More Podcasting Is More Better


Hello everyone,

 

Sorry it’s been a few days since I posted anything. It’s been a busy time. I have been working like crazy. As some may or may not know I’m a cab driver and you can hear a story about that on the latest episode of The Gorram Nerd Hour. Besides working I have been trying to find time to sleep. That hasn’t been happening so instead I’m just throwing myself head first into more podcasts. Besides The Gorram Nerd Hour I have been doing a limited series under the Gorram banner called Holodeck Malfunction with my good friend Isaac Hulke. It’s a show about Star Trek if you couldn’t guess that from the title. 

In each episode of Holodeck Malfunction we pick a series or movie and talk about it for an hour, sometimes two topics. It just depends. We have recorded eight episodes so far and just started putting them up. So, you will be able to hear me twice a week on the Gorram page. You can also hear me and some free music on a new show I’ve started with my friend Ryan Ford. It’s called From The Underground and it will focus on indie bands of all genres. You can read more about it by following the hyperlink above. 

Lastly, I want to talk about the Abnormal Entertainment crew as a whole. These folks are awesome. I love each and every one of them…even Taylor Made from Bank On Action. He may not realize it since I do nothing but make fun of him all the time but I do appreciate him. David Hayes, one of the hosts of Cinema Head Cheese has a new book out. Follow the link on the other pages I’ve already hyperlinked and you’ll find it. It’s called American Guiginol. 

Thanks to everyone at Abnormal Entertainment. I’ve had a blast working with you all and can’t wait to see nearly everyone in one place for Phoenix Comicon.

Notes From The Underground – Some Podcast Updates


I’ve been busy lately. Not only am I prepping my next short film that will be shooting next month after a few delays but I’ve also been doing a lot of stuff in the world of podcasts. I recently talked to a co-worker who happens to be a music promoter here in Arizona. I’ve been wanting to do a music podcast for a while now. It’s something that’s been sorely missing from the Abnormal Entertainment lineup. Well, we found a way to do it. Big thanks to Ryan Ford for helping us get it done. 

The first episode was recorded about a week ago and had been turned in to the big guy at Abnormal. We’ll keep you posted for the date it’s released. The other podcast news is that one of the shows I’ve been sitting on for a while is finally going to see the light of day. My fellow nerd Isaac Hulke and I have secretly been recording a limited series of Star Trek podcasts. The first episode is all about Star Trek: The Original Series. That has also been handed in. You may be hearing a lot from me in the coming weeks. 

If you have a band and you want us to showcase your work on From The Underground send me an email and a sample MP3 and we will see what we can do. If you’re local to Arizona we would love to set something up at our studio for a live acoustic set as well.

Why I Like JJ Abrams For Star Wars


When Star Trek ended it’s long run of spin-off series after something like 19 years the movie franchise had already gone down in flames. People were saying it was the end of Trek. Rick Berman, the man who took over for Gene Roddenberry, had simply refused to break too far from the formula he felt still worked after all these years. The problem was the formula was making it increasingly more difficult to ever begin watching Star Trek without starting from the beginning. 

Many years of non-stop television series, ten movies over twenty five years, and constant complaints…even from the most die hard fans meant we may have seen the end of Star Trek. Thankfully Paramount wasn’t ready to accept it. They wanted a way to make Trek accessible to the masses. So they said, “To hell with the fan’s Prime Directive. We’re gonna shake things up.” And shake them up they did. After creating the best Mission Impossible up to that point Paramount was highly impressed with JJ Abrams and wanted to extend their working relationship with the man. Soon after they announced he would be taking the reigns of one of the most beloved franchises in the history of media. 

Let me say something here – I hate remakes/reboots/prequels or whatever other name they spend more time coming up with than the actual scripts of the remakes/reboots/prequels Hollywood makes. For some reason, though, after seeing Star Trek in 2009 I was completely satisfied. It was sort of a remake/reboot/prequel/sequel all rolled into one. And it worked. Abrams was not really a fan of Star Trek but two of his good friends and frequent collaborators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci were. He tasked them with the near impossible – make a script that marries all of Trek together and changes everything to make it fresh and new. Abrams used his love for Star Wars by creating some great fights and seriously cool space battles, something more epic than we had seen in any of the previous Trek films. 

Star Trek Into Darkness is coming this Summer. I have seen the 9 minutes of footage they played in front of the Imax version of The Hobbit and let me say I was seriously impressed. Some say it’s a betrayal of Trek franchise for Abrams to leave it. I don’t see it that way. He has a proven history of laying the groundwork for other people to expand on the worlds he creates. With Alias he took a backseat after a couple years and allowed others to continue it on. With Lost he allowed Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse to make it into the show that became event television for six years. Fringe was left in the hands of others as well. He continued to stay on as executive producer for all of them but nurtured others into taking these shows and moving them in exciting new directions. Even after Mission Impossible III he stayed on as producer, hired a couple of writers he’d worked with in the past and entrusted the directing duties to Brad Bird. He took the fourth film and made the best one in the history of the franchise. So when it comes to Trek I have faith that Abrams will find the right person to replace him and take the franchise to new heights. 

As far as Star Wars is concerned I am very excited. Abrams has a very fertile imagination, a great eye for dynamic shots, and the ability to pace a story very well. The problem with George Lucas was that he felt bored. It was like he felt obligated to make the prequel trilogy but didn’t really want to. So he loaded it with boring stuff about trade embargoes and the inner workings of the Imperial Senate. It was like the odd numbered Star Trek films and how they were slow, boring movies with little action.

Between hiring Michael Arndt as the writer, bringing in Lawrence Kasdan to consult on the script, and hiring Abrams as director I feel like this new Star Wars film could be the best on since Empire Strikes Back.

Now, let the casting rumors begin. 

My Top 10 Genre Movies Of 2012


I’m going to start off by saying that “genre” in this case is anything from superhero to science fiction to horror. So you will see a mix of them all on the list. You will hear this list on The Gorram Nerd Hour where Brian and I discuss it. Next week I will be giving you my bottom 10. But, for now, here we go – 

Image

 

10) The Dark Knight Rises – Batman Begins was the greatest Batman origin story put on film. The Dark Knight was a great movie with a lot of suspense and an amazing performance by Heath Ledger. The Dark Knight Rises had Bane, Catwoman, Talia Al Goul, a reluctant Batman and no sense of dread…even when the city was being held hostage. But it still managed to be a very good movie. Not the best of the trilogy but a fitting end to the Christopher Nolan era of Batman.

Image

 

9) The Avengers – Joss Whedon did what was nearly impossible. He took all the established Marvel characters from previous movies that Marvel owns the rights to and gave them the chance to shine individually and as a team. The movie itself is both funny and exciting. It’s not the greatest thing Whedon has ever directed. That honor goes to the pilot episode of Firefly. But the man did what few people could ever hope to do in bringing The Avengers to life.

Image

 

8) Chronicle – Josh Trank and Max Landis deserve a lot of credit. Found footage movies are Hollywood’s answer to low budget filmmaking anymore. And they tend to be made by low rent directors who wouldn’t know how to tell a traditional story. Not true with these guys. The made a found footage movie with a twist. This was like watching a polished film but still kept the grittiness of the found footage sub-genre. The script by Landis was great. Trank’s directing was spot on. It was a wonderful debut film from some talented guys who I hope won’t disappoint in the future.

Image

 

7) Silent House – Yes, I admit that the film was very predictable. But I saw the film more as Elizabeth Olson’s journey than the outcome. And what a performance she gave. The movie solid from beginning to end anchored by a powerhouse performance.

Image

 

6) Dredd – I remember seeing the awful Stallone movie based on this character back in the 90’s. When I heard they were rebooting it with Karl Urban I was pleased. Then I found out it was being directed by Pete Travis and written by Alex Garland and I went from pleased to excited. The character stuck closer to the comics while the story itself deviated. Urban’s performance was amazing. That man deserves more love from the geek community. Between Chronicles Of Riddick, Star Trek and Dredd the man is a champion of geek cinema. 

Image

 

5) Prometheus – If I didn’t lose you by putting TDKR and The Avengers so low on the list this one will probably make you think I’ve lost it. I’m sorry but I love Prometheus. It’s smart movie making. Ridley Scott and Damon Lindeloff set out to make a cerebral summer movie and succeeded on all counts. 

Image

 

4) John Dies At The End – I remember when this book came out and I fell in love with its strange, funny and irreverent take on the genre. The movie, written and directed by Don Coscarelli, captured the feeling of the book expertly and got amazing performances from the entire cast. The movie is not for everyone. If you’re a fan of Coscarelli’s Bubba Ho-Tep or the Phantasm series you’ll love it.

Image

 

3) Safety Not Guaranteed – I couldn’t help but find a cute photo of Aubrey Plaza for this part because the movie will make you fall in love with her. The film expertly made with great performances. It’s close to not being considered “genre” but I feel it needs to be included. Mark Duplass was amazing as the man who may be crazy or he may be able to time travel. This movie needs to be seen. 

Image

 

2) Cabin In The Woods – Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard crafted a story that was not only a traditional horror film but something completely different and original. If anyone ever tries to make a sequel I will save up my money, fly to wherever you live and shoot you in the face.

Image

 

1) Looper – I cannot say enough good about this movie. Rian Johnson’s directing was perfect. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were amazing. The story was smart and engaging. Emily Blunt was great. There was a really cool time travel/action story as well as a wonderful emotional arc for the characters that pays off beautifully at the end. The movie was genre filmmakers on a budget should aspire to. I know it inspired me to keep plugging away at what I do.

 

There you have it, folks – My top 10 genre films of 2012. Don’t forget to tune into The Gorram Nerd Hour to hear me and Brian argue about the list.

 

 

 

My Thoughts On All Things Star Trek


My friend Isaac Hulke and I recently decided to do a limited series of podcasts about Star Trek. They will start posting soon here. In it we devote an hour to each series and then we will go movie by movie discussing each in detail.

We have recorded episodes about the original series and the animated series already. I have always been a very big fan of all things Trek but this has forced me to go back and rewatch many of the episodes of the various shows that made it great.

Before recording last week I went back and watch the TOS episodes “Mirror, Mirror”, “Space Seed” and “The City On The Edge Of Forever”. They made me fall in love with the series all over again. There was so much being done in the series that was not only ground breaking but just great storytelling. In that podcast we also discussed what impact the show had on our present. Many of the children who grew up watching Trek wanted to move into finding ways to create the fictional tech that was used on the show. Many things we take for granted today came from people inspired by that show.

This weekend I have been spending some time watching some of the great episodes of The Next Generation. Being a reflection of our times in the 80’s and 90’s Gene Roddenberry used many things that really took a foothold in our culture and used them in the series. One of the major things was showing a Klingon being part of the Federation. Another was designating Troi as the ship’s counsellor as therapy was such a popular thing during that time.

The Next Generation has not yet proven to be as influential on our society as TOS but some things that were created for the show have since come to pass. The tablet computer being used as a reading device rather than carrying books around became one of the staples of Star Trek and has since begun to take a hold in our society today.

Not only have these shows influenced us in technological way but they have also given us some wonderfully entertaining hours of television. In TNG we had the introduction of some of the greatest creations in all of Trek – The Borg, Ferengi, Cardassians, and many other alien races that proved to have a lasting impact on Science Fiction by holding a mirror up to our society and showing us what we are. There were also some amazing introspective stories. One of the many great episodes was “The Inner Light”. I have had conversations with the writer of that classic episode and he said he was amazed by how beloved the episode has become. He now travels around to conventions and talks about his experiences. His name is Morgan Gendel. If you ever have the opportunity to meet this man you will not be disappointed. He is a very warm and engaging person.

I have spent a lot of time this weekend watching Deep Space Nine. It is sort of the forgotten child of Star Trek. People really should put it up there as one of the greatest creations ever to come from the Trek Universe. Instead it us constantly overshadowed by its predecessors. Voyager gets talked about more because of it sucked. And that’s a shame. DS9 was an amazing series that took a decidedly different journey. It was set aboard a space station and dealt with Federation officers being placed in a war torn part of deep space. It played in an entirely different sandbox. On a regular basis they dealt with loss, religion and racial conflict much more that than any of the other series dared to do. Sure, it moved into soap opera territory from time to time. They all did. But the show was much more daring and bold than anything that came before it.

And then there was Voyager. Wanting to get back to the fun of space exploration was the idea behind the show. They came up with a Lost In Space idea where they were cut off in an uncharted quadrant so far removed from Federation space it would take over 70 years at maximum warp to return. Instead of capturing the fun of TOS they opted to make Captain Janeway a nearly spineless person who would constantly ask “what did we do to offend you?” rather than take action. The secondary cast was horribly underused. The stories were weak and Neelix was possibly the worst SciFi character outside of Jar Jar. Enough said on that until the podcast recording.

Enterprise was an uneven show but really started to come into its own in its final season. It’s a shame the show could not have run at least a little longer. I would have liked to see Captain Archer and his crew dealing more with the beginnings of the Federation. And Scott Backula is just cool.

It’s nearly unanimous how people feel about the Trek movies. The odd ones are bad, the even ones are good. But does that hold true for the reboot of the movie franchise. You will have to time into the podcast to find out my feelings on the subject. We also offer trivia. We talk about the series that never was – Star Trek: Phase II, and many other things. I will be sure to let you know when they are available.

Heavy On Neon, Light On Zombies – Night Of The Comet Reviewed


1984 was a simpler time. Video games were still in their infancy, cell phones didn’t exist, Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet, and movies like Night Of The Comet had a shot at a theatrical run.

Night Of The Comet starred Catherine Mary Stewart of The Last Starfighter, Kelli Maroney of Chopping Mall, Robert Beltran of Star Trek: Voyager, and Geoffrey Lewis of The Devil’s Rejects. It was directed by Captain Ron helmer Thom E. Eberhardt. The film is about survivors after a comet wipes out everything on the planet except for those safely tucked away in anything made of steel. Everyone else was turned to dust. Well, not everyone. Some slowly turned into zombie like creatures that we never really saw feed on anyone.

The movie begins by showing Reggie played by Stewart working at a movie theater. She is a wiz at some video game in the lobby. Every high score is hers but one and she gets mad when she notices that number six on the list is not her. Firm she goes to the projection booth to have sex with the projectionist. She falls asleep there and discovers in the morning that she is one of the few survivors. She goes home to discover her sister Sam, played by Maroney, also survived because she slept in the shed overnight.

The sisters then go to the radio station because the DJ is still on the air. When they get there they discover it was pre-recorded but they meet Hector, played by Beltran. Together they have some adventure that take place off camera, like looking for guns, and then go shopping. There is a montage sequence of the sisters dancing around and trying on clothes set to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper.

While at the department store things move along at a faster pace. They are discovered by a group of men who are infected and slowly turning into zombies. They try and kill the girls with their guns while Reggie is the only one armed on het side. The girls are on opposite ends of the store but the two armed men shooting at them stick together and just turn to shoot rather than split up. They also never reload. I guess this store sells guns that have magical reload capabilities. Eventually they’re caught and then saved by survivors from a think tank from just outside of town that is gathering up people to experiment on.

Is this movie making any sense to anyone at this point? It doesn’t make sense to me…but I still love every minute of it. There’s the terrible acting of the department store zombie guy, the weirdness of the female characters, the terrible dialogue. What’s not to love?

This movie is bad from start to finish. There’s no two ways about it. But this is the sort of infectious bad movie that makes you love watching it and hoping that the joy will last all the way to the end. I make no apologies for liking this movie and don’t feel I should. It’s something that could only come from the 80’s. People have tried and failed since. There was a different sensibility back then. Things were less jaded. People could make a fun bad movie and it was accepted for what it was. Now, people expect more. The difference is that they don’t expect more story. They just want more explosions and pretty pictures to distract them from the badness. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.

This movie will he reviewed on the next episode of The Gorram Nerd Hour where you will hear Brian’s opinion on this film as well. Find us on Facebook or Blogspot.

Bryan Fuller, What Are You Doing With Your Career?


For years Bryan Fuller has been a bit of an inspiration. He got his start writing professionally when Star Trek had an open script submission policy and became a writer on Deep Space Nine and Voyager. He then went on to create the wonderful series Dead Like Me.

Over the years the shows he created have been very short lived, none going more than two seasons, but they shine brightly and are remembered fondly. He also created Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies. He was also a writer on Heroes, turning in some of the best episodes of that show.

So what made Fuller want to adapt both Hannibal and The Munsters into new television shows? It seems to me that he is better than that. The new version of The Munsters is called Mockingbird Lane and stars Jerry O’Connell and Portia De Rossi as Herman and Lily and it’s more of an hour long drama than a comedy. Eddie Izzard is playing Grampa Munster.

It’s not that I have a problem with the cast. I love Izzard and De Rossi. O’Connell can be likable in the right role. This just seems like a risky venture and, if it fails, could mark the end of Fuller’s career. Then there’s Hannibal. Do we really need to see a young Hannibal Lechter before he was captured working with the FBI? I don’t think so. What made Manhunter and Silence Of The Lambs so good was the fact that we knew very little about the character and that made him scary. By the time movie series went on we didn’t care anymore. It may be different with this show, I don’t know. I hope so.

Fuller has a very strong and creative voice. I hope that these new shows allow it to shine. I’m afraid what will happen is the same thing that happened with Carrie. Fuller wrote a television mini-series based on the classic Stephen King novel and amazing Brian De Palma film. It was meant to be a back door pilot for a series and left it open at the end. Fuller’s creative talent seemed stunted. There were very few moments I saw hints of his clever writing. Instead it was a stale retread of a story we already knew.

Let’s hope we see more Battlestar Galactica and less Knight Rider in his reboot of The Munsters in terms of quality. And as for Hannibal…your guess is as good as mine there.

The World’s End – Here’s Hoping It’s Another Slice Of Fried Gold


Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg have done some great work together and separately. They’re never better than when they work together, though. Since the great television series Spaced premiered in 1999 they have worked together a lot. Wright was the director of every episode with Pegg and Jessica Stevenson writing each script and starring. It was an amazing series. If you haven’t seen it you owe it to yourself to check it out.

After they finished Spaced they moved on to making Shaun Of The Dead, a wonderful love letter to zombie films. Then there was Hot Fuzz. Both films were written by the both of them and starred Pegg and Nick Frost, Pegg’s co-star from Spaced. They always intended to make a thematic trilogy, one horror, one action, and one science fiction. Then the demands of their busy schedules got in the way. Wright went on to make Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and Pegg went on to make a string of films, some successful and some not. Even Nick Frost has had a lot of success in England. It’s been hard getting the band back together again.

A fee months ago Edgar Wright teased that Ant-Man, a movie he’s been championing for some time might happen, keeping the third movie in trilogy a little further off still. Then he teased The World’s End was happening and that there was a small window to get the three of them together again to make the film.

Wright made a claim that the script was done. He said that Pegg and Frost had some time available and they just needed a green light from the studio. As of today the light is green. The movie is a go. Personally I could not be more excited. I don’t even care what the movie is about. Getting the three of them together for a movie is like serving up a slice of fried gold. Here’s hoping it stands up to the previous two installments.