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For The Community Fans Out There

NBC released the schedule for the next half of the season, with the critically beloved (but sadly low rated) Community no where to be found. Luckily, the show has not been canceled, just benched. Instead, 30 Rock, which has been (in my opinion) on creative life support for a while, is taking it’s place. Many are fearing the worst. We all want to see the Greendale gang graduate! Four seasons, that’s all we ask! But, even during all the nervous chatter, I’ve found an article that breaks down the situation pretty well. It’s worth a read, if only to realize that it’s not all certain doom and gloom.

http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/11/vulture-answers-your-questions-about-communitys-future.html

“Six seasons and a movie!”

(Editor’s note: Brittaed the link before. It’s the right one now)


A Conversation With Lawrence Kasdan

I attended the Austin Film Festival and got to meet a few very interesting people. I’ll post up a few experiences I had here and there, but one that’s standing out in my mind tonight is meeting Lawrence Kasdan. Responsible for a good chunk of our childhoods, Mr. Kasdan wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strike Back.

At an intimate Q&A session, Kasdan told us the story with how he got the job writing Empire, which I wanted to share.

So, Kasdan had just written the first draft of Raiders of the Lost Ark (his first writing job, by the way) and he hands it to George Lucas in his office. Lucas plops it on his desk, turns to Kasdan and goes, “Let’s go get some lunch.”

At lunch, Lucas mentions that the first writer of the Star Wars sequel (still called Star Wars 2 at this point) recently died from cancer after completing a draft of the script. Lucas, though, wasn’t happy with her work.

“So, how would you like to write the sequel to Star Wars?” Lucas asked.

Kasdan just looked at him. The man across from him just asked him to write the sequel to the most successful film of all time.

“But you haven’t even read Raiders yet. What if it sucks?”

Lucas shrugged, “Oh, well, I’m reading it tonight. And if it does I’ll take the offer back in the morning.”

The next day, Kasdan walked into Lucas’ office. “Larry, you nailed it,” says Lucas, “I’d like you to go ahead with what we discussed. Before you do, I need to tell you something.”

Kasdan shrugged, “Alright.”

“Darth Vader is Luke’s father.”

Kasdan just stood there, looking at Lucas, “… no shit?”


The Lost Songs of James Bond

Everyone loves the opening credits of a Bond movie. Sure, you have a kick ass teaser to kick start a Bond movie, but you really know you’re there when the theme music starts.

As it turns out, Tomorrow Never Dies and Quantum of Solace have two theme songs, both of them replaced. You can tell they were meant for the original songs, as their tunes match up with the theme music by David Arnold all over their respective films. The first is “Surrender” by K.D. Lang, was replaced as the producers simply didn’t like it and asked Sheryl Crow for a replacement. The story of the second song, “No Good About Goodbye,” is slightly more complicated.  David Arnold developed the song with Amy Winehouse, but she dropped out due to health complications. When Jack White and Alicia Keys were brought on, their went their own way with the song and we got the wildly uneven “Another Way To Die.” Personally, I think it’s a shame, as Arnold’s original song for Quantum of Solace would have fit the movie far better. Arnold eventually recorded the song with Shirley Bassey, who sung the theme music for Goldfinger, Diamonds are Forever, and Moonraker.

For your listening pleasure, here they are:

Tomorrow Never Dies, “Surrender”

Quantum of Solace, “No Good About Goodbye”


The Avengers trailer is here

http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/marvel/avengers/

The interplay between all the members of the group looks great, and I’m sure RDJ loved all of Whedon’s one-liners for Stark. Not the biggest fan of the screaming rock music, but I’ll be damned if the actual footage isn’t pretty cool. Check it out.


For Those Of You That Love The Thing

With the prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 masterpiece The Thing coming out at the end of the week, I thought it might be a decent idea to spent a little time honoring the franchise this week. The first little tid bit I have is a rather new blog created by the film’s co-producer. It has a lot of great inside information, including the process of marketing the movie, deleted scenes, and the relationship members of the production had with the studio. He also gives his (and at times the screenwriter’s) opinions on several of the film’s mystery’s. It’s really worth a gander if you’re even a little bit interested in the movie.

http://theoriginalfan.blogspot.com/

And, just as a shameless plug, here’s the trailer to the new movie, starring the always wonderful Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton. Ron Moore, the head writer of the new Battlestar Galactica, is also co-writer on the script:


Dexter Review: “Those Kinds of Things”

Originally posted here.

The season premiere of  Dexter teaches us that religion is, of course, for the ignorant and criminally insane.

Dexter stalks a member of his former High School class he suspects murdered his own wife while he attempts to enroll Harrison into a pre-school.

Upon seeing promos for the new season of Dexter, I found myself apprehensive of season 6’s religion angle. By the end of the episode, the writers proved that they (hopefully) wouldn’t become too heavy handed with issues of faith. Instead, the episode delves more into Dexter’s curiosity with human behavior. Harrison is growing up, after all… and Dexter doesn’t have much left in his life other than him and Deb. Obviously, the show has restarted itself into something closer to season 1. Dexter as a show is incredibly frustrating, as it has the potential to be amazing but is afraid to shake up the status quo. Season 4 promised us an interesting new direction, but season 5 simply took proceedings back to business as usual, which became very frustrating. Worse yet, Deb had the chance to uncover Dexter’s secret using her budding detective skills, but let it slip by. I only bring up the series’ past failings to highlight the basis in which season 6 must be judged: will it finally take risks, or be the same old? For now, let’s just judge the episode on its own merits.

Dexter’s shenanigans at his 20 year (seriously? People go to those?) High School reunion was both interesting and surprisingly amusing. Dexter’s former classmates fawning over him proved to be a great source of amusement. It does make you wonder why everyone swarmed around Dexter because of his wife, but people didn’t do the same for his prey. It seemed people liked him for the jock persona, not the traumatic history. Still, it proved to be entertaining watching Dexter learning to mingle as more than a fly on the wall, right down to an inevitable but humorously useful blow job from a former prom queen. Dexter’s trickery with his class ring, despite it backfiring, was also quite clever. Lastly, while I hate Harry as a story device (he was played out by the end of season 3), his scenes at the dance and on the football field were actually rather fun.

As a side note… what exactly is hammer time? Obviously it’s a dance, but I’ve never heard of it before. It sounds extremely lame.

Edward James Olmos and Colin Hanks had a somewhat cryptic, if important roll in tonight’s episode. It’s hard to judge them, as they were given little to do. It would be more pertinent to simply say that they were intriguing and it will be interesting to see how they tie into Dexter’s journey over the course of the season.

Looking at the changes in the last year… I admit I’m surprised that Angel and LaGuerta seemingly broke up between seasons. It seems like a waste of two seasons worth of drama just to have them revert to a single status. Now Angel is taking care of his sister? Once again, the writers show just how little ideas they have for the two characters, so they just reboot them back to square one. Wouldn’t it be best just to kill one of them off?

As for Deb and Quinn, they didn’t have too much time to shine, but the touches with Quinn’s nervousness in proposing to Deb were well done. It’ll be curious to see how she ultimately reacts, given what happened to her with the Ice Truck Killer. Will she freak out or embrace it? My money is on the former. Still, Deb will have plenty else on her plate during the season, as her gunfight at the restaurant will no doubt put her in the running to head up the department instead of Angel… much to LaGuerta’s disdain.

Overall, the episode itself was solid. Dexter’s adventure was great and the duo of Hanks and Olmos has the potential to be amazing. Despite the writers tripping up her development, Deb vs. LaGuerta could be a very fun plotline. It’s too bad Angel and Masuka are settled with half baked plotlines, as the actors deserve better. It’s just hard to take Dexter seriously as a show anymore, as it suffers from the same problem Smallville had: on an episode to episode basis it’s pretty good, but as a whole it just feels like it could be so much more. Here’s hoping the season will amount to more than a missed opportunity.

8/10


Fringe Review: “One Night In October”

Originally posted here.

On the latest episode of FOX’s Fringe, we learn that people are kinda like herpes: just when you think they’re gone forever they find a way of staying with you.

When the other side asks for Olivia’s help solving a string of murders, she brings our side’s version of the killer to aid in the investigation. Meanwhile, Walter attempts to ignore his flashes of Peter.

Major spoilers ahead:

The latest Fringe is a curious episode, as it follows a formula decidedly less true to itself, yet still successful. By taking procedural elements seen in something more like Law and Order, Fringe created a stand alone adventure that proved to be a surprising potent outing thanks to some excellent acting. Yet at the same time… are well done procedural episodes the reason why we watch Fringe? (more…)


Battlefield 3 PC Beta Initial Impressions

2011 has been an interesting year for games. Not only to we have almost every major franchise throwing their latest, greatest entry into the meat grinder, but we have the mother of all first person shooter grudge matches brewing: Battlefield 3 vs. Modern Warfare 3.

While the Bad Company games were certainly good, they were overshadowed by the growing phenomenon of the Call of Duty franchise. For the last two years, in fact, the winter release schedules have been rather barren in order to avoid the CoD juggernaut, but not so in 2011. EA and Dice are here to play and they go a long way in proving it with their Battlefield 3 beta. While not perfect, it’s enough to give a gamer hope. (more…)


Fringe Review: “Neither Here Nor There”

Originally posted here.

In the season premiere of FOX’s Fringe, we learn that once in a while an episode’s title perfectly describes it.

In a newly augmented timeline devoid of Peter Bishop, an uneasy truce is established by both universes. Meanwhile, Team Fringe investigates a translucent skinned killer with the help of our side’s agent Lincoln Lee.

Major Spoilers Follow:

Back in May, I mentioned how season finales are a funny thing. Premieres are also funny in the fact that how they are constructed is reflective of how the show is doing ratings wise. A ratings juggernaut such as Lost can open a season and pick right up where they left off… but a show always on the renewal bubble like Fringe often needs a stand alone story to draw in new viewers. As a result, we have the season opening in a place friendly to new viewers. Agent Lee serves as the audience’s perspective as a newcomer to the Fringe universe. While Lee’s a welcome addition to the cast, everything else just came off as business as usual. (more…)


Half Life Fan Film Double Feature

Fan Films can either be wonderful or just plain horrible.  Luckily, two shorts came out that are pretty damn good. There’s some great special effects at work here. Escape From City 17 Part 2 in particular has been in the making for years. Check them out:

Escape From City 17 Part 2

Portal: No Escape