Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tae Kwon Don't

A bit that I hadn't heard in years is called "Tae Kwon Leap." My friend Jim played it for me when we were young and carefree (now we're just old and carefree). It's an incredibly funny piece in which this goofball interrupts a martial arts class with his stupid nonsense. All I really know is that it's by a Canadian comedy troupe called The Frantics and that it's some hee-larious shit.

Here's a text excerpt:

Ed: No disrespect or nothing, but like how long is this going to take?

Master: Tae-Kwon-Leap is not a path to a door, but a road leading forever towards the horizon.

Ed: So like, what, an hour or so?

Master: No, no. We have not even begun upon the path. Ed Gruberman, you must learn patience.

Ed: Yeah, yeah, yeah -- patience. How long will that take?

Click here to download the entire audio bit. The file is only 2.71 MB and runs about 6 minutes.

(Thanks to the guy who's hosting this MP3.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Torchwood: The Complete First Season

Torchwood harkens back to a type of sci-fi TV that’s been absent from screens for some time now – fare like The X-Files and Dark Skies. The title of the show refers to the name of a covert organization that seemingly operates above and outside the law in Cardiff, Wales. See, there’s a time and space rift in Cardiff through which alien debris enters our world, and it’s Torchwood’s mission to scavenge and protect. Their fearless leader is the charismatic Capt. Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), a character introduced in the first season of the new Doctor Who series. Jack’s actually from the 51st century, but is stranded on present-day Earth. He’s appropriately omnisexual: a futuristic hero who’s slept around with men, women, aliens – a real “anything with a pulse” sort of fellow. He’s also got a few secrets, and a major one is revealed in the final moments of the first episode, “Everything Changes.”

Read the rest of this DVD review by clicking here to visit Bullz-Eye.

And make sure to visit The House Next Door after Torchwood's Season Two BBC America premiere this Saturday for Joan Hedman's ongoing weekly dissection of the series. BBC America will also be premiering Season Three of Doctor Who on the same night. Click here for times and schedules.

Weird Science: The Complete Seasons 1 & 2

Weird Science, a series based on the John Hughes movie of the same name, looks dreadful. Even Hughes’ original was one of his weakest outings from the good ol’ glory days of Shermer, Illinois. (Admittedly, that’s akin to saying Return of the Jedi was a weak Star Wars entry.) Could this one-gag movie translate into a series? Regardless, I gave it a chance for one big reason: Vanessa Angel.

Find out exactly why Vanessa Angel rates and whether or not Weird Science is worth your time by clicking here and visiting Bullz-Eye.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Come and get your love...

IMDB reports:

Lindsay Lohan is set to spend time in a morgue as part of her community service - in a bid to show the consequences of driving under the influence. The Mean Girls star, 21, was arrested twice last year on charges of DUI, and was sentenced to serve four days behind bars in August. She served just over 80 minutes in Lynwood jail in California in November, after a judge reduced the sentence and ordered her to carry out 10 days of community service - which she began in late last year with the American Red Cross. Her attorney, Blair Berk, told a judge on Thursday at a progress hearing Lohan will spend two four-hour days at a morgue, and will spend a further two days in a hospital emergency room. Lohan was not present at the hearing.

I would like to extend the invite to Miss Lohan to spend her time doing her community service here at The Rued Morgue. She'll be made quite comfortable and no doubt she and I will find plenty of ways in which can work off her debt to society.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Beverly Hills, 90210: Season Three

A while back Piper gave me some good-natured shit for writing about Desperate Housewives on a blog that typically showcases fare like Doctor Who and James Bond (as if either of those franchises can be considered edgy at this point).

If he sees it, this entry will likely cause him to spontaneously combust...

Having spent most of the ‘90s watching movies and very little broadcast TV, Beverly Hills, 90210 was a slice of pop culture I missed out on entirely. (It’s always mildly baffling to realize any series was on the air for 10 seasons and you never saw a single episode of it.) Something as iconic as 90210 carries loads of preconceived baggage, and for education’s sake, I was eager to find out what so transfixed audiences back in ‘92. This box set was my intro to the world of Brenda and Brandon Walsh & Co., and going in I was sure I was gonna hate it...

Find out if my instincts failed me yet again by clicking here and reading the rest of the review at Bullz-Eye.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Stern on Letterman (01/10/08)

One TV event that can always be counted on to deliver is a Howard Stern appearance on David Letterman. A huge part of why it works is because of Stern's ability to corner Dave on issues that he'd rather not discuss, and the ensuing discomfort Letterman ends up wallowing in. It's a sight to behold and the duo have never failed to leave me in stitches. There's a reason why Stern on Letterman appearances almost always last for three segments: because once Howard leaves, the show is all but over. Last night did not disappoint, however the strongest segment was the second (which you can see by clicking here). Stern riffs on Dr. Phil, Don Imus and Jay Leno with increasing comical prowess. It's clear Stern's got an agenda when he comes on the show and he knows what he's gonna say, but the guy's so good that it doesn't matter that it isn't entirely off the cuff. Often times one wonders who's interviewing who. It's must-see TV, even if you're not a fan of either guy. Even Paul Shaffer rises to the Stern occasion and whips out several zingers.

If you are a fan, then by all means check out Part One (where Stern pimps a genital cream and bitches about Oprah) and Part Three (where Stern speaks of his fear of vacations and gives Dave a hard time for not marrying his long-term girlfriend, Regina).

Watch these clips now because they may be gone tomorrow.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sunshine

Every once in a great while a sci-fi flick comes along that just seems to hit a bunch of the right notes. Such is the case with Sunshine, which hit DVD earlier this week. The flick got mostly an art house sort of release here in the States, which, despite it being distributed by Fox Searchlight, seemed really odd after finally seeing it. It is, after all, a motion picture with a $50,000,000 budget. (By comparison, back in ’79, Alien was a paltry $11,000,000.)

When exactly did $50 mill suddenly become chump change in the sci-fi arena? I guess it happened somewhere around the point that $100 mill became the minimum going rate (see T2 back in ’91 for more info…). But maybe art houses are where Sunshine belonged, because as sci-fi fare goes, its abstract, philosophical messages probably required far too much thought for the average summer moviegoer. Had it been a tentpole release alongside Spidey 12 and Pirates 86, it would’ve tanked. Which is a shame, because if Sunshine had rocked the box office, it likely would’ve made way for far more intelligent fare featuring exploding spaceships and astronauts in peril.

The story seems simple, if not a tad clich├ęd - in the year 2057, the sun is dying and a ship called the Icarus II must travel to the sun to detonate a nuclear device to reactivate it. The Icarus I tried to do the same seven years prior, but the mission went awry and nobody really knows what happened to its missing ship and crew. Right away you’re saying, “But our sun’s got a good 4 billion years to go, right?” Right! That’s where the film's science advisor, Dr. Brian Cox (a real life Buckaroo Banzai if ever there was one), stepped in and aided the production in creating a plausible reason for the death of the sun 50 years from now. Cox even has his own commentary track on the DVD, which may be even more engaging than director Danny Boyle’s separate track. Cox admits straight up that not every facet of the film is scientifically sound, but he worked hard with the production to make as much sense out of the concept as possible, whilst still delivering a solid actioner.

But since I’m pretty much an idiot on all things scientific, most of it probably wouldn’t have made a big difference to me anyway. Hell, I just wanna be riveted by a good space movie, and with Sunshine I was in ways that I haven’t been for years with this type of fare. For at least the first 30 minutes I was reminded heavily of Alien; for the last 30 minutes, I felt like I was watching 2001 for a new generation. There’s no doubt these classics influenced Boyle and screenwriter Alex Garland, and there’s nothing wrong with stealing from the best and making something of your own. Is it as good as either of those films? Well, yes and no. It’s actually not either of those films. Sunshine is its own dog, and now that it’s out on DVD, I’ve no doubt it’s going to find a place on fans’ shelves right next to the works of Kubrick and Scott.

Mention must be made of the film’s terrific score, which is done by the electronic band Underworld as well as composer John Murphy. The music is, dare I say, at least a third of the film’s success. I’m a sucker for sci-fi music, and John Williams has his place, but it’s not in a movie of this ilk. The aural textures presented here are an ideal accompaniment for this strange, compelling journey.

Much criticism of the film revolves around events in the finale, and their plausibility. They may not be plausible, but I’ll be damned if they weren’t dramatically riveting and in keeping with the setup. Your mileage may vary.

For another take on Sunshine, check out Peet Gelderblom's words at The House Next Door.