Highlights from 2015 – 3rd Quarter

2015-10-02 by . 0 comments

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Top Question

Praxis asked Which 2015 technologies were correctly predicted by Back to the Future II?, receiving 203 votes, which was answered with many pictures by Wad Cheber. An answer that would have also been the top answer on the site, if it hadn’t been for…

Top Answer

JeanPaul (AKA Azrael) asked Who are these DC superheroes?. Two answers came in within a minute, and one more two minutes later. Someone jokingly said “you didn’t answer the question unless you name everyone in the portraits too.” Jack B Nimble stepped up and identified everyone, receiving 190 votes. Runner up was the answer to the top question (182).

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CodeMed asked Which Marvel movies have NOT included Stan Lee cameos?, answered by Richard. This is a question which at the time of this writing has over 21,000 views (5000 more than the runner up) and only 7 votes. Runner up was the top question (203 votes).

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Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 Summary

2015-09-27 by . 3 comments

According to the founders, this year’s Salt Lake Comic Con had over 120,000 attendees, breaking their previous record. Thanks to better management the traffic moved smoothly and everyone was able to enter in a timely manner. Wider lanes in the main hall meant less congestion, and overall it was a very smooth event. SLCC also broke the Guinness World Record for having the most comic book costumed characters assembled in the same place. Which I guess… is something.

Here is a short summary of the panels I attended.

Designing the Starships of Star Trek Panel

This panel was hosted by John Eaves.

John Eaves is a designer and illustrator best known for his work on the Star Trek franchise, starting with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. He served as a production illustrator on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise and was involved in all four Next Generation movies, specifically being responsible for the design of the Sovereign-class Enterprise-E. He also worked on a variety of films, such as Top Gun, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Valkyrie and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. – Wikipedia

John Eaves showed a number of design art pieces from Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Generations, First Contact, and Nemesis, and all three of the new Star Trek films. One thing that was interesting to me was when he said they used to receive a full script of the show or film, but with the secrecy today they only receive a 4 page summary of the parts they need to work on. He said he did a lot of design work for a character named Alice, only to later learn that it was Kahn in Into Darkness. ~

At the end of the panel he said he didn’t only work on Star Trek. He said that he had just finished working on Captain America: Civil War, and that he would be starting on Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on Monday, September 28th.

~ Some of these details may have come from the State of Trek: Looking Ahead to Star Trek at 50 Panel, I can’t necessary remember.

Ian Somerhalder Panel

I can’t tell you much about this panel, other than it started 30 minutes late (making it only 20 minutes total). Ian Somerhalder finally appeared on stage, answered a few questions, and departed.

Con Man Web Series: Sneak Peek Panel

The panel opened with guests Felicia Day, Sean Astin, and P.J. Haarsma. Alan Tudyk, who was on location in London for an unnamed role in the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, was meant to participate live via Skype. When the time came to get him connected, he suddenly appeared on stage. The audience went wild.

Con Man is a crowd funded web-series starting Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion, with guest stars of Felicia Day, Sean Astin, and others.

Wray Nerely (Tudyk) is a struggling actor who starred as a spaceship pilot on Spectrum, a canceled science fiction series that went on to become a cult classic. Wray’s good friend Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion), who starred as the ship’s captain, has become an A-list movie star. Frustrated by Jack’s success and his lack thereof, Wray travels the science fiction convention circuit, makes appearances at comic book stores, and visits pop culture events. He navigates the odd people and incidents he encounters along the way while learning to love the fans he has. – Wikipedia

The panel showed two clips and premiered a trailer for Con Man. Based on those clips, it looks like a very funny series. The series is available on Vimeo on Demand starting September 30th.

Disney Infinity 3.0 Panel

I asked if any of the playsets deviated from movie events, and if so, were their stories canon. I received this reply:

The TWILIGHT OF THE REPUBLIC PLAY SET is a completely new story which went through all the approvals and is considered canon along side the movies, cartoons, and recent novels.

The panel also gave away 900 free Disney Infinity 3.0 characters to the participants of the panel. I received a Darth Vader figure. Later I came back and saw they hadn’t given them all away, I asked why not and the man behind the counter said they’d probably have extras, so he gave me a second figure, Sam Flynn, from Tron Legacy.

Filed under Conventions

Minority Report – Pilot

2015-09-22 by . 1 comments
Minority Report is set 10 years after the events that took place in the Steven Spielberg directed movie, but instead of Tom Cruise attempting to prevent crimes before they occur, it’s Meagan Good who’s serving up her own brand of justice as Detective Vega.


The show opens with a recap of the events of the movie and origin of the three Precogs. It then jumps 10 years into the future, where we learn at least one of the trio as left their island sanctuary. That island living was good for them, because they are all a lot thinner and more attractive.

Precog Dash is back in D.C. trying to make it on his own. He has flashes of murders, but he doesn’t get the whole picture (he needs his twin to put the pieces together). After witnessing a murder 40 minutes in the future, he dashes (pun intended) to try and stop. He arrives just a moment too late.

Enter Detective Vega (Meagan Good). She is a homicide detective investigating the recent murder. She lives in the shadow of the now defunct Precrime (the first fifteen minutes has several news reports in the background stating how things have become worse since Precrime closed). Murder is back with a vengeance in D.C. and Vega can’t help but marvel at the days when unnatural deaths were extinct in the nation’s capital. As she is leaving the scene of the murder she is followed by Dash. After an encounter in an vacant stairway he gives her a drawing of the killer. Vega is able to run down the killer with the image and begins looking for the mysterious informant. She easily finds him (no one can hide in the future!), moments before he has another Precog episode about a murder to take place the next day. Vega and Dash team up to stop the murder of a prominent politician and his wife.

Here are some things I noticed about the show:

  • Dash’s murder insights come in a variety of timeframes. From several seconds, to forty minutes, to a day, but not the four days they enjoyed in the movie (for premeditated murder).
  • Minority Report, the film, is famous for predicting several key technologies, such as multi-touch interfaces and breeding crack babies who can see the future. This pilot tries to capture that magic; with HUD contacts, small surveillance drones, and the future of advertising.
  • Dash’s twin brother doesn’t look much like him as an adult (in the kid flashbacks, they are identical).
  • They did manager to get one actor from the film. Daniel London reprises his role as Wally the Caretaker, at least for the pilot.
  • The show seems to be going out of its way to make sure we know that Meagan Good is a woman.

Overall I thought the pilot was okay, but I feel like the detective with the none-cop partner has been done. I’m thinking of Sleepy Hollow, Forever (canceled), Castle, Bones, Due South, Rizolli and Isles, Fringe, just to name…a bunch. Are there any detectives out there who are partnered with other cops?

Anyways, Minority Report. If you loved the movie for all the elements that weren’t Tom Cruise, you might like the TV show.

Filed under Review

Live Chat: The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

2015-08-25 by . 2 comments

Recently the live chat movie night has been reborn. Several movies have been watched and commented on. One recent one was the classic 1951 film “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

Previous Live Chats were Star Trek TOS: Space Seed and Star Trek TOS: And the Children Shall Lead.

IMDB description.

An alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets.
Opening title scene.
Richard: Surely if the Earth stood still, we’d all go flying off?
Ixrec: Only if it was sudden. The real problem is that we’d lose the magnetic field generated by the rotation.
Jack B Nimble: This movie was filmed on location, on Earth.
The Army detects a UFO “It’s traveling at 4,000 miles an hour!”
Richard: Wow, tiny counters moving on a board. Slow down, movie.
Wad Cheber: Nice shorts.
Radio broadcasts from all over the world report the strange object in the sky
Richard: I remember this bit. This is where they blow up the ships over the White House.
Wad Cheber: The French have already surrendered to the flying saucer.
Richard: Signs of normalcy. Clearly he’s never been to America.
Wad Cheber: People in the 50’s were silly. Why wear a suit on the radio?
The flying saucer enters Washington D.C. airspace
Ixrec: Looks exactly like when I was last in Washington. Except half the men are in uniform. Jack B Nimble: Destroys Washington Monument in 3..2..1
Ixrec: It’s a glowing Frisbee!
Richard: Run!
Wad Cheber: Damn those people run fast.
The flying saucer lands in a baseball field
Richard: Couldn’t fit on the White House lawn?
Ixrec: It does look a bit big for that lawn.
Wad Cheber: I come in peace to play baseball.
Richard: You’ll need some steroids. I can hook you up.
Ixrec: I’m sure Gort would be a great left fielder.
The military is deployed to the landing site
Jack B Nimble: I didn’t realize you could drift with a tank.
Ixrec: Oh there are loads of tanks that can drift.
Wad Cheber: Treads are awesome
Radio broadcaster reports the spacecraft has landed.
Richard: Who wears a hat on the radio television?
Jack B Nimble: It is important to look professional, even if you aren’t seen.
Wad Cheber: I’m wearing a fedora on the radio for no apparent reason.
An humanoid emerges from the spacecraft.
Richard: Something is happening!
Ixrec: I’m curious what the guy inside is thinking
Ixrec: Surely it doesn’t take two hours to power down enough to make opening the door safe.
Richard: It’s called “making an entrance”, darling. You wouldn’t understand.
The alien approaches the crowd and displays some kind of object in his hand. A soldier loses his nerve and fires his weapon.
Richard: Look out. He’s got a rampant rabbit!
Jack B Nimble: That Lt. just got a promotion. First one to bag an alien!
Wad Cheber: Shot after 20 seconds on the planet.
Richard: Welcome to ‘Murica.
Ixrec:Ok I can kind of understand why that device would provoke a shot.
A large robot emerges from the spacecraft and begins disintegrating the soldier’s weapons.
Jack B Nimble: Cylon.
Richard: Laser. Laser! Laser!! We get it.
Ixrec: That is an awesome laser. It only vaporizes melts weapons.
Recovering in a hospital, the alien meets a government official named Harley. The alien introduces himself as “Klaatu.” He says the object he was carrying was a gift for the President. Too bad it was ruined.
Wad Cheber: My name is Harley. I’m a douchebag.
Richard: Nice hat. Just Klaatu.
Wad Cheber: Did he just say 250 million miles?
Jack B Nimble: He said “250 million of your miles” It is possible Harley has his own miles.
Wad Cheber: That’s not even as far as Jupiter.
Klaatu requests a meeting with all the world leaders. Not just some of them as Harley suggests.
Richard: Frank with you Mr. klaatu.
Wad Cheber: Klatuu’s sling is terrible.
Wad Cheber: Seriously, what kind of hospital made that sling?
Wad Cheber: Is it made from bed sheets?
Jack B Nimble: Aliens don’t warrant the best doctors.
Richard: I think it’s a makeshift sling.
Meanwhile, back at the spaceship, the military is attempting to gain entry to the flying saucer.
Richard: Blowtorch guy is clearly crap at his job. How can you cut with a flame that big?
Wad Cheber: “Let’s sell the flying saucer for scrap!”
Ixrec: I’m amazed Torchwood hasn’t shown up and taken the saucer away
Wad Cheber: Everyone smoked. Everyone was cool.
After spending a day in the hospital, Klaatu is completely recovered from his gunshot wound.
Wad Cheber: “His body is normal, except he’s missing all the vitamins and minerals provided by Lucky Strike filterless cigarettes.”
Ixrec: Gasp, he has a healing factor!
Ixrec: Gort should really vaporize everyone’s cigarettes, they do as much harm as any gun.
Wad Cheber: Smoking in hospitals ftw. Now Klaatu is a monk.
Richard: Where the hell is SHIELD in all this?
Jack B Nimble: He’s just an undocumented Canadian.
Harley returns to tell Klaatu that a number of nations refused the invitation to meet him on US soil. Klaatu states “I’m impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it.”
Richard: Oh look, it’s Harley again. Stand by for non-stop action.
Wad Cheber: Michael Rennie has phenomenal cheekbones.
Jack B Nimble: He’s an alien, makes sense.
Ixrec: That feels like something I should try to work into a conversation one day.
Jack B Nimble: And yet, they sent him to Earth…
Klaatu takes some clothes and vanishes from the hospital.
Richard: He’s gone! What an amazing surprise!
Wad Cheber: That kind of stuff would be likely to get you blacklisted.
Jack B Nimble: That man from the spaceship? Come on, he has a name!
Jack B Nimble: I suspect the guy with the case, something about him says “alien”
Wad Cheber: Major Carpenter is gonna be pissed when he finds out Klaatu stole his threads.
Richard: And his identity
Klaatu enters a Bed & Breakfast and assumes the name Mr. Carpenter.
Jack B Nimble: Klaatu is a home invader.
Wad Cheber:“I’m Kla— I mean, I’m some guy who isn’t an alien”
Richard: An illegal alien who commits petty theft and identity fraud. He’ll fit right in.
Ixrec: Hopefully he took off the laundry tag at some point.
Wad Cheber: Bobby is an [obscenity]. That is NOT a New England accent.
Ixrec: A “terror” seems like an overstatement for a weapon that very precisely only harms other weapons.
Klaatu asks if Bobby can show him around town.
Richard: Hey, why not give your child to a complete stranger?
Ixrec: And eerily slow talking 50’s guy who is totally not an alien.
Wad Cheber: “Give me your human earth child– I mean, your child.” Bobby is a dork.
Richard: Say, Bobby. Have you even been to a Turkish sauna?
Klaatu trades two diamonds for $2 from Bobby
Jack B Nimble: For being intolerant of stupidity Mr. Carpenter sure is dumb.
Ixrec: Has he actually done anything “dumb”? he just seems baffled by our dumbness.
Jack B Nimble: He traded two diamonds for $2.
Richard: In the great American tradition.
Wad Cheber: $2 in 1951 = $50 billion today
Ixrec: Ok I guess the diamond thing could be dumb. It had to happen right after I typed that.
Jack B Nimble: Probably alien blood diamonds.
Klaatu and Bobby visit Lincoln’s memorial. Klaatu says he’d like to meet a man like Lincoln.
Wad Cheber: Who is this ugly giant, Bobby? That’s the kind of man I’d like to talk to. A hideous giant made of stone.
Klaatu and Bobby arrive at the site of the spaceship.
Ixrec: it looks like they’re building a carnival around the saucer
Jack B Nimble: World’s Fair
Wad Cheber: I bet you should shut the hell up, Bobby.
Richard: I’m at a loss why they don’t cover it in concrete.
Wad Cheber: Why is Bobby a Yankees fan?
A report asks Klaatu what he thinks of the alien. When he replies, the reporter wanders off.
Wad Cheber: “I’m the only TV person who dresses like a janitor”
Ixrec: “your opinion is weird, we’re not interested”
Jack B Nimble: “Yeah, we don’t want real opinions Mr. Carpenter, just fear mongering, thank you.”
Richard: Let’s go talk to a scientist. That’ll help.
Ixrec: “Screwball” does seem like the most accurate description of Carpenter right now.
Klaatu goes to the house of a prominent scientist and sees a complicated equation on the wall.
Jack B Nimble: At least he earned 3 checkmarks.
Wad Cheber: “I’m going to rob this [person], Bobby”
Ixrec: “I opened the unlocked door-sized window, that’s how I got in”
Richard: I think you’ll find that a ground-level door sized window is, in fact, a door.
A woman interrupts Klaatu adjusting the equation. Klaatu leaves a note for the scientist.
Wad Cheber: “I’m Ms. Fussybritches, and I want you to leave!”
Jack B Nimble: “I used science”
Mrs. Benson and her gentleman friend sit in car. As she leaves to enter the house he proposes to her. She says she has to think about it.
Richard: My god. This film has everything. Smouldering passion too!
Wad Cheber: Cars were so beautiful back then.
Jack B Nimble: Her parents are already telling her “if you don’t accept this proposal another might not be coming”
Richard: She’s “courting”. After dark. In a parked car.
Klaatu meets with the scientist and explains his issues with the government officials. He says he has to do something dramatic to get Earth’s attention. He asks for the scientist to gather a diverse group at his spaceship the next day.
Richard: [Hostility towards], Bobby.
Richard: We’re an intergalactic menace. That’s actually kinda cool.
Jack B Nimble: Sinking the Rock of Gibraltar seems pretty random.
Richard: What the hell did Gibraltar ever do to him?
Jack B Nimble: It was BORN!!!
Richard: You might be a threat to interplanetary peace so we might have to destroy your planet
Jack B Nimble: I’m going to carve my face on Mt. Rushmore.
Ixrec: I like how he suggests levelling New York in a “would that get your attention?” way.
Back at the B&B, Mrs. Benson expresses concern about Bobby’s enthusiasm over Mr. Carpenter.
Ixrec: The alien likes our music boxes.
Richard: Bobby, I think your relationship with Mr Carpenter is deeply unhealthy. Show me on the doll…
Ixrec: “I don’t like the way he’s attached himself” makes me think of very different aliens.
Wad Cheber: Mom is wearing the ugliest shirt ever.
Ixrec: I like how mathematical notation is identical on all planets or he learned our notation via radio, somehow.
Klaatu borrows a flashlight from Bobby, claiming the light is out in his room (spoiler alert, it isn’t). Klaatu tells Bobby maybe he’ll tell him about a train that doesn’t require tracks in the morning.
Richard: Nice train set.
Wad Cheber: Worst train set ever. A train that doesn’t need tracks = a car.
Ixrec: I guess he could be referring to a maglev or something.
Klaatu tries to sneak away from the B&B. Bobby follows him.
Richard: Klatu is off to cleanse the streets
Klaatu returns to his ship. He sees that it is guarded. He uses the flashlight he got from Bobby to signal Gort (the robot).
Richard: Bizarrely, there are no crowds near the spaceship. When in reality, there would be a million people there.
Ixrec: I’m sure the crowds would subside every so often, it has been doing nothing for several days now
Wad Cheber: My spaceship…I miss you.
Richard: I’m reasonably sure there would be millions of people there to have a look. Maybe after a few months/years you might find the occasional quiet moment.
Ixrec: Then again the military has the whole thing walled off. Not that those walls would do anything.
Gort takes out the guards
Wad Cheber: Klaatu is screwing with Gort.
Richard: Bobby just watching as Gort kills the guards. What a jackass.
Wad Cheber: Vulcan nerve pinch
Richard: They ded. So ded
With the guards incapacitated, Klaatu returns to the ship. Bobby is horror struck by what he has seen.
Richard: What is thy bidding, my Master.
Wad Cheber: “I’m sick of taking orders from you, Klaatu. I’m the killer robot, and I’m in charge now. You merenga me for a change.”
Ixrec: Why cut out the part where Gort KO’s them? it’s not that hard to film a vulcan neck pinch.
Klaatu dictates some message into a device on his ship.
Richard: Mission report: All the people on Earth are jerks, apart from one small boy.
Richard: His name is Bobby and I’ll preserve him in aspic for the journey home.
Ixrec: Oooh, motion controls, and more responsive than the Kinect.
Wad Cheber: Are you boys cooking in there? “No” Are you building an interocetor? “NO!”
Mrs. Benson’s gentleman caller finds a diamond in Klaatu’s room
Richard: Ooh. A diamond. Shiny
Wad Cheber: Honey, look at this diamond I just stole from Carpenter’s room. Marry me!
Richard: She’s pregnant. She’ll have to marry him.
Bobby tries to tell his mother that Klaatu is the alien.
Ixrec: “Everything you say is wrong because you’re Bobby, I don’t care how plot-relevant it is”
Wad Cheber:“The diamond I just stole makes me think that Carpenter is a crook!” Mrs? Your husband is dead, you liar!
Wad Cheber: “I didn’t pay much attention. Bobby is such an [obscenity].”
Klaatu meets Mrs. Benson at her office. As they enter the elevator Klaatu’s ship shuts off eletricity for 30 minutes across the world. Klaatu tells Mrs. Benson who he really is.
Richard: Hmm. About 10 million people just died.
Wad Cheber: Klaatu is smarter than that.
Richard: If he’s turned off the electricity then every plane in the world just fell out of the sky millions of car accidents.
Richard: Oh, Hospitals and planes were exempted
Richard: State of national emergency
Ixrec: So, if he has the power to do this, how are atomic missiles a threat to his people?
Mrs. Benson attempts to get in contact with her gentleman friend to tell him about Klaatu.
Ixrec: “Call the phone company” wow, I thought no one made that kind of mistake until we had ISPs with support websites
Wad Cheber: Why was she sitting in the dark? Are operators unworthy of light?
Mrs. Benson finds her beau and tells him about Klaatu. He insists on alerting the military so he can be famous.
Richard: Silence woman, men are speaking
Wad Cheber: “How do you know?” “I had sex with him in an elevator”
Wad Cheber: “I don’t care about the rest of the world”. Best line ever.
The military mobilizes to find Klaatu
Wad Cheber: “According to Plan B” So, trapping an alien in the downtown Washington DC area is literally the second plan they made?
The institute “Plan B” which is to barricade D.C. so that the “space man” can’t escape.
Ixrec: Good thing this is the 50’s, they’d have found him in no time with today’s technology.
Richard: Thrill as we watch stock footage of cars.
Klaatu attempts to flee in a cab with Mrs. Benson. He figures he might be caught so he tells her if Gort goes “Crazy Eddie” to give him the command “Klaatu barada nikto.”
Richard: Klaatu barada nikto = “Avenge my death!”
Wad Cheber: “I’m worried about Gort. He’s been so homesick lately”
Wad Cheber: “Klaatu Barada Nikto”. The most iconic line in science fiction history.
Klaatu is cornered and he flees his cab…and is subsequently shot. He is pronounced dead at the police station.
Wad Cheber: “All vehicles close in on the indestructible robot overlord”
Wad Cheber: Three days on earth and already shot twice.
Gort escapes the plastic containment and attacks some guards. Mrs. Benson ceases his mad rampage with the magic phrase. Gort grabs her and takes her into the spaceship.
Richard: He’s quite clearly going to laser you. See? Morons.
Ixrec: Oh yes, walk up to the robot as he melts his super-plastic cage.
Richard: Klaatu barada nikto unfortunately means “kidnap this woman”
Wad Cheber: Apparently the actor who played Gort was suffering from giantism and had trouble trying to pick up Patricia Neal and Michael Rennie. They had to set up a crane behind him to bear the weight.
Gort leaves Mrs. Benson in the ship and goes to retrieve Klaatu’s body from the police station. “I’m a friend of Mr. Klaatu, can I see him please?”
Wad Cheber: She is now what Klatuu’s people refer to as a “Robot Bride.” Soon she will birth a brood of Gortlings.
Wad Cheber: Why are there chairs set up around the flying saucer?
Wad Cheber: The effects on the saucer door are pretty cool.
Gort returns Klaatu to the ship and places him in a special bed. Klaatu is revived in his ship.
Wad Cheber: “What happened? Are my cheekbones alright?”
Wad Cheber: The almighty spirit = Bobby
Klaatu gives the gathered scientific dignitaries a speech about how the other planets will not allow Earth to let their violence spread to other planets. The robots like Gort were designed to destroy people who would wage war against the stars.
Richard: I came here to give you these facts. But instead you kept shooting me.
Jack B Nimble: You’ll notice my murder bot is just behind me. That is because I’m tired of being shot. Wad Cheber: Best speech in science fiction history.
Jack B Nimble: These robots are basically Manhunters from Oa.
Wad Cheber: And the “forced choice” is “don’t try to kill us or Gort will vaporize you” “Now get the hell away from my spaceship, you jerks!”
Klaatu and Gort enter the ship and it leaves the planet.
Jack B Nimble: And the crowd scatters as Klaatu’s ship spewes radition everywhere during take off.
Wad Cheber: We literally shot him 20 seconds after he arrived.
Richard: He had a weird thingie
Wad Cheber: The only thing he had said was “I come in peace”
Richard: Shoot to kill!
“The End”
Jack B Nimble: And…the credits roll, leaving Earth to wonder when those murder bots are going to return to destroy them.

Filed under Review

Fantastic Four: A (mildly spoilery) review!

This weekend, Fox released their latest Marvel comic book adaptation, a reboot of the Fantastic Four franchise. The previous two Fantastic Four films weren’t very well received, and Fox was likely hoping to cash in on the post-Iron Man comics boom to change that perception. If so, it didn’t work out as they’d hoped. What follows is a review of the movie, what went right, what went wrong, and where Fox may go from here.

Overall Impressions

The movie wasn’t terrible. Despite what you might read on Rotten Tomatoes, this wasn’t anywhere near the worst comic book movie I’ve seen; it’s not even the worst comic book movie Fox has ever released. For starters, it’s definitely an improvement on the previous Fantastic Four and Rise of the Silver, not to mention Daredevil and Elektra. Having said that, it doesn’t hold up well at all compared to the Marvel Studios movies, or X-Men franchise. If anything, the movie was disappointingly mediocre. Mediocre, because it’s just kind of there: there’s a story, and it occurs, and there’s people and they get powers and they sort-of use them, but by the end of the film, you feel like they never got around to the interesting part. And disappointing, because it could have been better: it’s obvious that there was a much better movie just begging to be released, but we’ll likely never get to see it. Adding to the disappointment is the fact that the trailer promised so much more: whatever movie that trailer was from, I would have much rather seen that than Fantastic Four.

In the end, it wasn’t a complete waste of time — it wasn’t offensively bad coughcoughGhostRider2coughcough. But I don’t really think there’s much of an audience that’s going to be happy to pay for this movie. If you’re a fan of the Fantastic Four, this movie will anger you, and if you’re a fan of superhero movies, it will disappoint you. (For reference: its the first Marvel movie since before Iron Man that I’m not going to see twice, and that includes Thor 2).

Rating: 2/10 (mostly for the acting and the first act); wait for Netflix.

For the rest of this review, there will be some broad spoilers, so if you’re planning to go see it, you might want to stop and come back later. But since you probably aren’t, you can read on…

more »

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Jack’s Bad Movies – Left Behind

2015-07-31 by . 1 comments

IMDB’s description

A small group of survivors are left behind after millions of people suddenly vanish and the world is plunged into chaos and destruction.

Left Behind poster

The movie opens with Chloe Steele (Cassi Thomson) coming home from college for her birthday. Expecting to spend the weekend with her family, she is surprised to discover her father, Rayford (Nicolas Cage), has to unexpectedly leave to pilot a plane to London. This isn’t a bizarre occurance or anything, he happens to be a pilot as his primary occupation, cheating on his wife is his second one.

Rayford, an unlikable guy who planned this trip to spend a weekend away with a stewardess, says things are fine between him and his wife, but that isn’t true. I guess things really went bad in their marriage when his wife Irene (Lea Thompson) found religion and starting babbling about the Rapture. An event believed by some Christians to signal the second coming of Christ / end of the world. Would you believe that her new views, which are driving a wedge into her family, end up playing a part in the movie? Let’s watch and see.

Chloe confronts her father at the airport about his cheating ways, which he denies, and he departs on his flight. She in turn decides to take her younger brother, Raymie, to the mall after bickering with her crazy mother. While at the mall Raymie suddenly disappears, leaving all of his clothes behind. Chloe is in shock. Sure, her younger brother has played the disappearing act before (that’s what younger brothers do), but never with this level of commitment. As Chloe attempts to get some help, other people in the mall are also having a freak out. Looks like all the children are gone, and also a few adults. A driver-less car crashes into the mall. Chloe catches a special news report that says that people (mostly children) across the world are missing, and that panic has ensued. The smarter patrons of the mall see this opportunity for what it is, and massive looting starts.

Jump back to plane flight to London. It looks like a bunch of people have disappeared as well, including all the children and the co-pilot, leaving behind their clothing. Sidenote: I’m not sure I’m comfortable with a Rapture in which everyone shows up to the party naked. The passengers pretend to be upset about the missing people, but are probably secretly grateful to enjoy a long flight with more seats and no annoying kids.

Rayford can’t seem to raise anyone on the ground, and suddenly realizes there is a plane right in his flight path. I’m not a pilot, but it seems to me that once you realize something is going to collide with you, you’d want to immediately veer out of the way. But alas, I must be mistaken, for Rayford makes repeated requests for the other plane to move. That plane obviously has no pilots left, and between this, the missing co-pilot, and the small plane that crashed in the mall parking lot that I am only mentioning now, we can safely conclude that most pilots are devote Christians. Rayford finally considers turning at the last possible moment, getting his plane damaged in the process. Rayford decides to turn around and head back to New York.

I forgot to mention that when Chloe caught up with her father at the airport, she bumped into some famous reporter and they seemed to hit it off. That guy is on the plane, and wouldn’t you know it, he is also a pilot, or something, because he ends up helping Rayford out quite a bit, including as co-pilot and taking pictures of the leaking fuel that catches on fire.

Back at home Chloe receives a voice mail from her father about his plane’s condition and assumes he is dead. Returning to her house, she also discovers her mother’s jewelry in the shower, but her mother is not to be found. I guess Chloe knows that her mother always showers fully bejeweled, or something. She decides to mosey on over to her mother’s church, only to discover the only one there is Pastor Barnes. Barnes explains that God took all the good people to heaven, including Chloe’s mother, but left him behind to be a messenger. Not really though, he was left behind because he didn’t believe in the product he was selling (his words, not mine).

Despite a damaged plane which is leaking fuel (sometimes on fire) at an alarming rate , Rayford takes the time to investigate the disappearances of people around him. He finds a few Christian items amongst the co-pilot’s, missing stewardess’, and missing passengers’ clothes. His conclusion? They all shopped at the same airport gift shop before leaving for London. Rayford tells the stewardess he was having an affair with about his wife’s statements concerning the rapture and he thinks all the good people have been taken off the Earth. The stewardess is more concerned to learn that Rayford was married than she is to learn she is one of the damned left to suffer the Apocalypse. Priorities, I guess.

Meanwhile, Chloe, seeing New York City going to pot and thinking her whole family is gone, decides to climb the Brooklyn Bridge (or some other bridge) and commit suicide. Just as she is ready to jump she receives a call from that reporter guy. They don’t have anywhere to land and they are dangerously low on fuel. Chloe was, of course, the logical choice to call in this situation. Chloe procures a truck and manages to clear a space for the plane to land. The remaining passengers and crew deplane only to see New York City in flames. The reporter says it looks like the end of the world, but Chloe tells him that it is only the beginning (of the end). Things are looking up for that stewardess though, because Rayford’s wife is out of the picture.

If you look at that IMDB description at the top you’d see a couple of glaring inaccuracies. To me is suggests most of the people were taken off the Earth, but that isn’t what happened. Also, the world isn’t plunged into chaos and destruction until the end of the movie.

This movie is apparently based off a series of books which mostly focus on the aftermath of the Rapture as those “left behind” deal with a crumbling world that apparently no longer has any good people on it.

Filed under Bad-Movies

The Solarian War Saga

2015-07-28 by . 1 comments

I recently signed up for a trial membership of Kindle Unlimited to find new reading material. Like so many others, I discovered their “100,000s” of books were most ones no one had ever heard of. They have a few stand out series, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Lord of the Rings, but the vast majority of their unlimited selection is comprised of titles and authors few have heard of.

On a whim I decided to choose a science fiction series titled The Solarian War Saga by Felix R. Savage.

The first book, The Galapagos Incident introduces us to a future where humankind has spread out throughout the Solar System. The main protagonist is Elfrida Goto, a half Japanese woman who is working on the United Nations Venus Remediation Project. This is an effort to make Venus habitable. They acquire asteroids, load them with some kind of organisms that can survive the 600 degree weather, and crash them into Venus. Elfrida uses remote viewing (think Surrogates 2009) to attempt to acquire asteroids and relocate any settlers who may be already there. Things turn dicey when her remote body’s machine intelligence appears to have its own agenda and goes rogue.

The series tries to imagine a future where technology has taken us to the point of remote sensory, bionic implants, and highly advanced artificial intelligence. These intelligences are so advanced that the United Nations (the supreme authority on everything in this future) has placed bans on just how smart machines can be. This was a direct response to some incident on Mars that resulted in all colonies being lost there and the planet going dark.

The writing might lack a little at times, and the science doesn’t hold up to a lot of scrutiny, but I enjoyed the series none the less. After reading the The Galapagos Incident I continued on to The Vesta Conspiracy, The Mercury Rebellion, and finished with the short story prequel Crapkiller (an ill advised title in my mind). People who enjoy a good space opera might enjoy visiting the future of Felix R. Savage for a few books.

The first book is available for free on Amazon, and the series is available via an Amazon Unlimited subscription (or trial).

Filed under Review

Ant-Man: A (mildly spoilery) review!

From the moment it was announced, Ant-Man was viewed as a bit of a risky move by Marvel. Even for a comic book movie, a guy that gets really small and talks to ants seemed like a bit of a stretch. Could they make it work? Would this be the beginning of the end for Marvel?

Of course not. Marvel doesn’t seem capable of making a genuinely terrible movie, and Ant-Man was far, far away from terrible. Following up on epic adventures like Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel gives us a small, fun, and funny heist movie that more than delivers.

The short version: 9/10, definite watch, and do so in 3-D if possible. One of my favorite MCU movies yet, largely because it’s something different from what we’ve gotten so far. For more details, keep reading.

Note: There will be very minor spoilers here for some elements of the movie; I will try not to give away anything major, but you may want to skip this one until you’ve seen it. If you’re willing to risk it, click on down:

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Revisiting The Terminator

2015-07-17 by . 1 comments

The film that put James Cameron on the map, The Terminator is quite rightly seen as a science fiction classic, a film that has had enormous impact on modern pop culture thanks to both the lasting impression that The Terminator made and the huge career boost that James Cameron received afterwards. Without The Terminator, I very much doubt that we would have seen the rest of James Cameron’s filmography come to fruition, never mind the number of actors that he has since helped turn into film stars.

The story follows Kyle Reese as he travels back in time from a post-apocalyptic future in which an artificial intelligence known as Skynet has taken over the world. His mission is to protect Sarah Connor from a killing machine known as a Terminator that was also sent back in time to kill her thanks to the fact that she is destined to give birth to the leader of the human resistance.

The time travel mechanic is a creative and tidy way to set the story in motion, and allows James Cameron to hint at the much larger world he has created without it getting in the way of the progression of the story and the momentum that is being built from the very start. It also allows Cameron to easily explain why Kyle can’t call for back up, and why the police and authorities are simply unable to help – it’s a very smart way of ensuring that their is no easy way out for the main characters, keeping them isolated and on the run for the entire movie.

Which is important, because at it’s core The Terminator is little more than a slasher flick with a science fiction flair. The Terminator itself is the ultimate slasher bad guy, a silent, expressionless, intimidating and virtually unstoppable killing machine that is never too far behind our heroes, who are hopelessly outmatched. The best example of this is during the now iconic assault on the police station – even dozens of cops on their home turf can’t do anything to stop the Terminator, really upping the ante and making the Terminator feel as dangerous and unstoppable as it is meant to be, while at the same time showing us how capable Kyle Reese must be to have successfully fought the Terminator off several times before now.

Potentially more important, The Terminator manages to avoid the casual misogyny and conservative politics that are now synonymous with the slasher genre, defining itself as markedly different during a time when slasher flicks saturated the market – no doubt a part of why The Terminator was both a critical and commercial success in it’s time and why it still stands up as a solid piece of film making over 30 years after it’s initial release.

It’s also worth pointing out how well developed the relationship between Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor is in The Terminator when compared to Terminator Genisys, and it’s mostly because of the subtle but important character work that the The Terminator does with Sarah Connor both before and after her first encounter with Kyle Reese. You can understand completely why a vulnerable and scared Sarah Connor would seek comfort in the only man in the world that knows what she is going through, but the equivalent of this in Terminator Genisys is (like everything else in the film) rushed, forced and ultimately unsatisfying.

And the only reason that this all works as intended is because of Cameron’s ability to recognise and work within his limits. His original idea for The Terminator also included a liquid metal robot that would go on to be the primary antagonist in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but he cut it because he knew that the visual effects available in 1984 weren’t good enough to do the idea justice. This restraint is noticeable throughout The Terminator, which saves it’s limited special effects for important moments and manages to do more with it’s modest budget (just $6 million!) than films that cost upwards of 20 times as much – I’m looking at you, Terminator Genisys.

I still stand by my opinion that The Terminator should never have been a franchise, with the phrase “diminishing returns” very much applicable to the series after Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but that’s neither here nor there – The Terminator is a testament to the importance of inexperienced directors being given the opportunity to prove themselves, showing us the potential longevity of a film when an idea is executed well by someone who knows what they are doing. Even if The Terminator has since been overshadowed by it’s own sequel, it’s still an important and entertaining film that shouldn’t go under appreciated.

For more film and TV review and other articles like this, visit ScreenNerds.

Filed under Review

Highlights from 2015 – 2nd Quarter

2015-07-06 by . 3 comments

Top Stats

The question with the top number of votes goes to Wad Cheber who asked How many axes did Gimli bring on the quest of the Fellowship?. This question was answered by Joel.

The second most voted question (and incidentally the top voted answer) was What was the first Sci-Fi work to feature a spaceship? asked by rand al’thor. The question was answered by Wad Cheber.

The most viewed question (by a staggering 25198 views over the next runner up) was In the Netflix Daredevil series, is the “Black Sky” concept from any comic? asked by CreationEdge. This was answered by Omegacron.

Side-note: These questions show a very low correlation between views and upvotes.

Top User Picks


I quite liked this question from new user kviiri. Short, succinct and surprisingly answerable
In terms of answers, I was especially proud of the one below. I spent a lot of time playing with the custom map and finally decided to make a video to demonstrate what I was talking about. The fact that it didn’t get many upvotes or an acceptance didn’t even bother me (that much). A good answer is its own reward :-)
@SS’s demands seemed quite unreasonable at first glance, but with a bit of work, this question was actually pretty fun to answer:


I really enjoyed @Richard’s answer to my question
It is succinct and answers every part of the question, and the chosen illustration is perfect. It also introduced me to a book that I was not aware of…I have lost hours to it now, for better or worse.
@JasonBaker’s answer to
is brilliant.
Last but not least, I very much enjoyed @JasonBaker’s thorough answer to
even though it wasn’t the answer I wanted to hear!


My favorite questions were:
My favorite answers were:


My favourite answer

Nika G. posted an excellent answer to Why would Arya join the Faceless Men?

  • She wants revenge. She’s hungry for the blood.
    • Well researched
    • Excellent analysis of how exactly she progressed from The Saltpans (previously known as Whitewalls) to The House of Black and White
    • It tied-in her connection to Jaqen / The Faceless Men
    • Tied-in her want for revenge
    • All backed-up by relevant canon
My favourite question

The Honorable Ned Stark asked about the Origin of the name Azor Ahai

  • It’s always good to ask the seemingly unanswerable questions
  • Made me question the importance of names made up by George R. R. Martin
  • Sent me delving into the depths of my favourite canon
  • I had a lot of fun trying to find a suitable answer
  • Made me learn so much, including that George R. R. Martin is extremely deliberate with his name choices!
  • I maaay have earned some extra rep from the bounty offered by @Arm0geddon

Jack B Nimble

My favorite question to answer was

Could the Earth-2149 Squirrel Girl destroy Colonel America’s shield?

a rare versus question that can be answered via science (sort of).

Filed under Question of the Week