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The Oscars Aren’t Geeky Enough This Year

27 Feb

Despite the rise in SciFi and Fantasy and geek films this past year, and the slew of them that we get to see this coming year, I still feel like the awards ceremony today is going to lack an essential geek factor.

In an attempt to remedy that (and give you your daily dose of geek), here: have the Best Picture Oscar nominated movie posters in Lego form.

MegaWoman's Favourite

I watch for the Barbie/Ken romance. Who says they're broken up. 😛

More complicated than The Matrix, less complicated than Primer...

Those are only the SciFi/geeky movies. See the rest of the posters here

No Ordinary TV Show

24 Feb

I wasn’t too excited about this show at the start because, from the trailers I’d seen, it looked like a cheesier, live-action version of The Incredibles. However, now that I’m watching it, it’s not as bad as I was expecting.

Although it’s fairly predictable, it feels kinda like the later seasons of Heroes:  the premise makes it interesting enough to watch… although that could just be because I’ll watch anything with superheroes.

I like that each of their superpowers arguably corresponds to an issue they had, rather than just being randomly assigned. It reminds me of Misfits, which, as everyone knows, is awesome and anything that harkens back to it gains some redeeming value.

Jim, the husband, gets super strength, after it’s mentioned that he’s getting old and threw out his back earlier. Steph’s the career-oriented wife who’s always too busy for everything, so she gets super speed. Daphne, the teenage girl who’s worried about what the world thinks about her, gets to be a mind reader. JJ, the son who was about to be put in remedial classes, gets to be a genius.

Interesting factoid to notice: the kids’ powers keep evolving and developing, almost as though the powers grow because they’re still growing, while the parents’ powers have stayed fairly stable.

Why I continue to watch: The kids totally have supervillain powers (Ex: Daphne can now control people’s minds as well as read them). It would be AMAZING if the show chose to delve into their fall into the dark side. Probably not going to happen because it is an ABC(Family) show, but still…one can hope.

I enjoy the sidekicks (who actually think of themselves as sidekicks!) on this show a lot more than I like the main characters though. The wife’s comic-book-geek lab tech friend, Katie, is by far my favourite. Her romance with evil-guy-turned-good-because-he-loves-her is cheesy, but if there was a Katie-the-Sidekick show, I’d watch it. Her hair falls in perfect bouncy curls ALL THE TIME. That would be her superpower.

I especially love that, when first testing the wife’s superspeed, Katie asks all the questions comic book geeks have always wanted to know about how it actually works. (“How does your body cut through the wind shear? Why doesn’t the Coulumb friction singe your clothes? Are you generating some kind of charged plasma field from the kinetic energy? Is that why incoming debris isn’t sandblasting off your corneas?”)

The show’s trying to deal with the ramifications of being a superhero, and almost succeeds. It’s still fun to watch it try.


Examples of times this show has been amusing:

Steph: “Say them. Say my three favourite words.”

Jim: “You were right.”


Jim: “So that’s it? I’ve got to lie, everyday, for the rest of my life?”

George: “I’m a lawyer. Trust me, you get used to it.”


Katie: “Complicated? Inception made more sense.”


The Adjustment Bureau

16 Feb

I just saw The Adjustment Bureau and these are my (spoiler-free) thoughts.

Highlights of the movie, for me:

  • Matt Damon as a politician: that man is so earnest and boy-next-door trustworthy….I’d vote for him. He’s an easy hero to root for and I really feel like making “Matt Damon for Congress” bumper stickers now.
  • Emily Blunt”s ballet: I usually can’t stand modern dances, but her movements were liquid and exquisite and so damn beautiful to watch.
  • The interaction between the two main characters: it was not a typical romance in the ‘I can predict their every line’ kind of way. Their conversations were quick and took unexpected turns that made them interesting to listen to and witty where the movie could have just been sappy or boring. You only get snippets of their relationship, but I’d have happily watched them interact for the whole time.
  • The Adjustment Bureau: uniforms, equipment, and offices. More like a regimented dress code, but put-together men in fedoras and trench coats make me happy. Their Marauder’s-Map style books of people’s futures were fun animation to watch. And, of course, their offices were beautiful and marble in an old-fashioned way that was gorgeous to look at.

If you don’t know what it’s about, there’s the trailer:

The movie itself is a lot less ominous and suspenseful than the trailer seemed. Wikipedia called it a “thriller, sci-fi, action, romance” and if I had to organise those adjectives in terms of what the movie actually contained, it’d be “romance, sci-fi, action, thriller”. It’s more of a boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy fights supernatural forces keeping him and girl apart kind of movie. I  didn’t notice the ‘thriller’ aspect of it at all, and I’m normally a wimp about these things.

It’s based on a short story by Philip K. Dick who is a classic science fiction author; although you might not have read his work, you’ve seen his ideas in a million things by now. They might seem old hat to anyone who has watched modern sci-fi, but he was one of the first to write down so many major themes and tropes that we see all the time nowadays. Bladerunner, Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck: all canonical sci-fi films, all based on his stories.

I suppose that’s what made the whole movie feel so familiar. The major themes of free will vs determinism, ominous agencies controlling your lives, the fight to reclaim your fate, etc are all things we’ve seen in science fiction and fantasy before. The Adjustment Bureau, however, did it well enough to be an enjoyable, if leisurely, ride.

It had potential that it didn’t quite live up to (I’d have loved to see more about the hatted men’s powers or how they affected the lives of people other than the main characters) but it was still a good movie. I’d consider it a belated Valentine’s Day movie for anyone who can’t stand romcoms or drama, but still wants a “we’re meant to be together” kind of story with minimal cheese.


Being Human on Two Continents

8 Feb

I find that my appreciation of TV shows depends a lot on how they’re marketed to me. If I expect something from a TV show, it takes a bit of effort in order to get past that expectation and appreciate it for what it is.

That being said, I think it’s important that people know what they’re getting into when they start a new TV show, so here’s your prep:

Being Human is not a comedy.

The BBC/British version was sometimes described as a comedy, at least according to Wikipedia and some of the TV ads I’ve seen.  (I think it probably started when some ad exec heard the premise: “A werewolf, ghost and vampire in a flat together? That sounds like the start of a joke. Must be a comedy!”)

It’s really not though. It’s a supernatural drama with the occasional humorous moment. As the seasons go on, the show’s been focussing more and more on the dramatic aspect of interaction between George (werewolf), Mitchell (vampire) and Annie (ghost) and their various acquaintances…so much drama that there’s hardly any comedy anymore.

It is well written, and, if you like watching supernatural dramas, it’s interesting without being a soap opera, which I definitely appreciate. It’s a drama with just enough traces of comedy to make watching it enjoyable.


The SyFy/American version, on the other hand, makes no claim to be a comedy. It’s pure drama through and through. Somehow, (at least so far) it’s managed to stay away from the soap opera tendency of other supernatural shows, like Vampire Diaries or True Blood or The Gates, but it’s not nearly as witty as its counterpart..

The people are prettier in the US version, because apparently Hollywood’s influence in inescapable. In the UK version, while the main characters are nice to look at, everyone else is remarkable only in how normal and sometimes fugly they look.

Character names have changed, even though most of the plot points have stayed the same. Mitchell’s Aidan, Annie is Sally and George is Josh. It shouldn’t matter, but the name changes mess up my connective brain just enough that it’s like I’m watching a whole new show…but that’s probably just me.

The only change I don’t like is that Sally’s outfit isn’t nearly as cool as Annie’s was. (Yeah, I’m going to talk about clothes now. I’m a girl. Deal with it.) Annie was wearing layers, and she managed to vary the way she wore them so that it seemed like she was changing her clothes. But she wasn’t! It’s brilliant. I think it took me seven episodes to notice that although her outfit had changed every week, it really was just the same five pieces worn in different ways. Sally’s only got three layers, and no way to change her look, which makes me sad; I think the creativity of Annie’s outfit is one of the best parts of the Brit show.

The Cape: Campy Champion-y

25 Jan

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the trailer (which I don’t think shows how good the show actually is, but will still give you an idea of what you’re in for):


Reasons I like this show so far:

It’s fun! The entire show, from the basic premise of superhero with magical cape powers to execution of the plotline, edges on the ridiculous. But it’s just on the edge. As of the three episodes I’ve seen, it walks the fine line of enjoyable goofiness and has yet to fall into the trap of being an absurd farce. I think it’s the perfect level of campy, as long as you approach it with that in mind.

It’s a comic book, no really. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something about this show that makes it feel like watching a live-action comic book. It’s great! I think it’s the fact that everything’s just slightly overacted: enough so it’s thematic, but not so much that it’s annoying or too cheesy. And the background music is always perfect: slightly cartoony but subtle enough not to be noticed all the time.

It’s straightforward: Don’t know if it was my familiarity with the actor, or the fact that he’s the only British guy in the show, but I knew the identity of the ‘masked villain Chess’ (which is a cool name without being too ridiculous) within the first five minutes of the pilot. You were obviously meant to.

Honestly, I didn’t mind. After suffering through shows like The Event and Flash Forward, where the mystery and confusion of not knowing anything just blurs into tedium, I like having things laid out for me so openly. Plus, it adds to the feel that it’s an old-school comic, where bad guys were bad guys and good guys were good guys and you enjoyed watching them duke it out.
And, it’s not so predictable that it’s boring though, which is trap No Ordinary Family tends to fall into.

It’s got great names: Love that the Big Brother figure is Orwell. I’m sure everyone got the literary reference, but it makes the English major in me happy.

Also, Carnival of Crime! I mean, come on. It’s brilliant and alliterative and fun all in one title. And they robbed banks in circus costumes, with a dwarf and using an ice-cream truck and a raccoon. It’s hard not to love it.

It’s unexpectedly witty: Do we think the raccoon acted alone?”


Superheroes in Art

17 Jan

Art with a capital A, too.

With graphic novels gaining literary appreciation, why shouldn’t comic book art gain the same respect?
Honestly though, I’m not all that convinced about the general public’s ability to make that cognitive leap without some help, and I think I’ve found just the way to do that. Meshing comic book superheroes with more classic art might make it easier for people to appreciate comic art on its own.

Check out Superhero ModRen 1 and Superhero ModRen 2 . They’re Photoshop competitions where people have combined superheroes with fine art and some are pretty amazing.
(Admittedly, a lot do look just like bad Photoshop, but others are impressive.)

These are some of my favourites:

2011: A Year of Geek Movies

8 Jan

There are a ridiculous amount of geeky movies coming out this year.

With superheroes, fairy tales, robots, gods, aliens, vampires, gnomes, zombies, genetically engineered apes, smurfs, pirates, spies, witches, wizards, pandas…the movie selection this year is a smörgåsbord of geek topics.


Season of the Witch: Jan 7th


The Green Hornet: Jan 14th


Gnomeo and Juliet: Feb 11


I am Number Four: Feb 18th


All Star Superman: Feb 22nd


The Adjustment Bureau: March 4th


Mars Needs Moms: March 11th


Battle: Los Angeles: March 11th


Beastly: March 18th


Paul: March 18th


Dylan Dog: Dead of Night: March (tentatively)


Sucker Punch: March 25


Super: April 1st

Starring Rainn Wilson as The Crimson Bolt, a powerless superhero who wields a wrench, it looks like it’s going to be Kick Ass level of good.


Source Code: April 1st


Your Highness: April 8th


Thor: May 6th


Priest: May 13th


Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: May 20th


Kung Fu Panda 2: May 27th


X-Men First Class: June 3rd


Green Lantern: Emerald Knights: June 7th

Straight to DVD animated movie about Kyle Rayner and a time-travelling Hal Jordan as they team up with the JLA and Green Arrow to fight Sinestro and Parallax.


Super 8: June 10th


Rise of the Apes: June 24th

Planet of the Apes prequel which shows how the apes came to rule to world, starring James Franco.


Green Lantern: June 17th


Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon: July 1st


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: July 15th


Captain America: The First Avenger: July 22nd

If you don’t know what this is going to be about, shame on you.


Cowboys and Aliens: July 29th


The Smurfs: August 3rd


Conan the Barbarian: August 19th

Conan”s adventures on his quest to avenge the death of his father and the slaughter of his village.


Fright Night: August 19th


Johnny English Reborn: September 16th

Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) tries to stop a band of assassins from killing the Chinese Premier


Now: September 30th

A society where aging stops at 25 and the rich are immortal while the rest struggle to survive. Starring Justin Timberlake, who’s falsely accused of murder, on the run with his hostage Amanda Seyfried.


Real Steel: October 7th


The Thing: October 14th


Puss in Boots: November 4th

Origins of the swashbuckling cat from the Shrek movies.


Immortals: November 11th

3D movie where Theseus (Henry Cavill) must fight to save his people and the Greek gods from the mad King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke).


Arthur Christmas: November 23rd


Sherlock Holmes 2: December 16th

After how awesome the first one was, we all knew the sequel was inevitable.


The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn: December 28th

3D motion-capture film based on the comics: Tintin’s first encounter with Captain Haddock and their adventures trying to find his ancestor’s hidden treasure.


Tekken: Sometime in 2011


These are trailers for the ones I’m actually likely to go see. For even more, see this io9 post.

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