SciFridays takes off with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014)

Baddie – Ronan, hopeful destroyer of worlds.

Lesson – Friendship, however reluctant, is magic.

What can I say about Guardians of the Galaxy? A lot. I can say a lot. Buckle up.

Guardians was directed by James Gunn, who also directed one of the favorites here at Rooster Illusion, SlitherHe has a unique sense of humor as a director, but I still kinda think Marvel took a huge gamble on him. It paid off, with Guardians racking up overwhelmingly positive reviews within the first 24 hours of reviews, and cinched Gunn to direct the impending sequel, which is also a good thing. I like consistency.

The Plot: The year is 1988, and during a heartbreaking opening scene we meet Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), a young boy who’s father is out of the picture and who’s mother is literally in the process of dying from cancer. He runs outside in genuine heartbreak and is promptly abducted with nothing but the gift from his mother and whatever is in his backpack.

26 years later, Peter has grown into a full fledged junker/ravager/outlaw, and is completing a job. He does so with great mirth and snark and quickly establishes himself to be a sarcastic, efficient professional, in that he’s good at his job, not that he’s all business. Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a green-skinned step-daughter of Ronan, is sent off to retrieve the orb Peter steals. Rocket Racoon (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel) try to capitalize on the bounty on Peter and they meet in such a way that everyone gets arrested, where they meet Drax (Dave Bautista) who reluctantly joins the team so that he may revenge his family. Ronan (Lee Pace), is bent on destroying a planet, and Thanos’ daughter Nebula (Karen Gillan) is bent on helping him. Many hijinks ensue.  Continue reading

SciFridays: “Sharknado 2: The Second One” (2014)

Baddie – I’m assuming a Sharknado of some kind.

Lesson – Fire is not the answer. Machetes and power tools are always the answer.

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to play into the social media blow out that is the Sharknado franchise (some of you will remember my feelings regarding the first Sharknado) I’m foolishly hopeful for a better showing this year, but then again, Sharknado loosely translates into “We made something so crappy and ridiculous you’re obligated to love it because of previous cult movie standards even though we ignored cult movie standards.” 

I know that I’m part of the problem, I acknowledge this. I tuned in, I’m writing about it, I live-tweeted it, but hey, I’m attention desperate, and I promise this won’t be the last time I live-tweet a movie. I figured I would write this review in accordance to my expectations. So, in no particular order: Continue reading

The Tuesday Zone: ‘The Wind Rises’ (2013)

The Tuesday ZoneChances are that you know Hayao Miyazaki. He’s an internet darling, the director of Spirited Away (2001), Howl’s Moving Castle (2004), Princess Mononoke (1997), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), and many more. Truth be told, as much as I love animation, I am not quite as fanatical about his films as many people that I know; maybe it’s a cultural gap, but the flow of the movies always felt awkward, and his themes border on redundant with some frequency.

I mention all this not to be a daring iconoclast (the disconnect is probably with my lack of familiarity with Japanese culture and not at all with his filmmaking), but because I want to lead in to how impressed I was with his most recent film (and his last before retirement) with a note that I am not reviewing this movie as a Miyazaki fan. When it comes to fandoms, that might make a difference to some; to the rest of you, hopefully my diatribe has not bored you.

The Wind Rises is a special film. one that could only come from a director who has spent decades honing his skills not only as an animator and director, but also as a writer. Continue reading

A Bomb in the Lasagna: Let’s Talk About Bronies.

SharkWeekBomb-02Depending on how familiar you are with Internet subcultures and geekdom (and if you’re following me on a weekly basis talking about Batman and Weird Al, chances are pretty good you have at least a passing understanding of geekery) the word “Brony” may fill with you with confusion, scorn, rainbows, or joy. Since their emergence in 2010, Bronies have proven to be some of the most dedicated, zealous, and to the outsider, utterly bizarre fans in the world of Internet fandom, which is really saying something. With the excellent new documentary A Brony Tale (2014), director Brent Hodge presents a clear, affecting, and sympathetic look at some of the most fascinating inhabitants of the pop culture landscape.

 

But first, a quick explanation for those uninitiated: a brony (a portmanteau of “bro” and “pony”) is a man, generally between the ages of 13-30 (though neither is universally true) who is obsessed with the cartoon show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Brony culture is cultivated online where fans share artwork and fan fiction and through conventions and gatherings. Continue reading

Rooster Recap: “The Strain” Episode 3 – Gone Smooth

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I’m actually 90% sure I know what the title references, and…uh. Well it’s gonna get weird(er). 

A quick refresher – A box has flown over from Europe, containing a coffin containing a vampire (well, a del Toro vampire. We’re just going to stick with that vocab because it’s easier). It killed everyone on the board, but some (four) were ‘immune’, in that their infection was much slower and bypassed the zombie-esque phase. Everyone else rose from the dead and have started attacking whoever is closest. Loved ones, coroners, etc. There’s also a bunch of stuff going on with Ephraim Goodweather that no one cares about, and we have the sturdy Abraham trying to gain some leverage.

This Week: We open with the rather alarming sight of someone -something, carefully applying prosethetics to hide their appparent vampirism which includes, among other things, no nose, no ears, no hair, weird teeth, neck prosthetic, etc. Turns out to be no-breathing man (who I correctly described as looking like a human version of The Silence, who’s natural features have indeed been makeup encouraged to look like prosthetics).Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.56 PM Continue reading

Second Breakfast: Brush Up Your Shakespeare 11: The Hollow Crown (Part 4)

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Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10

And my Shakespearean July comes to a conclusion with the momentous fourth installment of The Hollow Crown series: Henry V. Does this mean Summer of Shakespeare is ending as well? You should be so lucky.

The Hollow Crown: Henry V (2012)

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The Plot: Not long after his coronation, King Henry V (Tom Hiddleston) faces an uprising in France and a quarrel with his right to kingship. With England eagerly anticipating their new sovereign’s reign, and threatening once again to divide should he falter and fail their expectations, Henry must use this war to unify his subjects, and demonstrate to nobles and commoners alike that he has what it takes to command a nation. Continue reading

SciFridays: “Hercules” (2014)

Baddie – Word of mouth.

Lesson – Make sure the biggest guy in the room is on your side.

I’m baaaaaack~! (I mean, yes, I’ve recapped two episodes of “The Strain” already, but SciFridays is back from hiatus! And boy howdy do I have a packed schedule. Today we get to do Hercules, next week Sharktopus v. Pteracuda, Guardians of the Galaxy AND Sharknado 2! Plus, as promised, August is Shark Month, so I’ll be plodding through every single Jaws movie. Good lord.

ALRIGHT! So, I just moved to San Antonio, and I went to the movies by myself so that was cool. Even better, a tiny blonde and her boyfriend sat next to me, and the tiny blonde made little gasps and uttered tiny curse-words when anything dramatic happened. It totally made my night.

Hercules, directed by Brett Ratner and starring of course Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was an utter delight. I’ll admit, I had super low expectations going in, like, super low. Mostly because I had suffered through the Kellan Lutz nightmare of a Hercules film that was kind of a family-film gone horribly horribly awry. All I wanted out of this movie was a sequel to The Scorpion King set in Greece. Fortunately for me, I got that and then some. So piece by piece, let’s examine. Continue reading