Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Olivia Hart Held, b 9/12/2009 6lb 11oz, 19.5"




(Yeah, the pics are late, but there will be more and you will ooo and ahhh because she is adorable and perfect.)

-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Monday, September 21, 2009

RiffTrax Live: Plan 9 From Outer Space - Encore Showing



Just wanted to mention that because of the overwhelming success of the RiffTrax Live event that took place on August 20th, Mike Nelson and Co. have decided to do an encore presentation on October 8th (click for participating theaters and tickets).

What is RiffTrax, you may ask?  Allow me to shamelessly cut-and-paste from their website:

Q:  What is RiffTrax?
A:  RiffTrax are comedic MP3 tracks that you play in-sync with your favorite movies. Written and performed by the stars of the award-winning TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000, RiffTrax brings the unique humor of "Satellite of Love" partners Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett to Hollywood's hit movies.

I was fortunate enough to have my local theater participating in the live event, which had Mike, Kevin and Bill riffing on the short film Flying Stewardesses before taking on one of the ultimate bad movies, Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space.

It was a lot of fun, and the encore show is actually a few dollars cheaper than the initial showing!  I highly recommend it to anyone with fond memories of MST3K or anyone who just wants to spend a couple of hours laughing their butts off.

-Adam

Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Because someone's got to post something, and I guess it's me.

Well, it appears that with Erik entering Day 5 of fatherhood I'll have to hold the fort around here. It also means my first post since, what? May?

Seems that as of the epic Horatio Caine spoof we've dropped the Hooper and Buck pseudonyms. (Don't ask me why we even had them in the first place. It seemed like a fun idea at the time.)

I hope to have another "What I've been reading" post up by the weekend, which may evolve into a "Summer '09 in books, movies, and television" sort of thing. But until then, enjoy some amusing links.

If you click on over to Andy Awesome's page, you'll find a series of pieces in which he takes a pop culture theme or icon and captures its essence in four simple circles of art. Here's one to show you what I mean:


Texts From Last Night is in the vein of FMyLife. People anonomously forward embarassing or amusing texts they've received for the whole world to see. Here's a recent one:

(818): I hate to tell you this, but your sister reeks of whore.

So, you know, it's fun for the entire family.

And lastly, after reviewing nearly every X-Men and X-Men-related comic that came out in the 1990s, Not Blog X has begun re-reading and reviewing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series published by Archie Comics from 1988-1995. I read most of these back when they came out, so it's been a really fun nostalgia trip for me.

Enjoy the links, and hopefully Erik will be back soon with an update from the trenches.

-Adam

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ye like me kerrrr-chief?


[Click to mucho grande!]


I forgot the REAL strip at home, says I. Me bag do me as empty as your head.

-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Friday, August 28, 2009

She lied! They're made for mayhem!!!


[Click pic to huge-ify.]





-Erik

The following are purely to boost site traffic. Enjoy!

Avatar, by James Cameron
Michael Jackson! He's not living....

Megan Fox makes James Cochran reach for the blue pillow!


Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I shudder to imagine the impact of a pro/con list.


[Click to upwardly-size.]



What's on your checklist today?

-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Because they're funny, that's why!


[Click to gargantuanize.]



You smirked. Admit it. Sophmoric as these jokes are, you always laugh.

-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Friday, August 21, 2009

CSI: Disputed Rights

[Click to embiggen.]




Yes, this was done in about five minutes with a G1, MS Paint, PicSay and Google.

-Erik

Read on, faithful few!

Monday, August 17, 2009

"One Night on Endor"


[Click to enlarge.]



-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"He has a ______ personality."


[Click to enlarge.]





-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

TPH: Getting Fixed

Cross-posted at The Exchange & The Political Hoedown


Much is being made of Health Care/Insurance reform of late. Look on any major news site, op-ed page or political blog and you’ll run into several pieces posted just this week covering the breaking news! over Blue Dog Dems dealing or Obama pushing or Republicans pushing back, not to mention the pontificating on both sides of the aisle over what “reform” really means for health care in America, co-op vs. public option…and the shouting at Town Halls! It’s more than part of the news cycle – it’s a key argument about our future.

It’s the first major legislative battle Obama has had to fight, and for the Democratic Party, it’s a chance to reverse a fifteen-year-old loss. More than these, it is a new theatre of war in the battle for our civil liberties.

The Bush Administration is still fresh in our minds. How many readers have lamented that since 9/11 (or afterwards, when the Patriot Act was passed), our civil liberties have been trampled on/infringed upon/lost? It’s a common topic that talks of the individual freedoms we hold valuable in our country.

(Less directly, those voicing dissent were also realizing a harsh reality: that these “truths we hold to be self-evident” and divinely-granted exist only due to the government’s benevolent, diverse structure and state.)

The thinking is this: we have a measure of control (freedoms) over our personal lives (and by extension, choices) that cannot be impugned by any governmental body. The most common freedom referenced is that of Speech, tying into the freedom to disagree with the government and its members.

So were our freedoms infringed upon over the last seven and change years? And how does this factor into health care?!

Short answer: 1) no, and 2) health care reform as exists in draft form (ObamaCare) is a direct interference in our lives, a diluting of our personal liberties.

Not-as-short answer, we’ll talk first about Bush (yay, that hasn’t been done a lot!).

Aside from the flag-draped coffins arriving in cargo planes, the biggest uniquely “American” tragedy of the recent Bush years is the “loss” of civil liberties/personal freedoms. But let’s take a look further. Yes, the TSA interrupted our travel, causing frustration. We were also limited in the quantity of cosmetics we could bring on planes (still no guns). Regarding dissent – freedom of speech in general – if anything, Bush’s time in office saw a flowering of free speech. Having worked in a book store, I witnessed firsthand the number of anti-Administration books that were published – harsh tomes that didn’t hold their punches and outright derided, accused and insulted most of the top officials. Few were spared. One novel, by Nicholson Baker, had its main character fantasizing about killing Bush (though he was talked out of it).

In the theatres, we saw the scathing documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which took aim at the Administration’s run-up to and early execution of the War in Iraq (as well as the handling of 9/11 itself). “Critical” is an understatement. And how many times did we tune in to a left-leaning pundit, talk show host or guest lambasting Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld as evil, fascist, corrupt, or at the least questionable in their morality?

Is this provocative newsmaking? Strict journalism? No, much of what was published, printed, screened or screamed by the cable punditry was personal opinion, heavily biased and often filled with fervent desire to see those in power toppled like an Iraqi statue, i.e., brought low by impeachment. While this never happened, “administration change” was a stated policy goal of many armchair politicians.

So freedom of speech. Freedom to (angrily) travel. Abortion and gay-related issues existed at the end of term where they were at the beginning, from a national perspective. Your taxes went down (yes, for all of you; a new lower bracket was even created). Your incomes may also have gone down, or your home values or 401(k)’s; insurance premiums did rise. But those aren’t “freedoms,” but rather a part of living in a capitalist, largely market-driven society.

More importantly, during this time your freedom of choice wasn’t altered. Choice to drink or smoke, to have a hamburger, to drive an SUV.

To not be insured.

We require our drivers to get car insurance, mainly to pay for repairs when that other guy hits you while turning left out of a Taco Bell parking lot. It’s a safety net for those responsible in traffic accidents, so they don’t go broke when their ’89 Civic rear-ends a Bentley. There are multiple parties involved.

Health insurance is a different beast. It’s about you and your body. It’s a choice you make about protecting that body and your pocketbook in case of injury or serious illness. We don’t cover ourselves to pay for cold medicine; as John Stossel said recently, insurance isn’t welfare, but instead coverage for a potential catastrophic incident. It secures against the potential maladies that can’t be solved by a trip to CVS or Walgreens, those things that cost a lot to fix.

But we still – as of this writing, and since insurance was invented – have a choice whether or not to buy it.

Our employers might cover us. They certainly don’t need to provide insurance. Tying your health care to where you work has shackled many to careers they’d rather not have. But we expect it, don’t we? It’s taken for granted that if you work for a major corporation, “benefits” will be included – benefits being medical coverage, dental, vision, emergency room service, etc. When it’s not offered, many throw their hands up and moan. What am I going to do? they cry.

In the case you don’t have employer-provided coverage, you can buy insurance (as the company is doing for its employees) from a provider, paying semi-annually to maintain the safety net against grievous injury or sickness.

But, again, you don’t have to; there is no requirement. If we’re not careful, however, there could be.

For lack of a better term, I’ll call what’s coming out of the Democratic Caucuses “ObamaCare,” and in its purest form it approaches a single-payer (that payer being the gov’t) system that many in America don’t understand, but also recoil from when it’s mentioned. As is being drafted currently, ObamaCare would include a requirement – punishable, if violated – for all employers to buy their employees health care and for all individuals to somehow have coverage, buying it if is not provided otherwise. A mandate.

So be healthy, or pay a fine. Or another way to look at it, Dear Leader says buy our healthcare.

It’s just a matter of time, if ObamaCare is passed, before the single-payer option is introduced in some pilot phase. We have a debate now between a government insurance program (the “public” option; run & owned by the gov’t and funded with your tax dollars) and the co-op (a member-owned group that uses their purchasing power to get lower costs collectively than alone).

(I’m more for the latter, predominantly because I think small businesses should have the option – should they choose – of collective bargaining that we think only unionistas are entitled.)

Public or co-op, under ObamaCare one way has to be in the bill to ensure “lower” cost insurance options, as we would all need to have something under pain of high fines. And here’s where the freedom of choice goes away.

We should not be forced by a governmental body to buy health insurance, something that affects solely the individual (if I punch you, and you need dental work, no health care plan of mine in the capitalist world would pay your bill). It’s our choice.

Many of those that are uninsured are post-college adults who either don’t have the job that supplies insurance or choose not to be covered, as they are young and healthy. Catastrophic risk is low for them, as relates to illness (we all can fall victim to accidents & injuries).

Why are we seeing a party that champions individual choice (we can cut to the quick with one word: abortion) refusing to allow the same regarding health care coverage?

This is a step toward a nanny state, and what do nannies do but take away the choices of the child.

If we are soon mandated to have health insurance, how long before fast food joints are fined for serving real beef burgers (too fatty!) instead of veggie burgers? Or bread producers (and their supporting farmers) ordered to make only gluten-free products, as some claim our bodies aren’t supposed to handle the stuff? Or regular pop – or pop in general, as diet might possibly in an alternate world lead to cancer! It’s all unhealthy, right? We shouldn’t consume these products, as they’d raise the potential for future maladies (and jack up costs)…right, Dear Leader?

What about the “legalize” movement, predominantly supported by the same left-leaning people who voted Obama into office? It’ll be a cold day before pot is legalized; in fact, it’s more likely that cigarettes face a 100% national tax – punishing smokers, isolating them, even more – on their way to an eventual banning.

And then there’s that can of beer you drink while watching a game. Prohibition was a failure, and it was the result of a religious-backed temperance movement that saw it pass. Well, “health care reform” advocates want your body to be insured and in tip-top shape; liquor doesn’t factor into that equation. Look for higher sales taxes, more restrictions on purchases by individuals and establishments, neighborhood bar & grill closures.

Because you have to be as healthy as the government says. There is no more room for personal choice when it comes to our bodies, right? That’s what I’m hearing with ObamaCare. Health care reform is no longer an issue of children being without insurance or the homeless being denied care. We’re not talking about lowering costs so the woman working two jobs can afford coverage to combat her returned cancer.

No, we’re skipping the true “need” aspect of health care (that being low, market-driven costs with state restrictions eliminated, co-op pools for small businesses, et al) for the ideological stance of a small group of policy makers too enamored with the concept of “universal coverage” to realize the dread cost to the end-consumer or the country as a whole.

The potential for failure to reform health care – to make it affordable for all – is high. No one likes to hear the tragic stories where if they had coverage Bobby would be alive, or little Susie’s heart valve defect would’ve been detected in utero, avoiding frantic emergency surgery, or Ted wouldn’t have gone bankrupt paying for his wife’s caner medication and treatment. Those stories will compound if nothing is done.

But the right action isn’t necessarily the one presented, and I’m not saying it’s 100% the Grumbling Opposition Party’s way either. What I do fervently believe is that we need to be mindful of the individual’s right to choose – and the related personal freedoms that could be endangered should we lose that right.

Our civil liberties come in many forms. A woman’s right to choose is not the only heath care choice we have the “right” to make. If we want to create a society that lets the person and not the government make the choice in the vast majority of cases, we cannot allow ourselves to turn a deaf ear when protest is raised on a topic we feel strongly about.

Take a few steps back. Slow down the process. Reform the health care system, but don’t devolve our rights in the process.

-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tears of Oil


And you said no story with killer robots and mad scientists could be boring...



Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TPH Returns - "Fiscally Conservative, Socially Realistic"

The Political Hoedown returns, now with no foolhardy attempt at regularity.

*Is there room in the US for a moderate party? Can self-styled "progressive" or reform Republicans (think Teddy Roosevelt or *gasp* Barry Goldwater?!) and, in their own way, "Blue Dog" Democrats (who're fighting DNC leaders about the Health Care reform bill as currently drafted) find a common slogan to rally behind?

*Palin-tology: the future of our maverick-y sled dog.

*Today's polls mean little for next year's mid-term. No big expansion on that point; just don't trust them. …okay, I'll expand a little.


Read on @ The Political Hoedown!


-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

A glimpse of the future

I thought this was too fun not to share, especially since I'm a child of Transformers and Hooper is a child of G.I. Joe.





I find David Lynch's Koosh Ball unnerving.


-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Update the blog often? Not on my watch!

On Friday night, I went to see Terminator: Salvation. I really meant to post some manner of review before now, but things like weeding the vegetable garden and re-seeding the lawn got in the way. (Ah, the perils of being a new homeowner.)





I will say that I don't quite understand all the negative press the film has gotten, because I found it to be very enjoyable. My only major critique would be that it doesn't really do all that much to further the mythology; at the end of the film we're basically at the same place we started. But the performances were good and the effects were teriffic (Especially the sound work; can't wait to try this one out on the new surround sound.). I'll try to expand my thoughts by the end of the week.


-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Not a fan of the gays, America?


What happened last night, compatriots? I'm not talking about the Sox winning or the exciting last minute of the Cavs game. Kris Allen winning American Idol: bwah?!

I'm not saying he isn't talented or a good singer. As a musician, he's probably better than Adam Lambert, the to-this-point odds on favorite. But he was so...whitebread college town bar singer. Adam knows he's a star.

Is it the boy-kissing, America? Certainly Adam would've been the most "fabulous" idol, and he makes no bones about that (!). His appearance is over-the-top fancy emo, and that voice! Bordering at times on the absurd, it always invigorates his song choices and shows why all season he'd been considered in a class on his own. It soars and swoons, that voice.

But it also sounded, some weeks, like he should've been in drag, aping Liza. Can I chalk that up as the reason for his loss?

I'm not convinced Tuesday's performance did it for Kris and did in Adam. Like Carrie Underwood, Adam had been nigh untouchable in the elimination rounds. He was a shoe-in, even over Danny Gokey, he of the sob story and the early fav. Then Kris sang Heartless, astoundingly well, and it seemed - to me - that people could now justify their votes for him. Favs dropped in his path, and he clinched it with his more marketable voice.

So that means people were waiting for greatness to justify why this guy the Red Eye said would go out before the top 10 had stuck around while better, or more favored, singers left. With Gokey gone, his fans - more similar to Kris' than Adam's - latched on to the only "traditional" thing left.

Alas, alack.

Though I may be called paranoid, I'm not convinced this underdog story occurred naturally. I've said it before, let's repeat the chorus: it's fixed. If election after election Chicago's Democratic Machine can massage the votes enough to get their people in, then of course we can legitimately call shenanigans on American Idol. The producers got a great story arc out of this - the dark-horse-who's-apple-pie-America - and the means to drum up post-show dollar votes for Adam (feel he was cheated? Buy his album and show ol Slidejaw Allen who really deserved the dandy crown).

It is a show, and therefore not important in the grand scheme, but I would've really liked an Adam victory. He rocked it with KISS and Queen (well...Brian May and Roger Taylor). That showmanship, that voice and atypical sense of personal acceptance made him the clear winner. A shame it wasn't made official.

-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Buck Reviews 24: Day 7, 6:00 AM - 8:00 AM

And we come to the close of another harrowing day in the life of Jack Bauer.






Hour 1
• How much you think a video set-up like that costs? That’s a snazzy teleconference Olivia’s taking part in.
• Kim is sadly still a little slow on the uptake, especially for someone who worked at CTU for a couple of years and lived with a former agent.
• Is it too much to ask that we have a season where Jack doesn’t have to go rogue? I know I’d find it refreshing.
• At least he was able to tell Renee what’s really going on. It plays better that way.
• Clever, Mr. Almeida. Someone was watching Incredible Hulk last summer when Stearns reverse-engineered Banner’s blood from that tiny sample.
• It’s so weird having one of the Kiefer-narrated Bank of America commercials come on during a 24 break. It’s calm, collected Kiefer vs. angry shouting Kiefer.
• I greatly enjoyed Olivia’s little freakout.
• If Kim stabs this dude with that pen it just might make up for the entire cougar debacle.
• A shoot-out in an airport? Quick, get Bruce Willis and Dennis Franz on the phone!
• Okay, she can stab the woman. I’m not picky.
• A frustrated “Dammit!” from the next Bauer generation? Awesome.
• Commercial for American Idol finale with Simon voice-over: “Only one can win.” So it’s like Highlander then. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Cowell. (Seriously, I loathe the show, but that’s the best soundbyte they could find?)
• See what kind of fun you get when I watch the live broadcast instead of watching it on Hulu? You’ve been missing out on my witty commercial commentary these past 5 months.
• Please don’t have Kanin strip-searched. I love Bob Gunton, but I have no desire to see him nekkid.
• Good lord, is that a CompactFlash memory card? All the technical doodads in the White House and it’s not recorded on a SD card?
• Evil Doctor should really have an accent. British, maybe, or perhaps something eastern European.
• I apologize for the earlier comment that Kim didn’t remember anything she learned at CTU. Thought to grab the laptop and knows how to get the data off of it. Good show.
• Product placement? What product placement? Now sit down and enjoy the Hyundai Genesis—I mean, show.
• Scalpel to the jugular! Neck stabbing! Neck slashing! Neck breaking! You do NOT fuck with Jack Bauer and his spinal fluid!
• Gotta say I’m a little disappointed, as I thought the final hour was going to be rescuing Jack, which would have been a nice twist. But looks like we’ve got Renee and Kim finding Jack while Jack goes for revenge on Tony. Not what I wanted, but I’ll take it.




Hour 2
• Oh, good. For a minute I thought they were going to have a recap for the hour that just ended.
• Jack was going to immolate himself rather than let Tony get his blood? That’s commitment.
• I was wondering how Will Patton’s character fit into everything. And I have to say that I never really believed Charles Logan came up with everything on his own, so this works for me.
• Tony is really off his nut. Jack also killed to revenge his wife’s death, but he didn’t kill everyone that got in his way to do it. I doubt he’d even have killed Nina in Season 3 if she hadn’t threatened Kim.
• Last-minute rescue? That’s how we do things at the FBI. (I actually typed CTU without thinking, then realized what I’d done.)
• Having a seizure while strapped to a bomb? Jack is just not having a good day.
• Renee Walker: Action Woman!
• Michelle was pregnant? Make her death hurt a little more, why don’t you, 24 writers?
• Moment of truth. And Jack goes for the non-killing shot. Son of a bitch, that looked like it hurt.
• Interesting that we appear to be leaving the door open for a possible Tony return in the future.
• That was a really nice scene between Jack and Renee. He’s met a lot of people this season who have helped him come to terms with what he’s done in the past.
• That’s not how it works, Henry. When you’re president, you don’t get to just pick and choose what’s legal and what isn’t. Oh, wait…
• Taylor totally made the right call. Even if it has the potential to ruin her marriage. But David Palmer got through it; she will too.
• Knowing Renee’s back next season, I can’t wait to find out what happened in that interrogation room.
• Kim goes for the stem cell procedure to save Jack as we tick away the final minutes of Season 7.


Thoughts


This was quite possibly the best 24 finale since Season 1. Seeing Jack look for forgiveness on his deathbed, from a Muslim, no less, was an outstanding turn for the character, and Sutherland nailed it. The teaful confession, "You don't know the thing I've done," was handled with grace rather than being melodramatic.

As for the Taylor family, it's impossible to not see shades of David and Sherry Palmer circa Season 1. As hard as it was for Allison, her daughter broke the law and a man died because of it. She has to pay the price for that. And how about a round of applause for Cherry Jones as the president? Here's hoping she's back next year, because I want to see what direction she takes the character in following what looked to be the complete dissolution of her family.

As for the rest...

Kim proved she's a Bauer through-and-through and will do whatever it takes to save her father's life (though we already know he'll be back next season). I know I've given Kim as much crap as anyone, but after the way she was handled this time around, I'm all for her returning next year.

Renee got to go on quite a journey over the course of this day, didn't she? I'm pretty sure Annie Wersching's been confirmed for next season, so it should be interesting to see what happened to Renee following her...aggressive questioning...of Alan Wilson.

Which brings us to Tony Almeida. Carlos Bernard was fantastic this season, and despite what he did, you can't help but feel just a touch sorry for the man, considering what he's lost. I can't wait to watch this season again knowing Tony was playing both sides the entire time.

And a final shout-out to the late, great Larry Moss. I am really sorry he's gone, because after Bill Buchanan's noble sacrifice, he was shaping up to be a new colleague Jack could turn to and maybe even confide in. He was definitely my favorite of the new characters we saw this season, and it's a shame he didn't get to stick around.

I might just be basking in the post-finale after glow, but I have nothing but praise for this season of 24. See you all in January.



-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

City of Crime

I stumbled upon this yesterday afternoon and...well...it's pretty much the greatest thing ever.





-My name's Buck. I carry a badge.

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Buck Reviews 24: Day 7, 5:00 AM - 6:00 AM

This week, I didn't follow my usual method of typing my thoughts as I watch the episode, so that may be why there aren't as many bullet-points. Or it could be that it was another build-up episode to what is hopefully a slam-bang finale. Read on.






• The subway ride was a little tense, but not exactly action-packed. That was a little disappointing.
• I was surprised to see the bio-threat stopped in this hour. I’d expected a virus cliffhanger leading into the final two hours.
• So is the kidnapping of Kim part of something larger, or is it just the Cabal’s way of saying, “Fuck you, Bauer. You really screwed up our day.”
• Much as I like Chloe, it’s nice to see her get one-upped every once in a while.
• Loved Agent Pierce’s “I’ve just about had it with this crap” scene with Olivia.
• Jack’s wailing on Tony was a little brutal, but you really felt the emotion in every punch.


Thoughts:
• Another 24 final-hour switcheroo, but it’s shaping up to be a good one.
• Lots of focus on loyalty and family this year (and in a good way, unlike last year's Bauer family debacle). Jack’s families, both blood and CTU, the problems in the Taylor household, etc. It’s interesting to see the final crisis of the day involving Kim in danger. We really haven’t seen that since Season 1 (I refuse to acknowledge The Cougar Incident).

-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Star Trek





I'll expand this with more words of praise later, but just had to say how damn much fun Star Trek is. J.J. Abrams and Co. did an outstanding job and created one of the most enjoyable sci-fi films I've seen in a long time. If you weren't planning on seeing it, I strongly urge you to reconsider. And it's not just for die-hards. You can go in having never seen an episode of the original series and still enjoy it.

UPDATE: Not a full review, but more thoughts after the jump. Minor spoilers if you haven't seen the film.


• Casting was great. No one really goes for the "I'm playing the actor who played this character the last time around" bit, and the movie is all the better for it. Karl Urban certainly channels DeForest Kelly, but it's not an impersonation. He's one of the best bits in the film.
• It's damn funny. I *heart* Simon Pegg.
• I will say that there are plot holes you can reflect on, but it's such a darn fun film they won't dawn on you until days later, and even then they won't ruin the film for you. Thou shalt not nitpick thy films, for that path leads to dickhood.
• Eric Bana's villain Nero is a little underdeveloped, but his motivations are fairly simple to begin with so it's not all bad.
• You get to see Kirk beat the Kobayashi Maru test.
• I felt that the casting gave us feasible versions of the favorites, updated for modern audiences. Sulu's a bit more macho, but I doubt John Cho would have wanted everyone to think he was as "fabulous" as Takei.
• Bruce Greenwood's perfect Capt. Christopher Pike, who hopefully at least gets to cameo the next time around.
• I was very surprised by the Spock/Uhura relationship, but I felt it worked and it added some interesting layers to both characters.
• While I think they could have gone with a straight reboot instead of using an old character to start a new timeline, Nimoy was perfect and it was delightful to see him interacting with the new actors. Still, the creation of a new timeline allows for new stories without crapping on the continuity of old. Though I do agree with this fellow's perspective on Star Trek canon.
• It's just...it's just a really enjoyable movie. Pure fun and entertainment, despite a not-quite-there script. Probably the most satisfied I've been upon leaving a theater since Bourne Ultimatum (Dark Knight and Iron Man being right up there as well).


-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Feeling Blue...


[Click to enlarge.]



-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Family Ties


[Click to enlarge.]




-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Buck Reviews 24: Day 7, 4:00 AM - 5:00 AM

Slow episode? Short review! Enjoy.






• I am really enjoying the character scenes this season, like the one we just had between Jack and Chloe. Why did he think she shouldn't know about his exposure? He's one of the few friends from the old days she has left.
• Kind of a slow episode so far...seems like we're just getting our players in position for the final showdown.
• Olivia's going to fiddle while the Taylor administration burns.
• The WitSec guy is the guy from the Bob Evans commercials!
• Ah, racial profiling. With special guest Bug from Crossing Jordan!
• Hey, Olivia has a few scruples after all.
• You can fancy up your computer trickery all you like, you won't hide from Chloe O'Brien.
• Well, so much for Hodges. Looks like Olivia didn't back out in time. But hey, she didn't actually pay for it, so free assassination! Silver lining kids, silver lining.


Thoughts:
Well, that was uneventful, wasn't it? It's a shame to have a "setting the stage" episode this late in the game, but hopefully it will be worth it. Three hours left to stop Tony and the Cabal. My money's on a crazy cliff-hanger next week that's resolved in the first half of the finale, with the final hour being a slower, more coda-esque bit.



-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Buck Reviews 24: Day 7, 3:00 AM - 4:00 AM

My apologies as to the tardy arrival of this week's review. So let's get right to it, because Jack's RUNNING OUT OF TIME!








• Previously on 24: Tony Almeida is a bastard.
• I’m glad we didn’t have some ridiculous bit where Jack can’t talk for most of the hour and can’t tell anyone about Tony. That’s what I was fearing when Dr. Macer kept telling him not to talk.
• You’d think hotels would stock shower curtains made with something a little more “breathable.” Yes, that was an awful pun. I got a million of ‘em.
• I wonder if Tony’s desire to change the game will go as well as when Hodges tried it.
• Ah, compromise with very evil people. The essence of all 24 administrations.
• He took a shower with the dead guy still sitting next to the tub?
• I also wonder what the long-range plan was before Tony suggested his alternative.
• Ah, guess I have my answer, thanks to Jack interrogating Hodges.
• Nice bluff, Jack.
• And BAM! Chloe’s back. Really nice scene between her and Morris. It’s hard not to agree with him, but you can’t fault her loyalty to Jack.
• With all the running and sweating and fisticuffs…can you imagine how bad Jack must smell at this point in the day?
• Is this Martin individual 24’s first gay character? I’m not bothered by it, just curious.
• So Olivia is going to have Hodges assassinated. It’s a shame President Taylor can’t see that her daughter is deeply stupid.
• Nice to see the CTU logo again. And the Chloe/Janice snark is much better this time than the last time Chloe was in the FBI offices.
• Right on, Jack! You tell Janice about how President Palmer...wait...President Palmer? Ah, crap…


Thoughts:
• Well, Tony’s got his fall guy for his sunrise gas attack. This is ending similarly to Season 3, which saw Jack and Chace trying to find the last of Saunders’ virus-carriers. That’s not a bad thing, as those were some of the most exciting hours the show has produced. And it’s different enough that it doesn’t feel like a rehash.
• We all know Kim will come back to give Jack the treatment he needs so he’ll be back for next season. But with his mind slipping, will he be able to stop Tony and the secret cabal? Frankly, it would be pretty interesting if they didn’t. It would be kind of a vindication for Jack and CTU, showing that their methods, while questionable, still saved lives.
• You know what I’d like to see? Some off-hand reference to the fact that part of the L.A. suburbs are a nuclear wasteland now. But that would just bring up bad memories of Season 6.
• Olivia is an idiot. Is it wrong that I just want Agent Pierce to shoot her and rid us of her idiocy?



-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hooper Reviews Heroes: Fugitives - Ep 9

Heroes Season 3
Volume Four: Fugitives


Episode Nine: "Turn and Face the Strange"


What Happened:

Let's nutshell this one:

*Sylar and Danko frame HRG, who figures out the two are working together (clever girl). HRG also faces divorce, after Sylar messes with him while looking like his wife, prompting the company man to slam his wife into a table and press a gun to her head before a conveniently-timed call from Lyle (who? Oh, the brat) convinces him of her real-ness.
*Peter and Angela (later met by Claire, Nathan, and HRG) show up at a broken down camp of sorts where the bodies are buried, or something ominous (summer camp gone horribly wrong!).
*Matt Parkman meets his son, successfully delivered by Hiro and Ando, after ruining the one good thing in Danko's life (because that's heroic; to be fair, he doesn't kill anyone and realizes he's hit bottom).
*Suresh discovers what his dad was up to back in the 60s.

***

There are three great things about this episode:

1) Matt meets his kid, and it's a genuinely happy moment in a grim story. We see this has/will change Parkman's characterization for the better, both within the story and narratively. The guy's been Debbie Downer since this all started, not thinking logically, ignoring all the cop stuff and any sense of levity.

2) HRG is still amazing. No non-powered character is better than him, and I'd say he's more rounded than anyone on the show. So not only does he deduce the Sylar-body isn't Sylar, but James Martin, he then puts two and two together that Danko rigged this up. Sans glasses, he strolls into Danko's office, pretending to be Sylar-as-HRG and holds up some "new" files from Primatech. The bald hunter takes the bait. HRG holds him at gunpoint, but it goes downhill after that (Danko correctly tells HRG which agent Sylar is posing as, HRG shoots him and tells those around that it's really Sylar, but Sylar holds off healing to frame Noah. Noah flees, etc etc.). He's smart, and he operates using real logic, not make-believe emotional snap-decisionry (a Petrelli favorite).

3) The Japanese Trucker that sounds like GW Bush's neighbor.

***

Heroes: Fugitives

Episode One: "A Clear and Present Danger"
Episode Two: "Trust and Blood"
Episode Three: "Building 26"
Episode Four: "Cold Wars"
Episode Five: "Exposed"
Episode Six: "Shades of Gray"
Episode Seven: "Cold Snap"
Episode Seven: "Into Asylum"

-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

He's very convincing, for a gecko.


Written a while ago, here is a comic strip "from the vault."
...not that anything has gone anywhere but the vault. I digress.

***





-Hooper


Read on, faithful few!

It's been a shell of a quarter-century. (Yes, I made the obvious pun.)





Has it really been twenty-five years since the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came onto the scene?


A few more pics and some TMNT thoughts after the jump.







The years have seen some great comics (let's hear it for the goofy if entertaining Archie Comics series), several different cartoon incarnations, four feature films (two of which are quite good), and countless action figures. And I hear there's yet another film in the works. Guess they're not going away any time soon. And that's fine by me. These guys are probably my second-favorite 80s property after Transformers.






-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Perchance to Dream


The following conversation took place Tuesday morning, as Mrs. Buck and I were driving to work.

Buck: Did you have weird dreams last night?
Mrs. Buck: Yeah.
Buck: Mine didn't make any sense at all.
Mrs. Buck: Did yours involve vampires and Rory Gilmore?
Buck: They did not...yours sound much better than mine.





-Buck


(I did have a dream about the Gilmore Girls once, but it did not involve creatures of the night.)

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lions attacks buffalo. Crocodile attacks buffalo. Buffalo's friends arrive.


EDIT: Link Fixed!


They call it the Battle at Kruger.

A landmark wildlife preserve in South Africa, Kruger Park offers a variety of safari options. Few realize "open warfare" was one of them. This video was shot by some tourists and their guide. To entice you to click through, I will say it features a pride of lions attacking a water buffalo...before a crocodile decides it wants some of the action.

And then the buffalo's friends arrive.


It's not David Lean-quality directing, but it's a unique glimpse at nature-in-action that even the best Nova special often misses (or has to over-edit to present). The tourist commentary ("Oh, you're too late!") is entertaining.

War at the Watering Hole!

Enjoy.

-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Buck Reviews 24: Day 7, 2:00 AM - 3:00 AM

It's what we were all afraid of: Tony Almeida has been lying to and using Jack Bauer since this day began. Surprises in the Bauer family, deadly traps meant for the FBI, and an hour-ending showdown are just some of the good bits this week.






• I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the rest of the day without Larry.
Working Theory: This assault on Hodges’ lawyer is to get an assassin in to take him out so he can’t name his co-conspirators. Alternative: The assassin is going to go after the president.
• Ah, the old “Shoot yourself to retain deniability” trick. Well played, Mr. Almeida.
• Okay, so Tony was not working for Hodges/Starkwood, and bribed one of their soldiers to smuggle out some of the bio-weapon.
• "I would think you'd know by now that no one can change my father's mind when it's made up." Nice.
• Nice to see Jack showing some shock/remorse at Larry’s death. I think he was really starting to like the guy; despite their disagreements, it seemed Jack thought Larry was a good man.
• And now we’re going to be mass-murdering FBI agents? Tony’s really gone over the edge, hasn’t he?
• Ah, you can’t keep a good Bauer down.
• Well, Working Theory was half-right, I suppose. I guess slipping him the suicide pill is a little cleaner, considering they’re in the White House.
• Will Patton! Let’s all welcome one of my favorite character actors to 24!
• Tony was working for the same group Hodges was, but they weren’t actually co-conspirators, eh? He’s his own “cell,” I take it?
• I think Jack knows. You could tell he smelled something fishy right away.
• Ah, Kim has a new boyfriend who seems much closer to her age. And a baby! Awww, and she’s named after Teri. Jack’s going to blubber like a fool when he finds all this out.
• Yeah, how do you like that, Tony? You’ve helped kill one of the best friends you ever had! Bastard.
• Boom.
• Always nice to see Jack springing into action.
• Producers, I swear, if you killed Larry and Renee back-to-back…Ah, okay. Good.
• Tony, you have no idea what you’ve done. You think Jack was upset at Henderson and Logan for their crimes? You cannot conceive the shitstorm of fury Jack Bauer will unleash upon you for this betrayal.


Thoughts:


After ruminating on it a bit, I have decided:


A) Hodges and Tony were working for the same group, albeit independently of one another.
B) When Hodges went “off-mission” with his wacky missile/General Juma plot, Tony was tasked to stop Hodges and tie up loose ends. This sample of the virus is one of those loose ends.
C) The slow burn as Jack discovered Tony’s betrayal and Tony realized Jack knew was perfect. Expertly written, paced, and acted.
D) I honestly like Tony more as a villain, something I mentioned at the start of this day. The character shift was a welcome change, and look how much mileage we’ve gotten from it.
E) I actually haven't minded Kim being around. When was the last time that happened?
F) Is this the first season where the villain we started the day with is the same villain we’re likely to end the day with? I’m sure we’ll see more of the shadowy organization Tony’s working for, but the final showdown has to be between Tony and Jack.



-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

The War of the Words

We're trying to get some content going besides just the usual 24 and occasional Heroes reviews. Last week saw the Plot Summaries goofiness, and here's more tomfoolery for the masses.


Just something silly I scribbled down during a graduate class last year. Marvel at my clever wordplay!


I drew my lingual blade and swung it towards the approaching warrior. His headless body fell as I kept moving. I took a moment to survey my unit. (Richardson was down, smothered between (two parenthetical ghouls.)) Smith was rushing to his aid. I picked up a discarded exclamation! launcher and took down three more of our foes. Their screams echoed! as the points pierced their flesh. It looked like things were improving. It had been a hard campaign, but we were close to wiping out this pocket of enemy grammar resistance. They would no longer taint this ground with their unholy presence. Just then Williams screamed. [A bracket ship] had appeared overhead, crushing Williams beneath one of the dozens of heavy [brackets] it was dropping as it passed over the battlefield. Then there came a mighty ROAR as a battalion of CAPS LOCK SHOCK TROOPS came pouring over the hill. I cur@$#sed, as I wiped, some stray commas, from my blade. This battle was far from over.


-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Plot Summaries, Take 2


After enjoying the plot summaries I linked to earlier in the week (check it out if you haven't, and be sure to read the comments section, as many other readers chimed in with their own), Hooper and I were bitten by the creativity bug. So without further ado, here are our own plot summaries for various movies and TV shows. We hope you have as much fun reading them as we had writing them.

Hooper's are in RED, mine are in BLUE.


8MM: Private detective discovers a burgeoning niche market in home video distribution.
Armageddon: Widower fails to protect daughter’s virginity, dies.
Back to the Future: Deranged scientist steals nuclear material, pushes teenage boy to incest.
Bad Boys: "Thug" culture corrupts urban police station.
Bambi: Hunter misses second shot. (Alternate: Hunter fails to fill his quota for the season.)
Big: Pre-teen with hormone imbalance seduced by corporate climber.
Blade: Narcissist seeks to destroy all those like him.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Teenage girl desecrates corpses, dates older men.
Chicago: Murderers are set free, pursue employment in the entertainment industry.
Deliverance: Weekend plans go awry.
Dog Day Afternoon: Gay man acts up for media attention.
Dracula: Recluse discovers new tastes abroad.
Face/Off: Cosmetic surgery breakthrough discovered.
Family Guy: Two local pedophiles go undetected in family-friendly neighborhood.
Finding Nemo: Inattentive father loses physically handicapped son, mocks mentally-disabled woman.
Forrest Gump: Retarded man has bad timing, inexplicably breeds.
Frasier: Retired police officer suffers indignities of two closeted sons, ill-bred caregiver.
Free Willy: Eco-terrorist ruins seaside attraction.
Friday the 13th: Mother celebrates her late son's life.
Friends: Woman abandons man at altar, shacks up with best friend's brother, has love child.
Glory: Experimental military unit fails to achieve objective.
Hot Fuzz: A fascist and his mentally-challenged friend work out their issues by assaulting senior citizens.
House MD: High-end teaching hospital employs drug addict and self-absorbed residents who only treat one patient per week. (Alternate: Self-loathing drug addict saves lives.)
How I Met Your Mother: Father shocks children with tales of promiscuity, brings into doubt his fidelity to their mother; "Aunt" Robin viewed in new light.
Karate Kid: Put-out teenage boy enters physically abusive relationship with WWII vet.
Kiss the Girls: Man expands unique collection, finds pen-pal.
Lawrence of Arabia: Effeminate white man conquers Middle East.
Mary Poppins: Nanny introduces psychedelics to upper-crust British children, violates child labor laws.
Masters of the Universe: Foreign LARPers force couple to participate in their RPG; deformed midget discovers music.
Men in Black: Government kills illegal alien, covers it up. (Alternate: Government agency's hiring program scrapes bottom of barrel.)
Poltergeist: Parents abuse drugs while daughter is abducted.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves: Returning vet has hard time fitting in, goes on crime spree with black man.
Roseanne: Morbidly obese couple deal with economic hardship, disappointing children.
Shaun of the Dead: British retail drone deals with spoiled meat.
Signs: Faithless preacher ignores daughter during crisis.
Sleepers: Murderers go free after sham trial.
Smallville: Immigrant suspected in property destruction, mysterious deaths.
South Park: Transgender teaches youth while town wallows in political corruption, spontaneous violence.
Speed: Cripple endangers commuters.
Spider-Man: Introverted teen gets radiation poisoning, begins professional wrestling career, kills wealthy industrialist.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Retiree runs afoul of secret government think-tank.
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace: Paramilitary religious cult takes boy from single mother, skilled mechanic's job.
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones: Bi-polar teen endangers commuters, seduces older woman, attacks geriatric, propagates civil war.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith: Assassination plot prevented; government enacts new reforms. Wife-beater promoted. (Alternate: An unplanned pregnancy leads to complications.)
Steel Magnolias: Diabetic ignores doctor's advice, neglects newborn.
The Big Lebowski: Differing philosophical viewpoints prove a distraction on League Night.
The Blues Brothers: Fugitive brothers form band; antagonize police, socialists.
The Bourne Identity: American tourist kills many, finds love during European janut.
The Godfather: Domestic problems spill into the workplace.
The Green Mile: Incarnation of Jesus Christ killed yet again after wrongful imprisonment. (Alternate: Dangerously large black man incites violence between prison official, inmate.)
The Longest Day: Tourists take advantage of scenic beaches.
The Negotiator: Many die in hostage situation.
The Rock: Geriatric felon slaughters soldiers of fortune.
The Shawshank Redemption: Convicted double-murderer escapes.
The Simpsons: Mentally handicapped man starts family, gets union job.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Tourists fail to anticipate special needs of local handicap.
Tombstone: Lawman and his terminally-ill friend go on killing spree.
Unbreakable: Paraplegic commits acts of terrorism, stalks family man with genetic disorder.

-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

GHOSTBUSTERS: Unemployed college professors destroy hotel with nuclear weapons.



Dorian of postmodernbarney (with some assistance from some of my favorite comics bloggers) brings the masses "Uncomfortable Plot Summaries."

Some of my favorites:

ALIENS: An unplanned pregnancy leads to complications.
BATMAN: Wealthy man assaults the mentally ill.
BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA: Redneck trucker kills Chinese immigrants.
DIE HARD: Dysfunctional cop saves marriage by murdering foreign national.
JURASSIC PARK: Theme park’s grand opening pushed back.
LORD OF THE RINGS: Midget destroys stolen property.
SCARFACE: Immigrant finds running his own business stressful, dangerous.
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT: Redneck bootlegger makes mockery of law, sanctity of marriage.
STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE - Religious extremist terrorists destroy government installation, killing thousands.

Plenty more at the link.

-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

"Where are my Heroes reviews?!" (BABY!)


Due to a busy work schedule, as well as a rather big deal in my personal life (see below), I've been preoccupied. I do intend to get the reviews up sometime (there are three extant), but give me a bit to square other things up.

And my big deal?



We shall debut the child in September, certainly to rave reviews and much fanfare.

-Erik
(Hooper)

Read on, faithful few!

Buck Reviews 24: Day 7, 1:00 AM - 2:00 AM



The game has changed, my friends. That's really all I can say before you click through for the rest of the review.


• Jack really has no qualms about getting upitty with presidents, does he?
• Very clever of Taylor, unofficially giving Jack and Renee permission to go ahead with their mission. Still, we all know how Jack’s last unofficially-sanctioned mission went.
• Hodges’ goal is really just to sit at the big kids’ table? Well, I did call him childish in a prior review.
• Much as I want Tony to succeed in blowing up the rockets, I don’t think this is going to work.
• And it almost didn’t. Lost the detonator, alarm’s been triggered…but look at Tony pulling through.
• While I’m not sure what’s next, it really would have been inconceivable to drag the Hodges/Taylor standoff out for the next six hours.
• So Hodges isn’t the top of this year’s villain foodchain? At least he doesn’t want us to think so. Are we moving into a fourth act? That’s a bit unusual for this show.
• She’s not that much older than him, but Taylor’s taking a somewhat motherly role with Jack. He hasn’t had an influence like that since David Palmer, and it’s nice to see it.
• Even if Kim had been trying to see Jack all day, Renee did kind of overstep her bounds. I think her attraction to Jack has blinded her to the fact that they still barely know each other.
• Kim and Jack, reunited. Hey, and no creepy C. Thomas Howell!
• Well the Jack/Kim reunion was pretty bittersweet, but not nearly as uncomfortable as the last time they saw each other. I imagine that despite Jack’s protests to the contrary, we’ll see her giving him help for that experimental treatment as the day ends.
• Ah, as Season 3 taught us, you can’t keep a good bio-weapon down.
• Larry’s down and Tony doesn’t see the gunman…
• Oh you have got to be shitting me…
• There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Tony Almeida, the hero-turned-villain-turned hero we were all rooting for...was a black hat all along.


Thoughts:

What to say? The writers really pulled out a great twist in this installment, though we can’t say we hadn’t imagined this scenario. I know I for one was questioning Tony’s loyalty back in the early hours of the day. And maybe it was due to Jack’s unwavering support of him, but I was convinced he was on the side of the angels now.


I have no idea what to expect for the last quarter of the day. What’s Tony’s plan? Is it still just the simple vengeance against the government that twice wronged him? Is he Hodges’ ace in the hole, or does he have his own agenda? There are so many possibilities. One thing’s for certain: we can’t take anything for granted in these final hours.


-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"And I thought they were soft...on the OUTside!"

The world of sleepovers got a whole lot awesomer.

ThinkGeek presents the TaunTaun sleeping bags. Currently available for delivery only to Hoth, the company hopes to distribute Sectorwide later this year.

Featuring an attached, embroidered tauntaun head pillow and a lining simulating the "smelly, but warm" insides of a dead tauntaun, the sleeping bag is perfect for camping out in the yard, spending the night at a friends or saving your future wife's idiot brother from certain death by exposure.

Measuring 32"x60", the sleeping bag is, according to ThinkGeek, perfect for childrend and small adults. And it's so cozy, simulating "the warmth of a Tauntaun carcass ."

It even has a little glowing lightsaber as the zipper. Aside from authentic sound effects as you unzip it, this product has it all.



Buy yours today!

**Warning: does not protect against wampa-attack. Jedi visions not included.**

-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Buckshot: Off the Port Bow

It still seems strange to me that in this day and age, piracy is still such a threat.

But if there's one thing I've learned from the interwebs, it's that the only solution to the piracy problem is ninjas.

Or perhaps we could track down this fellow to aid in the negotiations. Either way, it would get very interesting.



-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Buck Reviews 24: Day 7, 12:00 AM - 1:00 AM



Much better than last week, tension-wise. Though I do hope we're not going to drag the standoff with Hodges out for the next 7 hours. Still, there was some 24 goodness to be found this time around...






• Nice to see Larry showing more backbone.
• Damn, Voight’s really chewing the scenery.
• Shame we didn’t get a shoot-out like I’d hoped, but I suppose if Starkwood had fired on federal agents, Taylor would have brought down the thunder, and it would all be over rather quickly.
• Oh crap. Jack’s dying.
• Olivia’s kind of our new Sherry Palmer, isn’t she?
• It’s interesting watching Jack run things from a distance, in the command center. We don’t get scenarios like that a lot.
Nice crazy virus eyes, Sutherland!
• All this talk of Kim leads me to believe we’ll see young Ms. Bauer again. Think that means we’ll get a return appearance by C. Thomas Howell as her way-too-creepy boyfriend? *
• That was some high-quality face-kickin’, neck-snappin’ action courtesy of Mr. Almeida. 24 could use more kicks to the face in its fight scenes.
• Is Hodges’ endgame the “I love my country so much I’m going to hurt it” or the “We’re going to show we’re relevant by creating a crisis only we can resolve”? Either one seems poorly thought-out. Then again, he is pretty crazy.
• I don’t think Olivia’s fooling Agent Pierce. You don’t work Secret Service detail for 5 administrations and not know what’s going on in hotel rooms. The look on his face when she came out said it all.
• A very ominous ending as Taylor silently exits the room after her conversation with Hodges.


Thoughts:

 For me, a much more entertaining entry than last week, thanks largely to Tony’s cloak-and-dagger antics.
 I’m still curious as to just what Hodges wants out of all this. Maybe he wants the president to recognize the threat of giant alien robots.
 Gotta say, I think I prefer Janis to Chloe right now. Don’t get me wrong, it would be cool if they called Mrs. O’Brian in to work with Janis at some point. But I like that Janis doesn’t talk down to everybody. Chloe’s smarter-than-thou attitude gets old fast with me.
 I’d pictured a much more sinister way for Olivia to get revenge on the reporter. I was expecting her to start screaming that he was trying to rape her or something, only to have Pierce come in and shoot him. But that’s a tad more messy than blackmail, I suppose.
 I’m sure there are fans that hate it, but I don’t mind a few episodes with Jack sidelined. I think this season’s cast is strong enough that they can keep things moving without him at the forefront.



* Seriously, Elisha Cuthbert: 26. C. Thomas Howell: 42. I don’t care how old Kim is supposed to be due to the show’s sliding timeline, it’s just wrong. Besides, if you followed the timeline, Jack’s actually 4 years older than he should be, if his birth year of 1966 can be taken as fact. That or Season 7 is taking place in 2013.
Actually, by the same math, Kim’s the same age as the actress playing her, so the relationship is still creepy. But her given birth year is ’87, which means she was only 14 in Season 1, and that dog don’t hunt. That’s of course assuming Season 1 did in fact take place in 2001…
Yes, I just did all this math on a post-it. Shut up! 24’s chronology is making my head hurt…


-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hooper Reviews Heroes: Fugitives - Episode 8

Heroes Season 3
Volume Four: Fugitives


Episode Eight: "Into Asylum"


What Happened:

Nathan and claire bond in Mexico while on the lam, and decide to return to the US. They have a cute scene where Nathan tries to raise money by out-drinking some American college students; he fails, but Claire steps in and her unique physiology allows her to win. A drunken Nathan admits he gave Claire the free pass to try and win her over, to make her like him, and that now he has to set things right. Upon waking (sober), he admits he doesn't have the ability to pick up the phone and Get Things Done, Claire loses faith, but later he comes around.

Angela and Peter find sanctuary in a church, giving Angela time to sleep and dream. They must bring the family together, including her sister. A sister? While at the church, Peter asks God why bad things happen to him. In pop a squad of agents led by HRG, who discovers the two hiding in the confessional. He says nothing. Good man, Noah Bennet.

A hero-napping goes awry when three of four agents are killed. Noah is not happy and lectures Danko for sending in agents who didn't know what they were up against. Turns out the killer is a shapeshifter and is posing as an agent. He can be anyone by just touching them, and has serious identity issues.

Danko is confronted by Sylar, who offers to work with "Building 26" to get all those with powers, leaving Sylar the last man standing. Their first joint target is the shapeshifter, who they track down and kill while he's wearing Sylar's face. Sylar takes his ability (empathically, not through rough neurosurgery, so the body is preserved), the agency thinks Sylar is dead and this dangerous liason can continue.

To be continued next week in "Turn and Face the Strange."

***

I enjoyed having a shapeshifter brought in, and that power adds a lot to the mix, especially since Sylar now has it. I liked that part of the episode. All the Petrelli-related stuff was a bit slow, overdue and simply continued to shuffle them around.

That's the problem with this season. Characters are simply moving from point a to b to c to etc. in order to get them to some predetermined endpoint. Why not give them real stories in the meantime?


Heroes: Fugitives

Episode One: "A Clear and Present Danger"
Episode Two: "Trust and Blood"
Episode Three: "Building 26"
Episode Four: "Cold Wars"
Episode Five: "Exposed"
Episode Six: "Shades of Gray"
Episode Seven: "Cold Snap"

-Hooper

Read on, faithful few!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Buck Reviews 24: Day 7, 11:00 PM - 12:00 AM

This week's episode was a little light. Not necessarily bad, but not the 24 gold standard either.





• Hey, it’s Dr. Sunny Macer from Season 3! Loved the double-take she and her partner give Jack when they saw his scars. Did she and Jack never actually interact the last time she was on the show (She was at the hotel for most of her screentime, and Jack was never actually at that location.)? I found it odd that she introduced herself to him in this episode.
• Hodges thinks Tony will turn again? I doubt it.
• Your false modesty isn’t fooling me, Olivia! Chief of Staff is what you’ve been waiting for.
• Renee is totally in love with Jack, isn’t she? And is it my imagination, or has she gotten paler as the day wore on? (Maybe it’s just the fluorescents…)
• Ah, a crisis of conscience from Hodges’ right-hand man.
• Larry thrives much more in the office setting than when he’s in the field.
• Holy crap! Jack smiled! And he made a funny!
• This has been a good tension-builder episode. I would have liked a bit more action, but the build-up to it has been handled rather well.
• I know Tony’s helping them, and at this point, the FBI’s taking any help they can get, but earlier in the day we had an argument about how Tony couldn’t go to the White House because he would be arrested. I assume they’re just giving him a pass pending a successful end to the hostilities?
• Nice twist. And nicely played by Hodges’ assistant.
• Mexican stand-off. Nice.



Thoughts:
Overall, not a lot to talk about. Kind of a filler episode, but it still had some good beats. Watching these online, I don’t see the preview for next week’s episode (which is fine by me, as FOX has a history of putting massive spoilers in those previews), but I’m assuming we’re going to see a nice ol’ shoot-out with Jack and Renee swooping in to save the day.

Man, do we really have 8 episodes left? Where do we go from here?



-Buck

Read on, faithful few!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hooper Reviews Heroes: Fugitives - Episode 7

Heroes Season 3
Volume Four: Fugitives


Episode Seven: "Cold Snap"


What Happened:

Bryan Fuller returned with "Shades of Gray," but this week he really lets 'er rip.

First off, you can tell the writing duties have shifted, providing more specifics for camera shots, as the direction of the episode was superior to what's come before. Technically, it was better than anything this (half of the) season.

One of the parting shots last week was of Sylar in Danko's apartment, while Danko was present. This episode opens with Danko shaving and we see his routine, the meticulous nature of it, until the door alarm goes off ("The front door is open," chimes a voice). Grabbing a gun, he makes his way through is apartment to the entryway, closing the door. It's then, as he stalks into this living room, that he sees the present Sylar left him: Doyle, the Puppetmaster, all trussed up and unconscious with a note: "My gift to you."

HRG ducks around honking cars in stalled traffic and gets into a Angela Petrelli's car. With Nathan and Peter both flapping in the wind, it's up to the Company Man to keep the Angela's secret agenda on track. They back and forth about how HRG needs to give over a big fish to Danko, she suggesting Rebel and HRG offering up...her. She does him a favor and gives him her umbrella; he does one right back and says "don't go home." Theirs is a peculiar, but dynamic relationship. Spymaster and spy.

And he did, fortunately, leave her on guard. Shortly after he leaves, she asks the driver why they've stopped and as he's answering, plainclothes agents yank him out of the car and reach in for Angela, too. Then she jerks awake; it was one of her visions. She leans forward and tells the driver not to stop, ah, but there's construction- His door opens and he's pulled out, but she's long gone, having ducked out. She sidles up to a businessman. Silly me, what a day to forget an umbrella, can I share? she coos.

Danko has Mohinder brought to room marked "Human Resources; it's the storage room for the drugged heroes, including the mortally wounded Daphne. Thinking he's been brought to help her, Mohinder demands she be taken to a hospital. And then he's zapped and hooked up; remember, he was about to work with Nathan. HRG is offered a "ta da..." gift by Danko - the Puppetmaster, who did unpleasant things to Claire and Sandra. Danko claims he caught him. HRG offers to snag Rebel in return, by letting Tracy go and using her as bait. If the plan goes awry, she can always be killed in "self-defense." Tracy is briefly shown concentrating and breathing out frosty air...under the heat lamps.

Across the country, Hiro and Ando find themselves taking care of Matt Parkman, the baby and not the telepath sci-fi'ed back to infanthood. Turns out Janice Parkman (the two-timing ex) had her a baby boy - Parkman's. The two don't know what to do. Save Matt Parkman, was their quest, but this isn't their Matt Parkman to (want to) save. Hiro wants grandeur, Ando thinks there's more to the situation and the baby turns on the TV (look, adult Matt Parkman in a bomb vest on the news!). Hiro turns it off. This goes back and forth as our Japanese duo argue, with Hiro finally unplugging the TV (bad Baby! No TV for you.). It's only when Baby Matt turns the TV on...while it's unplugged...that Hiro and Ando start paying attention.

After Angela's escape, over in Building 26, Noah hangs up the phone and says she escaped. Probably tipped off, fumes Danko. She is clairvoyant, reminds HRG. And then the lights go out. "Rebel, rebel," quips HRG.

Tracy's heat room is shut off and she freeze-breaks her shackles, leaving through the unlocked door. Rebel guides Tracy through B26 to "Human Resources." She unhooks the important people (Matt, Mohinder, Daphne) while leaving the rest to rot. That she did that is impressive for her selfish character. Matt mentally blocks them from the guards they run across and, once on the street, Tracy ditches them. Matt carries Daphne to a hospital, Mohinder in tow.

Things move quickly. Matt gets Daphne into a hospital, nudging the doctor's gray matter so he won't report it as a gunshot wound. Matt and Mohinder stay with her.

Tracy slips into a department store and is in a dressing room, stealing clothes (creatively freezing off the security tags) when instead of a helpful assistant knocking (a different size?), it's HRG chiding Tracy that she should've stayed with the telepath. She threatens the wicked cold snap she's been building up; HRG thinks his drawn gun would finish her before the cold got him. A battle he doesn't want to fight. Lead me to Rebel, he claims, and he'll let her go - still on the run, but with a chance.

Hiro stars packing a bag for the baby; they will take him with them. Ando wonders if Hiro is so cold to the baby because of his own strained childhood: distant father...departed mother. It's then that Hiro tells Ando that he held his mother as she died when traveling back into the past (see Season Three, volume 3: Villains). He's trying not to cry, to be brave for the baby (of course nearly making Ando cry). Someone enters the home, breaking their Moment. They pull an ET and hide in the baby's closet, but Janice knows they aren't babysitters and gets a bit testy. When they start in about Baby Matt's power, she starts to believe they are genuinely there to help. Ah, but then the door again: agents.

They need Janice and Baby Matt for questioning. But he's just a baby.... She realized the danger Baby Matt is in and goes with the agents, saying they can get the boy from his babysitters. The agents clearly don't believe her and storm the house. Baby Matt brushes a hand against Hiro's face. Ando shoots his red lightning against the agents with forceful effect, only to get a gun butt to the face.

Hiro, previously powerless, freezes time. Yatta!

Turns out the "go/ignition" power of Baby Matt's works with people, too. Unfortunately, the touch only brings back the time freezing, not teleportation, so Hiro has to put Ando in a wheelbarrow and cart him twelve miles to the bus stop before restarting time. Toddler Touch and Go. Hurm.

Tracy passes an ATM that speaks her name, gives her money and a receipt that lists a Union Station locker containing ID and a boarding pass. She hops in a cab. Micah, watching from the sidelines, follows her.

So to be clear: Micah is Rebel, helping the nasty tart that looks like his mom. Can this end well?

Angela meets her friend Millie for lunch, seeking help. Well, she won't get it...at least not without receiving a tongue-lashing about her bizarre behavior since Arthur's death. Angela doesn't want to hear it, she's trying to help her boys and needs cash, clothes, a car. But Millie says then turn yourself in. That won't work for Mrs. Petrelli. She gets up to leave, but Millie relents and forks over all her cash (several hundred); Angela grabs her umbrella. Walking down the street later, she spots some plainclothes and tries to elude them, only to realize she's in a closing ring. Ducking into a hotel, she gets into an elevator before getting nabbed. Instead of going higher, the agents bring her car down. Just before she stops, she hears a thud on the car's roof. The doors open and Peter is there. He flies away with both of them.

Daphne wakes up, healed, and leaves the hospital. To Matt, she says their relationship was a mistake and she's going back on the run. She won't slow down for anyone.

At Union Station, Tracy opens the locker and gets the docs. Micah reveals himself and his role, to Tracy's chagrin. She tells the kid this was set-up to get Rebel - him. Micah wonders how she can be so selfish. He sets off an alarm so they can slip out. They walk through a parking garage, and Micah makes it known he thought, from her political bio, that she was altruistic. Maybe a few years back, but not now, she replies. Danko's forces make some noise and close in. Tracy asks Micah to talk to the sprinklers and get them to go off - and then to run. "Stay ahead of the ice."

Sprinklers drenching her and a squad of commandos, Tracy steps out from behind a car and walks to the middle of the garage. The others circle around her, pinning her in, guns drawn. And then she freezes everything. It isn't a quick freezing flash but works in waves, icing them more and more as she pushes the cold snap out of her. She even freezes herself solid, though she still lives. Micah escapes before the cold reaches him. Danko emerges after the "attack" has stopped and shoots Tracy in the chest, shattering her. HRG comes to his side and looks down (sadly?). A chunk of Tracy's face - her eyes, forehead and the top of her nose - comes into view. A tear runs down from one eye...and it blinks.

Daphne is in Paris when Parkman catches up to her, telling her he knows she loves it. How did he get there so fast? He flew. How'd she get there? Ran on water. And then he starts to actually float and offers her a view of the Eiffel Tower few ever get. She takes him up and they fly together. In the air she figures out this is all an illusion, and she's still in the hospital bed dying. Paris, the argument, reconnecting - it's all to give her a better end than what she got. And because he refuses to let her go. She asks him if he'd do her a favor. Anything. "Fly me to the moon." The jet off up in the sky and then across, a straight line to the moon...that becomes a flat line on the heart-rate monitor. Mohinder consoles Parkman.

Peter and Angela stand in the head of the Statue of Liberty and he asks her what she wants to do now.

To be continued in "Into Asylum."


***

Daphne and Tracy are dead, the latter only until the writers can work in a way to rebuild her. Daphne's death, while sad, is OK. She wasn't adding anything to the story and her relationship with Parkman was pretty contrived (ok, he sees them together in a possible future that also has Sylar a doting husband in oven mitts? Nah. That's like hoping Sandra Bullock and Keanue make it as a couple after Speed). And her power wasn't even used to its fullest offensive capacity.

Hiro has confronted his grief, and with Ando and a new mission, perhaps he can become more of the courageous man he only mimics now.

Danko isn't happy with HRG, but at least got to kill a hero.

Micah is Rebel, the communications hub of a future heroes movement. But is he mature enough to be smart with who he contacts and to accept orders? He's smart, but just a kid.

Angela and Peter might be forming the nucleus of a resistance - brains and power.

No hero is in chains who we care about, but Sylar might be aiding the "enemy."

***

Next week, Sylar propositions Danko...to be his partner (dun dun duuuuun!!!).

Heroes: Fugitives
Episode One: "A Clear and Present Danger"
Episode Two: "Trust and Blood"
Episode Three: "Building 26"
Episode Four: "Cold Wars"
Episode Five: "Exposed"
Episode Six: "Shades of Gray"


-Hooper


Read on, faithful few!