...And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Can't Stop the Serenity

In honor of Joss Whedon's upcoming 42nd birthday on June 23, my favorite movie ever, Serenity, is getting a small nationwide rerelease in the form of 43 charity screenings to benefit Joss' favorite charity, Equality Now, to be screened between June 17 and June 30. Four of the screenings will be in Canada, three in Australia, two in England, and two in New Zealand. A screening for Scotland is also in the middle of pre-planning.

For full information on screenings and venues, check out Can't Stop the Serenity. All of the screenings have been arranged by fans in participation with the screening venues.

It's a great movie, it's a good cause, and it'll be a fun time...trust me, you have not seen the movie until you've seen it with the fans. If anyone by chance is gonna show up to the Cleveland showing on June 22, I will be there!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A woman "accidentally" bites off part of her baby's ear.

Yes, you unfortunately read that right.

Damn you, Mike Tyson. Damn you.

At the Movies: Cars

Written by Robert L. Baird, Dan Fogelman, Dan Gerson, John Lasseter, Phil Lorin, and Kiel Murray, based on a story by Jorgen Klubien and Joe Ranft
Directed by John Lasseter

Wow, who would ever have thought that George Carlin and Larry the Cable Guy would be in the same movie? And for that matter, who would ever have thought that I'd actually be hailing something featuring Larry the Cable Guy as a masterpiece? Yet another Pixar instant classic, Cars features a roster of A-list talents that, besides Carlin and Larry, includes Owen Wilson, Paul Newman, Bonnie Hunt, Cheech Marin, Tony Shalhoub, Michael Keaton, John Ratzenberger and, perhaps most awesomely, Jeremy Piven in a brief turn as an Ari Gold-like agent for Wilson's Lightning McQueen. While it is true that Cars is a tad more predictable than most of Pixar's ventures, it's in the execution that lies its mastery. Director John Lasseter and the rest of his animation crew have crafted a truly amazing-looking environment populated with dazzling characters; the individual mechanics and expressions of each car are stunning. And while it's true you can pretty much tell where the simplistic plot's going to go from the beginning, the screenplay creates a cast of loveable and believable characters with real emotional depth, plus a nostalgic yearning for the classic Americana of yesteryear that lends the film its real heart. And, as always, Pixar's cleverness and wit abound. This is a truly great movie, and easily the most entertaining film of the year thus far. Also, make sure to stay for the credits. You'll be glad you did. A+

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friends don't let friends get to that infernal last level.

You know, the one where there's Bowser and the flames and the princess and everything.

There is now actually an addiction clinic for compulsive video gamers.

"Parents should take notice if a child neglects usual activities, spends several hours at a time with the computer and has no social life. "

Basically, if they're an American child.

This is like letting Tom Sizemore get professional help for being a dick.

Yet more fuel for the mighty "MySpace is dangerous, deadly, and quite possibly the bane of existence" bonfire.

It prompted a straight-A kid who never had a boyfriend to whisk herself away to Israel for some hot lovin' with a stranger.

See? MySpace SUCKS.

(Excuse the fact that I have a personal account, as well as a filmmaking account for Haven 37 Films.)

Why you should see Clerks II, opening everywhere July 21.

1. Kevin Smith is awesome; Clerks., Chasing Amy, and Dogma are three very excellent movies (and his other three, with the exception of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, are also recommended).

2. I could potentially win some free shit by posting this.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Pretty much the greatest team-up ever.

Okay, I've known about this for a few days: With Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern as writers and Jim Fry as artist, there is going to be a four-part bimonthly Darkman Vs. Army of Darkness miniseries from Dynamite Entertainment starting in August. So...Darkman takes on Ash. Two Sam Raimi franchises melding into one big all-out retro pulp melee before teaming up to kick deadite ass? Groovy.

But the real reason I'm listing this here now is because of something that Busiek said:

"...The World's Finest on crack."

Do you even need any more of a reason to pick this up when it hits stores?

Batman vs. Lex Luthor: Battle royale with a robot?

Okay, I'd prefer a more psychological and emotional look at the parallels and vast differences in ideals between Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor. While Andy Diggle, the writer of upcoming series Batman Confidential--chronicling the Dark Knight's early days, which SO hasn't been done to death--seems to have a good handle on it, he wants to go wacky and add robots and the kind of crazy campy stuff that has always been mixed very very badly with Batman.

Diggle says, "It was my feeling that DC had tried so hard to ground Batman in a gritty urban ‘reality’ in the post-Dark Knight era, maybe they’d lost sight of that fact that at its heart it’s still supposed to be a superhero comic. And I passionately believe that superhero comics should be about speed and energy and movement, thrilling adventures and spectacular action. Not just, y’know, whining and soap. So my story begins as a mystery, develops into a conspiracy, and then explodes into all-out, balls-to-the-wall chunky robot action."

Umm...yeeeeah. As has been proven in the past, when Batman's NOT in that gritty urban reality that Frank Miller so masterfully crafted in The Dark Knight Returns, things don't go too well. I'm fine with Batman taking on the extraordinary; I mean the Joker pretty much fits that description. But even in the original Bob Kane/Bill Finger tales, Batman was a noir detective incorporated in a seedy urban landscape. With, like, no crazy robots.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead.

The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq was killed yesterday in an air raid. This is the most important person we've brought down since capturing Saddam Hussein in December 2003. The White House is overjoyed, though I'm feeling conflicted right now. I am relieved, apprehensive, and sad...all at the same time.

Let's go through them one at a time.

Relief: The Iraqi insurgents no longer have a leader, and may be greatly weakened because of it. This is an important step for out government and our military, and I am appreciative for anything that will get our troops the hell out of Iraq as soon as possible.

Apprehension: On the other end of the spectrum, the insurgents and the rest of al-Qaida could become further enraged to such unforeseen lengths that they could become more dangerous than they ever have been in the past. We've either placed our troops' ticket home within grasp or we've pulled it out of sight. It's very difficult to discern which way the tide will turn. And, as Bush said, the tide WILL turn. He's optimistic; I'm uneasy.

Sadness: al-Zarqawi was a bad man. I would perhaps even go so far as to say that he was evil. He killed and helped kill many people. Yet I cannot bring myself to celebrate the death of a man, regardless of what he's done. As I said before, I am somewhat relieved at al-Zarqawi's death. It could help to get us out of Iraq, something that I and many millions of other Americans have been hoping for for years. But I'm not going to be happy that a man is dead. I would never have wanted to meet him--and if he had killed any members of my family, I don't know what I would've done--but he was still a human soul. I am extremely happy that we may be putting the cork in the bloody champagne bottle of the supposed "War on Terror" sooner than expected, but I will not be happy that another human soul has perished, languishing in the pits of Hell.

The saddest thing of all is that I can't even tell whose fault it is anymore.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Scientists will attempt to clone human embryos in a manner of "therapeutic cloning."

Yes, the revolution has begun.

The Island was bad enough; now I have to live it?

But, in all seriousness, this is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good in that it's a major leap forward and that it could really help people. Bad in that it raises some very weighty and somewhat disconcerting moral issues (though I doubt most of the country is concerned with morals). I'm not going to go all narrow-view Bush and say that just because stem cells are being used it's an inherently evil process. But I'm conflicted.

Take this from the Reverend Tad Pacholczyk:

"...You are creating life precisely to destroy it. You are making young humans simply to strip-mine them for their desired cells and parts. And that is at root a fundamentally immoral project that cannot be made moral, no matter how desirable the cells might be that would be procured."

It's biased, yes, and I'm not going to agree with it 100% (though as a practicing Christian, it's a bias I can understand). But it raises some disturbing ideas.

Kids finds a real body at a mock-up crime scene.

What the hell are they teaching our kids nowadays?

"The first thing we thought was, 'That's a real good dummy she set up.'"

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Gospel According to Mr. Bush: Bush makes it really clear he doesn't like gays. Again.

The 2,000+ casualties of the Iraq "War" and the lack of any kind of WMDs, plus that nasty little wiretapping shenanigan, be damned. Bush just wants you to know he doesn't fuckin' like the gay people.

Yes, despite all of the major things he's fucking up with our country at present, Bush's top priority is still to make sure that two people who love each other can't get married. For, like, no reason. Well, okay, he gives a reason, but it reads like bullshit and sounds worse when he actually says it:

"Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure," he said earlier today at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. He also says that he wants to put the issue of marriage "back where it belongs: in the hands of the American people."

Riiiight. Okay, first of all, there is no way the family structure is undermined unless the family is being ill-treated or is lacking in resources. Basically, Bush is saying that a family in which two daddies raise a little boy or in which two mommies raise a little girl will fall apart because apparently homosexuals are incompetent and lack TLC. If that's his sole argument--and also that whole treacly moral thing, on which he's so skewed it's almost disgusting--I can point out a number of families with opposite-sex partners in which the relationship or situation is failing or devolving.

And how exactly is he putting the situation back into the hands of the American people? Regardless of public opinion--and, unfortunately, despite decline in opposition, the majority of Americans are still opposed to same-sex marriage--the government is still deciding on this situation.

Also, I've got a bone to pick with democrats. Take this nugget of wisdom from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada:

"The reason for this debate is to divide our society, to pit one against another. This is another one of the president's efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract, and to confuse America. It is this administration's way of avoiding the tough, real problems that American citizens are confronted with each and every day."

Okay, that's all well and good; I definitely agree with his point. But the fact of the matter is, Reid does not approve of gay marriage, and is still voting for it...assumedly just because Bush is against it, and because he rightly believes that it's a distraction for the American people, regardless of his own moral barometer.

That's the problem with our government. The parties are so opposed to each other that they'll go separate ways on almost every issue...regardless of whether or not they believe in it.

Duck eats alien. Film at 11.

Yes, apparently, an X-ray taken at the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia (hey, just like on Buffy), Florida, reveals the image of an alien head in a duck's stomach. Now they're going to sell it on eBay.

God, I love this country.

Box Office Analysis: The Break-Up breaks up the X-Men.

Well, ladies and gents, the honeymoon is over. There was a nice period of engagement (despite some brouhaha from some of their closest friends) when Brett Ratner signed on after the X-Men had lost two previous directors. Then the marriage was sealed when filming wrapped, and then the honeymoon arrived with a spectacular, record-breaking Memorial Day weekend box office haul.

But now, I'm sorry to have to tell you this, the honeymoon is over and grim reality has set in. The new (subpar) Vaughniston romcom/shouting match The Break-Up has dethroned X-Men: The Last Stand at the box office, leaving the not-so-merry band of mutants to lick their wounds and to try and get an annulment. These celebrity marriages, I tell you.

Everyone in the industry seems to be shocked that The Break-Up hit at #1, yet that's exactly what I expected it to do...frankly, I'm shocked that they're shocked. I knew that from the Vaughniston/Brangelina media speculation and from all of the gossip swirling around the nation, that The Break-Up would come out victorious. Yes, X3 has a huge built-in comic book fanbase (which I am a part of), but the reviews were less than stellar (despite being the lesser of the three X-movies, I still thought that it was pretty good) and the buzz has been bad for months. Basically, X3 is going to end up just like The Da Vinci Code, a "huge" movie that people go to see only so that they can have something to say about it.

Which is pretty much how The Break-Up is going to go down. The reviews are terrible, and the audience that I saw it with seemed generally receptive but ultimately unimpressed after the credits rolled. Basically, the people who wanted to see it have seen it, and those who want to use it to further ignite any kind of romance gossip have gotten their chance. The movie sucks, people are going to realize it, and the money's gonna stop flooding in.

Next week's box office champ? Cars, natch.

At the Movies: The Break-Up

Written by Jeremy Garelick and Jay Lavender, based on a story by Vince Vaughn, Garelick, and Lavender
Directed by Peyon Reed

This is what I imagined happened with The Break-Up (and it probably didn't, but this is how the movie seemed to me): Someone wrote it as a biting drama with Oscar potential, until the studio got ahold of it, and went, "How about...not?" So, they got a couple of people to half-heartedly rewrite it as a romantic comedy, and then went ahead to cast funny people and a director known for his slick Hollywood comedies. The result is a sort of Swingers: 10 Years Later (Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau's characters are virtually the same but with a decade's worth of extra baggage, both physical and emotional) only wihout the wit and with a number of uncomfortable and unpleasant scenes ripe with dramatic tension where we feel as if we should be crying...but stars Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston are determined to make everything into a big sarcastic punchline. Uh-uh. Doesn't work. The cast is full of people I love (Vaughn, Aniston, Favreau, Jason Bateman, Vincent D'Onofrio, Joey Lauren Adams), but they drown amongst Reed's suffocating romcom direction. We also only get to see the characters being jerks when they meet and being jerks when they break up; we never actually see them happy together, so we really don't even care what happens to their relationship. There are a few amusing spots--and a perfect ending--but too much of The Break-Up aims for the funny bone when it should have the balls to aim for the gut. C-

Still Planning On This Whole Inheritance Thing

Okay, yeah, you're probably thinking I'm dead (and that my geek revolution has gone with me). But, no, I'm still above ground and well...just I've been busy as a mothahfuckah lately. So, I'm going to finally start updating AtGSItE.

God, that's one long anagram.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

We Shall Inherit!

As you can tell, I'm totally a geek. And, also as you can tell from my creepy propaganda-esque URL, I am seeking to recruit as many geeks as I can to build an undefeatable army of geek soldiers to take over the world, thus releasing mighty trumpet blasts from the heavens and ushering in Judgment Day.

Or, um, maybe I just want a cozy little hobbit hole in which to discuss my obsessions:

Comic Books - Stop by every Thursday for a day-after recap of my ritualistic trek to the comics shop (the very awesome J.C. Comics & Cards for this here geek) on Wednesdays to score some new comics. And, of course, you'll only be getting recaps of the titles I read...which means pretty much every single Marvel title, only the DC titles featuring Batman characters, and little else despite the occasional non-Big Two title I pick up. In other words, if you read Superman books other than Superman/Batman and The Justice League of America, you're outta luck.

Movies - Movies are my ultimate passion, as evidenced by my sporadically-updated website, Reel Picks. I'll give you the skinny on any movie of this year that I see, or any flick I catch at the multiplex. I'll also drop by every time I watch a movie for the first time that is so undeniably great that I label it a "masterpiece"; it happens with more frequency than you'd think. In the span of one week recently, I saw two (the unforgettably powerful United 93 and George Lucas' pre-Star Wars classic American Graffiti). I'm also making a short film called The Interrogator with my friend Will Penley, the blog for which can be found here.

Television - I'll host day-after recaps of every TV show I watch here. Which means that as of right now, you'll be getting The Sopranos recaps on Monday, Big Love recaps on Monday, American Idol recaps on Wednesday and Thursday, Lost recaps on Thursday, and South Park recaps on Thursday. (Just to be clear here, talk shows don't count. How in the hell am I supposed to recap The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien, shows that spend their entire running time recapping shit and making jokes about it?)

Books - I love to read, but unfortunately, I don't get around to reading a lot of current books, so no day-of or day-after recaps of new book releases (except on special occasions, like the forthcoming last Harry Potter installment). But every time I read a book so great that I don't want you to miss out on it, I'll be posting it here.

Music - Expect little to no posts about music. But if ever there's a funky Beatles tune or a Johnny Cash gem I want you to hear, I'll post it for your listening pleasure. Besides, I write angry political songs in my spare time.

Politics - Ah, probably the least-geeky realm I'm exploring here. But still, I have a significant interest in politics, as well as a significant hate of President George W. Bush. I'm not a democrat or a republican...if I do have to label myself, I'll go ahead and label myself an independent, as I like to do my own thinking and make up my own mind without relying on party spin-doctoring. But, that being said, I'd be totally dishonest if I didn't say that I have a definite liberal slant. I disagree with some of the liberals' more fantatical tree-hugging issues, but I'll take their side nine times outta ten.

Of course, I'll be covering the news in between all of these subjects, as well as some shit I just want to share or get out of my system. Basically, this is me (your buddy Arlo J. Wiley [but you can call me AJ]) on the world.

Off we go in our glorious pilgrimage to Dorkdom!