Saturday, May 23, 2009

Review- Terminator: Salvation

The reviews are pretty sparse this time of year, with it being the TV off-season. But luckily for me (and my ego in thinking you care), there are a fair number of geeky summer movies this year. The newest on that list being Terminator: Salvation.

If you hadn't been paying much attention to the press surrounding this movie, I think the beginning may have been a tad confusing. It shows a death-row inmate in 2003 signing a form to donate his body to science (read: Cyberdyne) after his impending execution. I think some people who just came to the movie blind, may have thought they walked into the wrong theatre.

As a whole the movie delivered. The action scenes were pretty well spaced out. You didn't have lots of down time between them, but it also wasn't non-stop action devoid of character development. Some of the newer characters (aside from Marcus) weren't explored in the depth that they should have though.

Where this movie really succeeded, and many other prequels fail (is this a prequel or a sequel? Damn time travel), was to show the characters we love from the previous films in a manner that was consistent with their previous portrayal. This was especially evident with Anton Yelchin's job as Kyle Reese. He really captured the Kyle we saw in the first Terminator, complete with the compassion you rarely see in gritty sci-fi heroes.

The one feeling I couldn't shake throughout the movie is that I was watching a World War II movie, but with androids. The shaky camera style was very reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan, and became distracting at points. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but for my taste, it wasn't completely successful.

Overall, I'd say this movie is successful for what it is. It was fun, the action scenes were solid, and it brought some beloved characters back to the big screen. Sure, this doesn't rank up there with the first two Terminator films, but it's a fun ride anyway.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

TV seasons are over, so no reviews

But I have something else fun for you guys.  Most of you true geeks have probably already heard about Brentalfloss, but for those of you that haven't you really should check out his stuff.  He has a ton of funny videos on Youtube, and just recently signed with Screw Attack to exclusively show his "Video game songs:  With Lyrics" series.  I've provided a link to both.  Check them out and subscribe to his Youtube channel.  You won't regret it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good news, but not as good as I'd hoped

Here it is:  Chuck has been renewed!  But unfortunately it's only for a 13 episode run.

I don't usually just link to other sites, but in this case, I just got back from Chicago, and I'm dead tired.  Link

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Office Review: Season Finale

WARNING:  More spoileriffic than usual

The Office had its season finale on Thursday.  Although I was a bit disappointed that the episode was only a half an hour, as The Office usually does super-sized finalies, this was a pretty darn good episode.

It's always nice to see the entire office together outside of the Dunder Mifflin- Scranton walls.  Episodes like "Booze Cruise" and "The Convention" followed the same forumla and succeeded.  This episode was no exception.  There were plenty of those trademark awkward moments The Office is so well known for.  Michael announcing a branch closing during a comedy sketch will go down as classic moment in this show's history.

There had been a lot of internet chatter leading up to this episode about one of the main characters finding out they were pregnant in this episode.  I'm not going to give away who it was, but it wasn't my first choice.  Frankly, I was hoping that it was Angela.  I think it would have laid out some nice tension for next season, wondering if the baby was Dwight's or Andy's.  Oh well, I guess.

Lastly, Idris Elba's character, Charles, is incredibly frustrating.  I'm not a JAM fanboy like so many other fans, but it really gets annoying seeing his vendetta against Jim.  He just seems like a petty child who can't get over his disdain for another person.  I get the feeling this is what the writers are going for, but I think they're just going a bit too over-the-top with it.

Overall a good episode, and a worthy finale to a very solid season.

Rating:  4 out of 5

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Big Bang Theory Review....a tad late

Hi everyone, sorry for the late update.  Just trying to get into the swing of things at the new firm, so updates may be a tad sporadic.

Well, it was the season finale of Big Bang Theory on Monday, and it was alright.  The episode advanced some running plot lines, especially the constant romantic tension between Leonard and Penny.  That aspect of the plot was pretty satisfying, and I was glad that they didn't opt for the sappy and unrealistic overly-happy ending.

Sheldon was one of the funniest characters, but that tends to be par for the course.  Jim Parsons is so funny in that role, and more people should really be aware of it.  He is a comedic star in waiting, and I wouldn't be shocked if he started popping up in movies (like Jason Segel's path from How I Met Your Mother to feature length star) very soon.

But overall, this episode just felt like it didn't really go anywhere.  I really can't put my finger on it, but it just seemed stagnant.  The episode wasn't up to the highest levels we've seen with this show, but it certainly wasn't bad.

Rating:  3 out of 5

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Want to nitpick?

If you want to be Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, here's what Leonard Nimoy says about that.  Video:  Weekend Update Trek Interview

WARNING:  Not safe for work

On a side note, SNL has been particularly mediocre (and that may be generous) the last 10 or so years, but last night's episode was very solid.  I'm not a fan of Justin Timberlake (don't hate him either, just indifferent), but whenever he's on that show he does a very good job.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek: Not just for geeks anymore

At least that's what the numbers are saying.  In just a day and a half "Star Trek" has pulled in a very solid $31 million.  To put it into context, the most successful Trek film prior to this was "First Contact."  That movie pulled in 30.7 million in its full first weekend.  Furthermore, the most recent adventure of the Enterprise has brought in more cash for Paramount than "Nemesis" did in its ENTIRE THEATRICAL RUN!

Assuming this film has decent staying power, it looks like we'll be getting to see some more adventures with this new cast.  I for one can't wait.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Big News!

...well sort of.  The well informed site has upgraded Chuck's status as 95% likely to be renewed for next season.  Now of course this isn't from NBC's mouth, but it is encouraging.  

For those of you that followed my blog back when it was on wordpress, you know my feelings about Chuck.  This is a show that you should be watching, it is one of the most original shows to be aired in a very long time.  If you're reading this and haven't seen Chuck before go to and watch an episode.  You'll thank me.

Here's the link to the site:  Tvbythenumbers

The Office review: "Cafe Disco"

As readers of my old blog know, I think the Office is the best show currently on TV.  Unfortunately last night's episode didn't live up to the show's high standards.

The cold opening was pretty funny.  It's rare that you see one of Dwight's pranks actually land successfully.  The prank is exactly what you'd expect out of him, mean spirited and funny to nobody but him.  His maniacal laughter in the talking head really brought the joke home, and left me anticipating a great episode ahead.

Unfortunately it didn't just go down hill from there, it fell off of a cliff.  Michael's pathological need to be liked is usually good for some laughs, but in this case it just came off as really pathetic.  It was so bad that I couldn't even laugh at it.  I just felt sorry for him the entire time.

The scenes with Dwight and Phyllis were awful too.  The only laugh I can recall was when Bob Vance asked to "steal" Phyllis from Dwight and he responded "you can't steal what you legally own."  That was the typical socially awkward and insensitive Dwight, but there just wasn't enough of it.

This episode is very forgettable, which is understandable.  The Office has often had some of its more memorable missteps very close to the end of a season.  This ends a run of very good episodes from the show, but with The Office's track record I fully expect next week to be a great one.

Rating:  2 out of 5

Boldly going....where I haven't been in a while

Hey everybody, sorry for the incredibly long delay.  Shortly after switching hosting sites school really kicked into high gear, and unfortunately the blog became a casualty.  I'll be working at a firm full time this summer.  So hopefully I'll have a bit more spare time, as I missed doing this.  Anyway, on to the first review in a while.

As always I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

Last night was the day many geeks had been waiting for, the return of Star Trek to theatres.  First, let me preface this, I have been a Trekkie (not "Trekker," only people who are afraid of their geekiness use that term) for most of my life.  I was privileged enough to tour the Next Generation set several times, as a family friend worked for the show's costume department.  So, this review may be biased, so take it for what it's worth.

The prologue to this movie is unquestionably the best in Trek history.  The effects are fantastic, and the action doesn't let up until the movie's title appears on the screen.  What really stood out about the prologue though is the incredibly written dialogue between George and Winona Kirk.  This scene is one of the best written and emotionally moving scene since Spock's death in The Wrath of Khan.

::MINOR SPOILER::  The time travel basis of the plot was another brilliant choice.  The problem you usually run into with prequels is that you know that the characters are never really in danger.  You've seen what happens later, they obviously survive.  With this movie you are constantly left feeling that tragedy could befall any of these characters, and it does.  Wow, it sure does.

I won't spill the beans as to the tragedy, but I loved it.  It was an incredible twist that really sent the message that in this new Trek, anything goes.  However, I have a feeling that the "Comic Book Guy" Trekkies out there are going to be up in arms about this.  It really is a big change, and I think will fly better with non-fans and casual Trekkies like myself, as opposed to the types who attend conventions every year.

Much of the success of this film should be credited to the cast.  The actors captured the spirit of the characters without simply imitating the former actors.  Karl Urban really stands out in my mind.  He was the perfect McCoy.  He nailed the voice, the anger, even the mannerisms.  Chris Pine also hit a home run with the new version of Kirk.  This Kirk isn't the one we grew up with, he had a much more troubled youth, and it showed.  Pine captured the cockiness that Kirk had, but there was a different edge to it.  He was still the captain, but a little rougher around the edges.  I wouldn't be shocked if this movie ends up making a big star out of Pine.

My only gripe with the movie was the villain.  Don't get me wrong, Nero was effective, and Eric Bana did a fine job portraying him.  My complaint was that he was pretty much a bald, tattooed, pointy eared version of Khan.  Sure he didn't control his emotions as well as Khan, but the revenge driven bad guy has been done before, and done too well to be tried again.

That gripe is particularly minor, however, as the movie as a whole was nearly perfect.  This ranks up there with Khan, First Contact, and The Undiscovered Country, as one of the best, if not the best, Trek movies of all time.  If you like Trek, see this movie now.  If you don't like Trek...still see this movie now.  It is that good.

Rating:  5 out of 5