Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 incredibly cheesy-looking movies to get excited about

Not everyone loves schlocky sci-fi movies.  They're an acquired taste, kind of like natto or kimchi.  Also, what might be a B movie to some might be a paragon of film-making to others.  However, if you've been a sci-fi fan for very long, chances are you've seen one or two, maybe without meaning to.  There's a lot of kitsch out there, and sometimes that's the most fun.  In that vein, here's 5 that I'm excited about seeing.  Whether or not they'll be good, well, that depends entirely on your definition.

1.) Age of the Dragons
Ok, never mind that it sounds kind of dirty; in the same vein as "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," we now have "Moby Dick and Dragons."  Cheese-fest meter?  Probably high, since there's about 2 lines of dialog shown in the trailer, and one of them is yelled.

2.) Skyline
Well, people getting sucked up into the sky is a good place to start on the schlock-o-meter.  They quote Stephen Hawking's 'aliens probably don't wanna make friends' bit, so that's also a point in its favor.

3.) Monsters
I have to admit, I really like the premise of this film.  It sounds a little District 9-ish in some ways, and glowing mutant mushrooms are cool.

4.) Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
The name is certainly long enough.  Movies about animals are always tricky, and this movie might rightly be classified as fantasy rather than sci-fi, but I think it deserves a billing for content, if not style.

5.) Tron: Legacy
This one I'm a little worried about, although I'm still looking forward to seeing it.  There's the good kind of cheesy, which is a film it doesn't take itself too seriously, and then there's bad cheese which does, and this may wind up being in the second category.  The original was a cult classic; hopefully this one is enjoyable.

Friday, August 20, 2010

In Honor of H.P. Lovecraft

Today is H.P. Lovecraft's Birthday!  I figure those of you reading this blog are well familiar with his work, but if not, click here.  For other fun, Lovecraft-related stuff, here are a few links:

Via McSweeneys, Selections from H.P. Lovecraft's Brief Tenure as a Whitman's Sampler Copywriter.  

A great, Lovecraft-inspired graphic novel: Lovecraft is Missing (thanks, @ThirdMusket)

Cthuugle: The Search Engine Man Was Not Meant to Know!

And of course, you can always get your own Cthulhu over at

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hail to thee, Red Shirt

Over on his blog, Dave Perillo reminds us that the real Expendables are the kind wearing red shirts:

Art by said Mr. Perillo

I love this! Poor Red Shirt, you never stand a chance.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Zombies! (again)

Via Reddit, World War Z author Max Brooks will be answering your zombie questions online on the 17th of August.  As the poster says, "Mr. Brooks will answer the top ten questions (using "best" comment sorting) in this thread as of Tuesday 8/17) at 12pm ET. This will be a video interview. Ask Him Anything."

Get your questions in here: Ask Max Brooks Anything

And, while you're waiting for the 17th to arrive, here's some reading: 5 Reasons You Secretly Want a Zombie Apocalypse (via Cracked)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Review: Ark

There are some awesome things to be found on Hulu.  They have a fairly good selection of the latest sci-fi shows, for example, and one of these is Ark.  Hulu has 9 'mini-sodes' available right now, the longest clocking in at about 8 minutes, the shorter ones coming in at around 3 minutes.

The Premise: Two very different people, from different eras in modern history, find themselves suddenly aboard a ship, without any clue why they've been taken or where they are.  If it sounds a bit like Stargate: Universe, the premise is basically the same, only there's no action that predicates their sudden appearance on the ship.  I'm a big fan of the "what the hell just happened and where the eff are we?" genre of sci-fi: it leaves a lot of possibilities open for the story and allows you to figure out what's going on along with the characters.  It can be difficult to make the punchline discovery of what's going on really satisfying, but in this case it's the journey that's important.

The Pros and Cons: Since the episodes are presented in short clips, it means everything has significance.  There's really nothing in the way of fluff, and the story is pushed along by increasingly dramatic discoveries and events.  The ship is a jumbled amalgamation of habitation area and dusty corridors filled with doors that don't always work and screens that track where the characters are, filled with numbers and symbols that do a good job of making everything seem alien and disorienting.

However, since the episodes are so short, some things are necessarily sacrificed.  Character development is the big one.  We see aspects of their lives before they arrived on the Ark, but there's not much in the way of connection to either of them.  This is not a character-driven story, at least not yet.  Further, while it's good to enjoy Hulu while it's free, the advertising is rough for Ark: 30 seconds to a minute of ads for a 3-minute episode is not a good exchange.

Apparently there's also a graphic novel being released along with the episodes, although I haven't seen it yet.  I'd give Ark six of ten stars, and I'm interested to see where the story goes.

More about Ark >

"Precision Driving?"

Apparently the third Transformers movie, shooting in DC later this summer, is looking for extras.

Anybody in DC familiar with precision driving?  Now's your chance to be a star!