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

Trope-ic Thunder: “Hold on to your butts”

Trope-ic Thunder BannerBy Drew Parton

So, last week, after my column on some horrific physics of Magic, my girlfriend asked me a question that hits really close to home- it’s probably not the one you were thinking:

Could you talk about Jurassic Park/possibility of dinosaurs?  How plausible is it to recreate a dino?

Most people dedicate songs or poems to their loved ones- but I’m going to dedicate SCIENCE!

Kampfyre, Source

Kampfyre, Source

There was a very long period of my life- from about 5-16- that I was determined to be a paleontologist. I went absolutely triceratops-shit for dinosaurs and fossils, and while my career choices have changed to a different field, I’m still mesmerized by the terrible lizards of old. And I owe it all to one single movie: 1996′s Jurassic Park.

So, if some of you haven’t seen Jurassic Park before- go. Now. Go on, I’ll wait. Continue reading

Rooster Recap: “The Strain” Episode 2 – The Box

Recap-01

Hey, so, I learned this week that the novels were also made into a graphic novel by Dark Horse – so I’ll probs be checking that out maybe. 

So as you may or may not recall from last week: Lotsa dead people, creepy plane, creepy box, creepy old man, creepy vampire monsters, zombies like to attack. Great stuff. Basically we open with the advent of a new day and the knowledge that the ‘dead’ people on the plane have since woken up and have begun walking to their respective homes and loved ones.

The episode starts with a janitor/police officer/cat lover? And of course, the delivery of the box. Then Sean Astin vomits justifiably as we revisit last week’s corpse (Peter Bishop, a nod to Fringe maybe?). I’ll spare you the gory details. Either way, the pieces are starting to come together as Ephraim comments on the black-light reflective goo as being guano, that of a bat. Or a tick. Or a terrifying del Toro bat-tick-parasitic monster. YAH. The plane deaths are blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning and the survivors are trying to be released.  Continue reading

The Tuesday Zone: ‘Bee and Puppycat’ (2013), Cartoons, Femininity, and “Kids’ Shows”

The Tuesday Zone

When I went to pick up the first issue of the comic book Bee and Puppycat, the (I’m estimating) 50-something shop-owner remarked bemusedly, “There seems to be a lot ‘kids’ books that are meant for adults these days.” He’s not wrong. Adventure Time seems to have as strong of a following amongst twenty-somethings as it does kids. The Bee and Puppycat comic book definitely straddles that line as well, although it falls more on the mature side. The cartoon from which it stems—viewable in full here; it’s only ten minutes long, and as you will read below, I highly recommend it—lands on the adult-intended side even more so, but maintains a style that would usually stand with cartoons on kids’ networks.

So what gives? Why is there a series in a traditionally child-intended art style (not just animation, but the colorful and clean design) that has some mature content—both graphically and emotionally? Well, there is the literal through-line of Natasha Allegri, who created Bee and Puppcat and works on Adventure Time. Less definitively, though, the tools to create stories in any medium are becoming more open than ever, and I think that this has resulted in an obliteration of rules and divisions. This art style—and animation in general—isn’t just for kids shows; adults enjoy some aspects of children-intended programming for a reason; “High Art” and “Low Art” aren’t so easily discerned, especially in terms of quality; etc. Continue reading

Rooster Recap: “The Strain” Episode 1 – NightZero

Recap-01Hey guys! It’s Sarah, from SciFridays here – remember me? I’ve been on hiatus because y’know, defending a master’s thesis. Right now I’m in the middle of moving to a whole different part of the country, but my love for you (but mostly for Guillermo del Toro) has brought me back a smidge early. Actually, just arrived in San Antonio – if you’re in the area give me a shout via the comments!

Hooray! I get to recap a show that isn’t on Fox! It’s on FOX. FX. /cough. If you’ve met me in real life, you know I have some healthy love for Mr. del Toro. I was recommended the book by a good friend of mine who also loves del Toro (Adam!) and it’s a seriously delightful read if you have the time. It’s not super long, and it’s co-written by Chuck Hogan. It begins with a small plane landing at JFK, but everyone is dead. I thoughtfully brought the book with me to read, and proceeded to begin to read it on a small plane to JFK. The universe, I swear.

So here we go! Continue reading

A Bomb in the Lasagna: “Weird Al” at the Movies

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At the time of this writing, the Internet is in the final days of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s 8 Videos in 8 Days campaign in support of his new—and allegedly final—album Mandatory Fun*. In honor of this unprecedented video marathon, I’m taking a look at the Weird One’s first and only stab at the silver screen: the strange, hilarious UHF on the 25th anniversary of its release date.

UHF (1989)

The Plot: George Newman (“Weird Al” Yankovic) is a spacey, but imaginative dreamer who is unable to hold down a steady job due to his aforementioned spacey, imaginative dreaming, much to the chagrin of best friend Bob (David Bowe) and George’s long-suffering girlfriend Terri (Victoria Jackson). George is given a second-chance at a steady job when he is named the manager of a run-down TV station his uncle wins in a poker game. The station flounders until George finds an audience airing bizarre, ridiculous programming headlined by the station’s eccentric janitor Stanley Spadowski (Michael Richards). But the success of the underdog UHF station is endangered when evil network station owner R.J. Fletcher (Kevin McCarthy) seeks to crush his rival for stealing away his viewership by buying the station and destroying it. George & co. are forced to overcome insurmountable evil-rich-guy-odds and come up with $75,000 in two days to save their beloved station from becoming a parking lot.

UHF is a textbook example of a cult classic. Initially met with mixed reviews, the film was lost in a summer awash with massive blockbusters. It perhaps didn’t help that this opened less than a month after a certain vastly overrated film that doesn’t hold up as well as you might remember I reviewed a few weeks back. UHF has been kept alive by a devout fan base through viewings on VHS, DVD, and odd theater screening. As such, it can be hard to give an objective review of a film that is loved primarily in subjective terms, especially if you happen to find yourself a part the film’s fan-base, but I’m going to give I my best shot. Continue reading

Mindless Action Mondays: The Raid 2: Berandal

MindlessActionMondaysBy Drew Parton

More than a year and a half ago, this column began with nothing but a dream and an indonesian action movie. Well, I’m proud to say that they’ve now made a sequel to that movie.

Continue reading