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The Top 10 Least Plausible Sci-Fi Movie Premises

Science Fiction, in most cases, requires some suspension of disbelief, but there are always those that push the envelope, and some that just shred it.

10. The Day After Tomorrow
I’m no Al Gore, and I don’t think I’ve ever even met a climatologist, but something about an ice age that creeps up in a few years, and not over a much longer timespan, seems very off to me. The cartoon Ice Age is probably more scientifically accurate.

9. The Core
So, the Earth is about to blow up or somesuch… again, and a MANNED drill/tunnel machine to the center of the Earth is the best option we have. I want the guy who pitched that idea and got it funding selling my used car.

8. Wanted
During my over-education, I actually took a graduate level course on “Naive Theories of Physics”. It was full of cognitive psychologists and philosophy students, and was a really interesting course. It is amazing how naive people are about the way the world works. Anyway, bottom line, if you don’t want to ask the scientists, ask The Mythbusters – you can’t bend bullets, Kari said so. Next.

7. Fantastic Voyage (and Innerspace)
… as well as tons of other rip-offs, including a very good Phineas & Ferb episode. Shrink someone down so they can travel inside the body???

6. Starship Troopers
A fun space-Marine romp, but the science behind those giant bugs is beyond suspect, they simply couldn’t support their own weight.

5. Avatar
Unobtanium. Really? Really?

4. The Fly
Genetic manipulation? Okay. Teleportation? Why not. The two combining to modify him into a part-fly abomination? Er, no. No less plausible than Spiderman as well, I suppose.

3. Zombies!
Okay, not a single movie, but movies like the brilliant 28 Days Later, plus Resident Evil, Shaun of the Dead, and Zombieland are some of my favourites. I love Zombies. Lets face it though, no matter how mad a cow becomes, it’s pretty unlikely it will start eating other cows, then pass that disease onto humans. What’s next, a strain of Bird Flu that mutates and passes to humans, giving us the ability to fly?

2. Terminator 5: The Governator
After failing to kill John Connor by military means, Skynet gets sneaky and sends a T-1000 back in time to infiltrate the political hierarchy. The Terminator becomes Governor of California, then draws john Connor to him with a series of ads promoting the state. Then the Governator breaks his will with punitive laws against Humvees, cigars, dirt bikes, skate boards, and rock music. It was a movie, right?

1. Armageddon
I can’t stop watching Armageddon. I’ve stayed up until 1 or 2 in the morning on a work night because I simply can’t compel myself to turn it off, it’s like suspension of disbelief porn… although Liv Tyler may have something to do with it too! It’s hard to even know where to start with Armageddon … shuttles taking off side by side, exploding space stations, the shuttles approaching the comet, the ridiculous ‘moon buggies’, the actual drilling sequences, or Ben Affleck in a decent movie other than Good Will Hunting. It all beggars belief!

Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve pointed out, some of my favourite movies are in this blog. Perhaps if an idea is so outlandish it becomes more plausible, there is some social psychology behind that somewhere, I’m sure. Anyway, I’m also sure I’ve missed some other less than plausible plot lines and movie premises – what are your favourites?

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The Avatar Blues – Sex and the Single Alien

April 30, 2010 Leave a comment

This blog brought to you by the letter ‘B’ and the colour ‘Blue’.

It’s been about a week since I picked up my copy of Avatar on Blu-ray, and a few related things have influenced this blog over the last week. I was not a huge fan of Avatar when it came out in the theater. It was a good movie, but way over-hyped in my opinion. It has to be said though, Avatar is stunning on Blu-ray. It looks and sounds amazing, and to top it off, the Blu-ray + DVD combo pack was only $20 at Best Buy! There are no special features though, and many people seem to be waiting for the special editions that will be coming out … and you know that there will be several of them, to cash in as much as possible.

Matriarch Benezia

Matriarch Benezia

One topic I have seen talked about at length is whether there will be any Na’vi sex scene in the special editions, or discussion of Na’vi sexuality. I don’t get the big deal. If you want some good blue alien sex, get Mass Effect! I just finished my 2nd play through of the game recently, and one thing I did finally figure out was getting the Paramour Achievement, which basically means you got to sleep with one of the female characters (or the male character if you play as a female). To make it more interesting, BioWare even created a little love triangle between the human characters and the Asari scientist, Liara, who is of course blue. Even Liara’s mother, Matriarch Benezia, gets the sexy blue treatment. She wears the dress shown above, revealing her true biotic, er, talents.

If you play the game right, you even get once scene where the two women confront you, forcing you to choose between them. Commander Shepard, with a glint in his eye, even asks about the chance of a threesome, but gets shot down by the human… the blue alien seemed up for it! Choose the Asari, disappointing Chief Ashley Williams in the process, and you will end up with a VERY steamy sex scene involving Shepard and Liara (well, steamy for a video game – see it below), complete with bare blue buttocks and a hint of much more!

Batchelor Life – I Survived!

April 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Okay, so as any of you who follow me on Twitter know, my wife (Twitter: @Fi_ca) and kids have been in England for the past 10 days attending a wedding – so I was doing the batchelor thing.

Batchelor Haute Cuisine

batchelor haute cuisine

There were some tense moments, such as tuna helper, Timbits, and Pinot Grigiot for dinner one night (see, really!) but on the whole I fared okay. Granted, there were lots of frozen items being defrosted, and eating 120% of your recommended salt intake in one meal may not be too smart, especially after my last physical, but I did learn a few valuable lessons.

One: It is entirely possible to use only one plate, one pan, one cup, one water glass, one wine glass, and one set of cutlery for an entire week … and yes, I do mean by washing them each day!

Two: Teenagers produce more garbage per week than you will see in an entire level of Katamari. I just put out the garbage for the week and it is so much less than when they are here.

Three: Cats may seem all aloof and solitary, but I have been mobbed all week by ours. This isn’t helping the paranoia I have developed regarding their intentions (see previous blog). Either they are about to unleash their evil plan, or they miss the wife and kids… if you don’t see another blog after this one, you know what happened.

menage a trois

menage a trois

It wasn’t all good eats and no garbage though. I invited a buddy over last Friday night to watch a movie – my new copy of Goodfellas, the fancy Blu-ray 20th anniversary edition. The wedding was actually last Friday, so it was also an excuse not to drink a bottle of wine alone. If I admit that it ended with Menage A Trois would you be shocked? I was, who the hell names a red wine Menage A Trois? I now understand that movie “Sideways” a lot more, and it still sucked.

skillet sensations

skillet sensations

Anyway, I have survived, and I hope that all you old farts who can’t cook and get left alone for any length of time can take heart from my experience.

You can do it, and you can have fun while you do. Perhaps playing Mass Effect until 1am isn’t your thing – but then you probably wouldn’t be reading my blog if it wasn’t.

I did also complete my week in style, by actually having vegetables with my final meal alone. I can tell you are all proud of me. Okay, so it was out of a packet, one of those Skillet Sensation meals, but it was very nice.

James Cameron missed a trick with The Terminator franchise

March 11, 2010 2 comments

If Arnold had gone back to Brooklyn, New York in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”, instead of Los Angeles he could have thwarted a far greater threat than Skynet.

Imagine if The Terminator had gone back to 1850 and helped the Connor’s target the fledgling headquarters of Charles Pfizer & Company, purveyors of “fine chemicals”. As well as getting to see the Governator in period costume, the eventual destruction of the Pfizer building would be a great blow for internet users of all kinds. Flash-Forward 160 years and imagine how much less spam email you would get every day without the flag-ship Pfizer product Viagra!

Imagine how it could have gone…

“Remain here, I shall return henceforth”

“Hasta la vista my good child”

“Charles Pfizer listened while the Terminator laid it all down: New York, Chicago, Penicillin, and Viagra, the history of things to come. It’s not everyday you find out that you’re responsible for 3 billion emails. He took it pretty well.”

Pfizer was the first company to produce penicillin in large enough quantities to be useful, and that was pretty vital come the D-Day landings and aftermath … but is that enough to make up for 300 spam emails a day? One thing for sure, old farts with young libidos would be out of luck, and Hugh Hefner would only have peaked at three live-in girlfriends instead of six.

Now if we can get Marty and his DeLorean to eradicate Rolex I might get my inbox back.

The dirtiest teams of all time

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

The Korean short-track skating team got disqualified so often at the recent Vancouver Olympics they must qualify as one of the dirtiest teams in Olympic history – not including issues with drugs, anyway. They may have even eclipsed Bonnie Blair of the US in the annals of short-track skullduggery, which is saying something!

This got me thinking, where would the Koreans rank in the pantheon of all-time dirty teams. I’m not sure I can place them, but where do you think they fall in this less than illustrious list, arranged alphabetically.

The Argentinian National Football (Soccer) Team
Even if you don’t include the “hand of God” (yes i’m still bitter, deal with it!), the Argentinians have dived and cheated their way to legendary status on this list. I’m still bitter about Simeone and Batistuta too.

Charlestown Chiefs (from the movie “Slapshot”)
Did i say they all had to be real teams? They were loosely based on the Johnstown Jets after all. The Chiefs, led by Paul Newman as player-coach Reggie Dunlop, are certainly one of the funniest teams of all time too, but don’t let that fool you. With the Hanson Brothers leading the way, the Chiefs made the fans happy, and started winning, when they turned to goonery. Easily one of the funniest sports movies of all time – “puttin’ on the foil coach!”

Detroit Pistons – circa 1990
The Pistons had some really great players, but they also had three of the toughest players ever in Lambier, Mahorn & Rodman. When Rodman was seen as the nicest of the three, you know what we’re dealing with. Ted Davis, longtime announcer for the Milwaukee Bucks, on Lambier: “Dirtiest player: Bill Lambier. The dirtiest of the dirty. Actually tried to hurt his opponent. Actually tried to hurt his teammates in practice. Was WWF before WWF was cool.” 😀

The Italian National Football (Soccer) Team
The don’t have a single defining moment like the Argentinians, they have a series of them! Ask the French and Aussies most recently, but you could make a good case they deserve the top spot. They have defined diving in world football for a long time, and have an amazing ‘pedigree’ in this category.

Los Angeles Raiders – NFL
The Raiders have long been known as a tough team, but Al Davis instilled a whole new level of belief in various iterations around Southern California. Davis was always the glue, and really built up the reputation. The fans, the “Raider Nation” also bought into it, and are some of the most fervent in the NFL.

New York Islanders – circa Early 80’s
While the Islanders were nowhere near as tough as the Chiefs or the Flyers (see below), having Billy Smith in net more than made them eligible for this list. It was a very dangerous job skating even CLOSE to the Islanders net with Billy around. Bashing the back of players in front of net is one thing, but anyone who remembers him felling Gretzky lumberjack style while he was skating BEHIND his net knows why this team made the list.

Philadelphia Flyers – circa 1972-1978
The ‘Broad Street Bullies’ era in Flyer’s history loosely parallels the Charlestown Chiefs, with a mediocre team rising to prominence once they started getting physical. Dave Schultz led the team in penalty minutes, but the whole team bruised and bashed their way to success throughout the 70’s, and on into the 80’s.

Wimbledon – circa 1980’s/90’s – Football (Soccer)
The original Wimbledon, most often remembered as “the Crazy Gang” didn’t have a reputation for playing a beautiful brand of football, they were one of the first recognised ‘long ball’ teams. They were tough though, and one of those teams no-one wanted to play against. Now a Hollywood movie actor, Vinnie Jones summed up the Wimbledon approach with one of the most infamous marking jobs of all time on Paul Gascoigne (see picture). Best sports picture of all time!

I’m sure I’ve missed some other classic nasties, both real and fictional, perhaps “The Bad News Bears” deserved a spot? The original crew anyway, with Matthau. Another honourable mention to the Mean Machine from the movie “The Longest Yard”, with Burt Reynolds.

After reviewing this list perhaps those Koreans aren’t as bad as I first thought!

What techy/nerdy things were ‘must haves’ for you over the last decade?

February 12, 2010 3 comments

There are far too many things I consider that I can no longer live without! Some gadgets, some trends, all life savers in their own way. The Top 5 are below, with some honourable mentions.

And in no particular order …

1) TV on DVD
With the shortening of the window from broadcast to DVD release, TV on DVD really seemed to come into its own in the last decade. (Stargate Universe is taking the you-know-what though, releasing a ‘Season 1.0’ DVD before they even complete the season!) I have to admit, I love me my TV shows, but I simply can’t stand half of the crap on these days. It’s mostly reality shows I hate, and there seem to be a LOT of them. Finding a good show you missed the first time round, and then being able to sit night after night and just enjoy it all is fantastic. It also gives you a chance to unearth some real gems – like the UK version of “Life on Mars”, and the follow-up “Ashes to Ashes” (both available from BBC worldwide). Catching up on a still-running show is a pain though … we are now fully caught up on Chuck and almost so on Dexter. After weeks of continual enjoyment, waiting a week for the next episode seems an eternity 🙂

2) TiVo / PVR
If you have to watch a current show, a PVR is the way to go. It’s not just for the odd time you miss a show either, being able to skip ads, or fast-forward through them if your TV provider only offers crappy low end PVR’s. I would be lost without my PVR. Pausing live TV, skipping back to re-listen when the kids start fighting and you miss something – it’s a God-send if you’re a parent. When you think back to the days of VHS tapes (or Beta if you picked the loser), and SP, LP, SLP, snapping tapes, crappy recordings etc. etc., the PVR just seems so civilized. TiVo wasn’t available in Canada when I first got my PVR, perhaps any users can enlighten me to what I’m missing, and whether it’s worth moving up to?

3) Universal Remote
Much like the PVR, I didn’t know how much I needed a Universal remote. I have a rechargeable Logitech Harmony model, and it easily replaced four remotes. The setup is not quite as easy as they make out (you need a net connection, to install the required software, to know the models of all your equipment, and be fairly tech-savvy). Once set up though, your profile allows changes easily, and you can transfer the profile easily if you upgrade or switch models of remote. The only thing it can’t control is my PS3, but I know Logitech does offer an adapter. RF models or adapters are also available if your equipment is out of line-of-sight. You may think why bother, but getting a decent, high-end Universal will more than pay you back.

As an aside, I would like to thank all the useless 10-pin bowlers at Dell Canada. My wife won our Harmony remote by bowling a meager 135 at a Dell event!

4) Xbox 360
Avid followers of my blog will know that I was a pretty hardcore PC gamer until fairly recently. Even after my first 360 RROD’ing it’s still my primary game platform now though. The vast library of games, and those damn achievement points, make it virtually indispensible – in fact, we have two of them in the house. I don’t share well with others, so the kids had to get their own! I sometimes worry that my kids’ childhood memories of ‘playing’ with their father will be of co-op Left 4 Dead, and not picnics, swings, and such – but as long as they are happy memories, is that a bad thing?

5) PS3
We are a 3-console household, having all the next-gen consoles … you will note we are now at #5 on the list, and no Wii though. The PS3 is simply a great piece of hardware. Not only is it rivalling my 360 in terms of game-hours played, but being our Blu-ray player and media server, it is definitely used more than the 360. The wireless streaming of content to my TV from the TVersity software on my PC is virtually seamless. A little IP spoofing later and voila, Hulu direct to my TV. The 360 was useless wirelessly for this.


Honourable Mentions

We still play the Wii now and then, but the lack of serious games make it more a novelty. Wii Sports still gets played the most, and to be honest, I’m disappointed I got Guitar Hero and Rock Band for the Wii, instead of waiting until I had the other consoles. Wii Fit had some potential too, and it’s failure probably says more about my lack of willpower than anything bad about the product – although it did rather rudely tell me I was fat. I guess the truth hurts!

I never embraced on-the-go Internet, I never saw the point of it. I finally got an iPhone just this Christmas, so one week of the last decade is far too little time to make this list. Having my first data plan, and a smart-device capable of easily making use of it, has been great though. I’m not sure if my Twitter followers like the idea of me being able to share so frequently,  however.

I consider Xbox Live as a separate beast from the 360 itself, and what a beast it is. 20 Million users, and unlike Twitter or World of Warcraft, I don’t see it plateauing any time soon. My Gold membership is up next month, and to be honest, I won’t miss it. I play online so infrequently now it won’t get renewed. yes, it’s only $5 a month, which is nothing for what it is, but that’s at least three extra coffees from Tim Horton’s every month!

The indisputable winner as gadget of the last decade was the iPod. Again, I never had one. I had mp3 players, and loved my Sony-Ericsson Walkman phone, but rarely used it, as my commute is short, and I’m not often away from direct sources of music (read that as ‘rarely off the couch’).

‘On Demand’ will probably be the way of the next decade, but made enough impact over the last  few years to signal its intention. TV shows and movies have been On Demand for a while now, and it sure beats the days of waiting for that movie or show to start on pay-per-view. On Demand is all about control, and the digital infrastructure is now in place for it to really make an impact. Digital delivery and On Demand may be the death knell for the neighborhood video store.

I’m often told that once you go High Def you’ll never go back. I have had a HD capable TV since the last soccer World Cup in 2006 – I love LG, really I do! I have just never gone that extra step and got the HD-PVR and package to utilize it. I’m pretty happy with the definition I have. Perhaps it’s like the Harmony, I may not be able to live without it once I go that route, but for now, I can’t miss what I don’t have.

Blu-ray movies are pretty much the same as above. We own about a dozen Blu-ray movies now, and while I see the quality, it’s more the capacity that excites me. The disks mean lots of room for special features, extra content, additional commentaries – the works! So why are companies cashing in by re-releasing old movies with little or no content on Blu-ray? I guess I answered my own question there – but I’ll still watch First Blood about every month 🙂

What do you consider indispensible in your life?

My Golden Globes 2010 Review

January 18, 2010 2 comments

Yes, the Golden Globes are a bit of a departure from tech gadgets and video games, but everyone loves an award ceremony, and they are great for taking shots at – so why not!

I usually prefer the Golden Globes to the Oscars, they seem to be a bit less biased toward the media circus and PR campaigns that lead up to this silly season in movies and TV … it seemed that way, but maybe not any more. The Usual Suspects (not the movie unfortunately) dominated, and the same big star bias was evident. Who are the Hollywood Foreign Press Association anyway? From “humble origins” (their words), they have grown to an organization that, while know mostly for the awards show, does stellar work for charity. They donated more than 1 Million dollars to entertainment-related charities alone last year.

As with all award shows, the red carpet is a big deal for the fashionistas – I’m not much into fashion, and don’t know haute couture from Hors d’œuvres, but it’s pretty easy to pick the fashion disasters from the winners. I thought Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, and Sandra Bullock were the big disasters of the night, although there were a few over-frilly numbers that were also in contention. Contrary to most opinions, I thought Jennifer Aniston looked great – but then I’m male!

I’m a big fan of Ricky Gervais, everything except The Office in fact. His running dialogue with Steve Carel is getting pretty old, but I enjoyed the rest of his intros and patter. Unfortunately, I’m not really sure why they bothered though. The show wasn’t really set up for a host. Gervais made some cameo appearances, most seeming to be of his choosing, but he was wasted… bad joke. Just like the Mel Gibson one. As usual, the bias toward the luminaries was evident, with Meryl Streep being allowed to drone on unintelligibly for what seemed an eternity, while other lesser-lights were violin-ed into verbal submission, and marched off stage as quickly as possible.

I followed several social media types online during the awards, and it was neat to see how even stars in the auditorium were posting – Neal Patrick Harris posting a great pic of him and Micky Rourke! Honestly, I found the actual awards pretty boring, it’s the candid crowd shots that are fun! It was fun, however, to see Lithgow, Barrymore, Waltz, Downey Jr., Bacon and especially Jeff Bridges win. It was far more disappointing to see James Cameron’s Avatar bandwagon roll on – regardless of the fact it is actually quite an average movie (special effects aside). I really keep trying hard to like Cameron, but it’s a losing cause. He is to movies what Molyneux is to video games – they both believe they are God. Best Director? Lets be honest, it was closer to an achievement award than for this movie. Speaking of lifetime achievements, Scorsese was brilliant, as usual. A well deserved Cecille B. DeMille, interesting introduction, and a classic Scorsese acceptance. He really is classic old school.

I imagine the Oscars will be pretty much the same. I think i’ll need far more wine to get through that though!