is GOD!!!!!!

Yesterday the Toronto Illiterati and the Ottawa Press Gallery were buzzing, vibrating, and creaming themselves with joyous anticipation of their Lord God Barack Hussein Obama’s visit to Canada, presumably because in Liberal Central Canada the general consensus is that President Obama is the Savior of the world, and quite possibly the Universe.

These are the very same socialists that whines incessantly about how Canada was becoming “too friendly” with the United States during their last administration. Of course now these same folks are saying we “must be closer” with the USA because it is their skewed perception that the current Canadian government isn’t nearly as far up Obama’s ass as they could be.

Guess what guys, it’s the SAME COUNTRY! Trade, Foreign Policies, all these things the Liberal Media bitched, and moaned about before, all those so-called reasons they used to consistently bash the United States and her people are still there, except now there is a New Guy in charge.

I wonder what has changed exactly. Barack Obama is not some Magical Deity who is going to wave a wand, say some magical words, and suddenly make all the trouble in the world go away. He, like George W. Bush before him is just a man. A man who will do what he feels is in the best interest of his country and himself. He is a politician with not a lot of experience, but a politician none the less.

So maybe the Liberal Media should get down off their soap boxes for a while because apparently the air is a bit too thin up there these days.


Flick Review

Directed by Brett Leonard
"Seek the sauce..."

From the dawn of time they came, moving silently among us. They cannot die, unless they are beheaded, they are immortals… and their time is coming to an end. Sometime in the future the world, well Eastern Europe anyway, is in ruin for reasons never adequately explored, and Duncan Macleod (Adrian Paul) seems to be some kind of silent guardian, watching over the city like freaking Batman or something, and fighting crime. Then we find out via Mac’s old friend Methos (Peter Wingfield) that some kind of cosmic planetary alignment that makes no sense scientifically is going to bring about Armageddon while at the same time pointing to “The Source” of immortality. And this is just the first fifteen minutes, we also have the cheesiest villain to EVER pick up a sword in a Highlander production, and I am including all the previous flicks, every episode of the TV series, AND the hideous cartoon series from the nineties, and of course the so-called “greatest love of Macleod’s life” who has conveniently never before appeared in any other media, yet we are expected just to accept that she’s always been around I suppose.

To say that HIGHLANDER THE SOURCE is the worst of the Highlander flicks is a given; it is without a doubt the worst piece of Highlander fiction ever released. With the exception of Methos, and Joe (Jim Byrnes), the characters are weak and uninteresting, (even Adrian Paul looks bored throughout) the story is a bore, and the action sequences flat, the visual effects are TV movie in quality. All in all this is a brutally bad flick.

The funny thing is it came out on DVD about a year ago and sat on my shelf for a long time before I slipped it in the machine to give it a go; the first time I fell asleep thirty minutes in, a few months later I tried again, and I could not get through it on that second go around. Today as I sat at home doing laundry, I decided to try it again, this time I watched it all the way through. Mercifully, it was only 86minutes long, I swear if it was any longer I think I would have cut off my own head. And don't even get me started about the ending... yeesh!

HIGHLANDER THE SOURCE slices on to DVD with a dark, murky 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer and a somewhat less than adequate 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack. The so-called special features include “Highlander the Process” – A Behind the scenes documentary, Storyboard to Scene Comparisons, a Tribute to Bill Panzer, and a sneak peak at the upcoming Highlander video game for the x-box 360.

In the end there can be only a ONE out of FIVE.


Flick Review

A quick explanation of the new Flick Rating System. Now while it is still a numbered system, it has been decided that for clarification, the definition of the numbers be explained to the reader.

6 out of 5.
Sell your first born to see this. The most important piece of twenty-first century cinema you are ever likely to encounter.

5 out of 5. Freaking Amazing. Everything I expected from the flick and just that much more.

4 out of 5. A pretty damn fine flick. Could have been better of course, but not by much.

3 out of 5. It’s, as the kids say, ah-ight. If you enjoy the genre, see it, if not you are missing nothing.

2 out of 5. Meh. The only reason it gets two is because there were boobies.

1 out of 5. RUN AWAY! Complete waste of time you will never get back, and not even a single naked breast to be found.

And now, on with the review!

Kung Fu Panda

Directed by John Stevenson and Mark Osborne

I missed this one when it came to theatres and after finally seeing the flick, I have to say I wish I had taken the time. Jack Black plays the voice of Po, a lowly, noodle slurping, fat (FAT!) panda who dreams of better things. Po worships the Furious Five, a group of the most powerful martial artists in all of China. He plays with their action figures, and dreams of the day that he will stand beside them as a hero. When the day comes that one of the Five is to be awarded the title of “The Dragon Warrior," a recognition given to the most powerful of all Kung Fu Masters, Po heads to the Jade Temple, but arrives too late. Or does he?

The animation is this flick is so good; you will not even be able to describe how good it is. You’ll just be sitting there, watching this with your eyes like saucers trying not to miss a single nano-second of the incredible detail, and awesomeness that appears before you on your screen. Every shot is amazing, from the insane detail of the backgrounds, to the fur and clothes of the characters, this flick is pure eye candy at it’s best. And the story is not bad either! Who would have thought!

Kung Fu Panda kicks its way on to Blu-ray with a flawless, reference quality 2.35:1 framed 1080p transfer in which every frame features a gorgeous sense of depth and an abundance of beautifully rendered colour. It freaking pops as only a digital film can when care and cash are put up for the finest of high-definition transfers. The slick, balanced Dolby True HD 5.1 surround audio is a treat to the ears with the sound flowing naturally and evenly across the front speakers, and the perfectly rendered dialogue remaining firmly in the centre channel where it belongs. All in all, both picture and sound quality are reference material for folks wanting to show off their home theatre systems.

Kung Fu Panda comes with a decent amount of bonus materials including the Blu-ray exclusive Animator’s Corner, Trivia Track, and BD-Live Fun Features. Other “Secret Ingredients” include Dragon Warrior Training Academy, Help Save The Wild Pandas, and much more, the majority of it in HD.

For being an excellent flick with reference quality picture and sound, and giving me a good heaping helping of extras, Kung Fu Panda gets a 5 out of 5.


We're Baaaacckk....

Where is it? Where has the last year gone?

January 2K9, the start of a new freaking year and we here at the newly re-opened offices of ChilledMonkeyBrainz, broadcasting to you from the Pickled Pirate Pub are all full of pish and vinegar.

After a tumultuous Festivus and a little “creative” accounting, we here at CMBZ are happy to say that the insanity WILL continue into 2K9. You can’t get rid of us that easily.

Now for the sad news: Reiko Murakami has decided to leave us as Head Researcher in order to pursue a job that actually pays her! Imagine that! Good Luck Rei! We will miss you! Especially the giggling.

Anyway, stay tuned to the New and Improved CMBZ for more flick, game, and book reviews, short stories, and all the insanity you can shake a stick at coming up in the New Year.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… or is it stranger… I always forget.


The Jaeger


P.S. What is the DEAL with Santa? He SEES you when you are sleeping. He KNOWS when you are awake. Sounds like some kind of psycho stalker to me…

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