Saturday, August 25, 2012

David's Dark Knight Post

Alright, here we go. Here's David's Dark Knight Rises review we said we were gonna post (SPOILERS):

Dark Knight Rises was a pretty great movie. I mean, it was kind of daring to make Bane a secret clone of Bruce Wayne, but it was worth it for the five or so times they interrupted the big action climax so Batman could try and appeal to his better nature and make him a good guy again…

Actually, Dark Knight Rises is for me a very ambitious film that doesn’t quite accomplish everything it sets out to do. I’d compare it with something like The Avengers, which wasn’t that ambitious at all. Sure, it was ambitious from a marketing perspective, putting out all those movies for Thor, Captain America, etc. and then putting it all together in Avengers, but the movie itself was pretty basic. It had a standard “Team comes together, team gets attacked, then aliens invade” plot. That movie’s all quips and humor, with a bit of smash. Yeah, Agent Coulson’s death is sad, but it’s movie sad. It’s like Apollo Creed dying in Rocky IV so Rocky can get that much more driven for the final battle. The Dark Knight trilogy aims for something higher, commenting on fear, escalation, social inequality and civil society. One of the most important characters in these movies is Gotham itself, and Dark Knight Rises is its climax. Dark Knight Rises tries to tie the trilogy together—it’s definitely more connected to the two previous films than Dark Knight was to Begins. Its plot is also as crammed full as Avengers is simple. You have Bane and his plot, the introduction of Catwoman and her search for her mcguffin, Detective Blake’s investigation, Gordon’s guilt, Bruce Wayne’s financial troubles and Batman’s return. And that’s all before the mid-movie left field plot twist of Bane’s triumph and Batman’s exile. The movie also tries to deal with the twin legacies of its two predecessors, the League of Shadows from Begins and Harvey Dent’s crimes in Dark Knight.  Suffice to say, that’s a lot of movie. Comic book movies with half that much going on (Spider-man 3, for example), have crashed and burned plenty.

It’s to the movie’s credit that so much of it makes sense in plot and theme. It does all get a bit crammed towards the end, but a lot of it is comprehensible and interesting. (OK, Bane’s plot of turning Gotham into French Revolutionary Paris before nuking it anyway is a little weird, and gets more perplexing when it turns out it wasn’t his plot at all, but Talia’s). The action’s pretty darn great too (although no set piece is as good as either the bank robbery or semi truck chase/crash  in Dark Knight, though the first Batman/Bane fight is some pretty great brutality), and Bale is given much bigger and  more interesting role than in Dark Knight, where he was kind of sidelined by Ledger’s Joker.  The cast is superb, which is important because they have a lot to deal with. It’s a pretty great finish to the trilogy that’s set a new bar for serious, thought-provoking big budget film making. I don’t know if I can explain it all, but it’s certainly a movie I’d like to see again and again.

It’s funny how Batman at the end of Dark Knight Rises kind of echoes Spock in Star Trek II. Both sacrifice their lives to save everyone else from large explosions, both get eulogized ultimately by the end of A Tale of Two Cities, and then we close on a scene that hints that “Wait, maybe he isn’t dead after all….” Homage or coincidence?

Here’s a Top 5 for you: Superhero Franchises? Superhero movies? Just the Batman movies? (There are 7 of them now). If I had to rank those it’d probably go: 7. Batman and Robin, 5. Batman Returns 5. Batman Forever 4. Batman 3. Dark Knight Rises 2. Batman Begins 1. Dark Knight

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Podcast 107: Ziyal's Well That Ends Well

This one's long. Freeeeeeakishly long. Do you have the attention span to get all the way through it? Do you want your commute to be that extremely geeky? Not only do we bust up the six-episode arc that begins Season 6 of DS9, but we also get a full report of the Las Vegas Star Trek Convention AND chat with a fellow Star Trek fan also in convention attendance. All of this and Alexander Rozhenko's back!

Podcast breakdown:

0:00 -- nuqneH, viewer mail
9:48 -- Con report
25:16 -- Holly chat
48:53 -- "A Time to Stand"
1.06:38 -- "Rocks and Shoals"
1.23:03 -- "Sons and Daughters"
1.33:19 -- "Behind the Lines"
1.45:04 -- "Favor the Bold"
1.56:51 -- "Sacrifice of Angels"
2.21:14 -- Awards and rankings
2.29:53 -- Upcoming episodes
2.36:20 -- Qapla' and outtakes

Remember to rate and comment on iTunes!

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Comment on anything we've said or anything we will say.

This episode is dedicated in loving memory to Lilyan Chauvin (1925-2008).

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Las Vegas Star Trek Convention: Jon's Photo Report

Hey! If you found one of my business cards at the convention and are checking this site out from that, please send us an email!

Okay. Enjoy the report.

I was hoping that I would make it all the way to Vegas in one night of driving, but I got tired and had to get a hotel in St. George. The above picture is of the fort I built in my room. It is a very humble fort because I was pretty tired.

It's a humble fort, but notice this stellar feature: the air conditioner is specifically contained inside for maximum coolage. This pre-cooling was essential to my survival in Las Vegas August heat.

This picture was taken right after coming over the hill to see Las Vegas, and right before me wildly swerving to get back into the lane.

 The Sky Tower sorta looks like a spaceship, I guess, so I figured I'd take a shot. Once again, I had to wildly swerve the car to get back into the lane. Next year I'll need a co-pilot.

Here we are coming up to the Rio. I was worried because there were no aliens on the side of the building besides Penn & Teller.

Here's my photo reminder of where I parked on the first day.

 Here's the shirt I wore the first day. Notice the blood wine stain on the front.

 Before I even went in I noticed a truck full of tribbles in the parking lot. Surely they all melted by the end of the day.

I threw a few new J.R. Watches Star Trek for the first time business cards on the public table under the big sign. I checked on their progress throughout my stay and they trickled away extremely slowly.

 Here's the big projection on the wall. I think these things may be on the way out. They seem sort of cliche nowadays.

 This chick is dressed as a mirror universe trill (as if you didn't know).

This clever person dressed up as Captain Pike (alright, to be funny I was going to take a picture of everyone I saw on a rascal and make the same joke over and over again, but there were WAY TOO MANY rascals and I felt bad for the joke -- just pretend I made the joke).

Here's Q. On the second day I went up to him and mentioned that I watched the second season of Breaking Bad and my heart is totally broken. He gave absolutely no response to that. I felt slightly dumb.

 Worf. I spoke to him about getting an audio clip and he said he wouldn't be able to for management reasons or something. He also told me that the other TNG big leaguers wouldn't be able to either. Lesson learned. The next day I decided to get his autograph anyway, but Dorn does this weird thing where you have to buy the photos on a separate table. I didn't know that and didn't put forth the effort to picking out a photo from one of the millions available at other booths. Sorry J.R. that was going to be my gift for you.

 Geordi. At this point the table guards were like "No pictures of the Enterprise crew, please."

This wasn't the only amazing piece of movie vinyl at this booth. There were better ones, but this was the last picture I shot before the guy was like "No pictures of the merchandise, please."

Most of the Borg costumes went the extra mile. Here's an assimilated creature that wasn't human before Borg assimilation.

 There is only one Enterprise in my book. Okay, the Enterprise-A counts too. There are only two Enterprises in my book.

 Hey! Here's another Captain Pike!

I saw these girls with the legs wandering around a lot and I finally asked for a picture. Either they were really tired or really not into me. They were very cordial though, as everybody was (Roddenberry utopian society for the win!). I should have gotten more legs in the picture and not just because I'm a total creep -- they had cool boots on. Actually the one on the left was barefoot and stretching her feet which was somehow unbelievably cute.

These Klingons had a long conversation with me about how their friend was supposed to dress up with them, but didn't and that I should totally confront their friend. I can't believe I didn't give them a JRWSTFTFT card. I hardly gave a card to anybody. I'm terrible.

 These girls were extremely popular. They are sporting how far Wonderbra technology has advanced in the 24th century.

Here I am practicing my own contemplative Kirk pose. Notice I'm wearing my favorite pants. These pants exhibit a crazy charisma-inducing phenomenon.

 Here's my shirt for the second day. This shirt is truly one of a kind because it's the only one CafePress printed off before they said they couldn't print any more for copyright reasons. We'll get this same pattern available on Zazzle or something soon probably.

 Parking reminder.

 I spoke to this girl about her cool little watergun/phaser bag. Apparently it's a Used bag -- as in a bag that promotes the band The Used. I also told her that our podcast welcomes more cute girls. Wow. Looking at this photo right now, I think she has a Gorn tattoo. Wow.

 This is fuzzy, but this girl was one of at least three people dressed up as the freaking Crystaline Entity. Yeah, that's right. AT LEAST THREE people dressed up as the CRYSTALINE ENTITY.

 EXTREMELY clever female Ferengi costumes.

This is a Federation uniform bathrobe that I want, but didn't buy. Resistance. Not futile.

 The line to see Jonathan Frakes. Also known as the line "to get Riked."

 "A Piece of the Action" was miraculously on the short list for fans' favorite TOS episode.

 This was taken from my amazing seat at the TNG cast reunion. Sirtis is a loose cannon. Oh, and this seat wasn't actually amazing. It was quite terrible. The girls in front of me were definitely not dressed as Star Trek fans and I was wondering if they knew where they were.

 That guy in the distance in the middle of the hallway? The kid who plays Nog. He's a pretty tiny little guy.

 Here's my picture of the costume contest pre-judgement. Yeah, my camera has the worst flash in the known universe (even counting the Pakled homeworld). Anyway, see those blue eyes glowing? That's a guy in a phenomenal Iron Man costume that he tried to pass off as a Federation dock worker suit or some such nonsense.

Here's the delightful Holly with her Enterprise duffel bag (she said it's one of only 300 made, apparently) and in her little girl from "Pen Pals" costume. I tracked her down to find out what her favorite TNG episode was since I noticed her at the "Best TNG Episode" forum the night before. Turns out because of her intense love of Data, the best episode in her mind is "Measure of a Man." This picture was taken right after I informed her that I'm totally not a Data fan.

 Here's a better photo of the Iron Man guy. Also that girl next to the blue shirt had a fabulous T'pring costume.

 Yeah. My Corolla ran nearly 420 miles on a single tank of dilithium.

 Here's a photo of a photo of me with Andrew Robinson. I sold (gave away) my crappy scanner at a yard sale last week. Scorpio! Btw, that's not my real smile, that's my grimace smile.

A pile of my swag. Notice the autographed Chase Masterson jazz CD on the very top (also notice the Sandra Pillar dental floss).

Anyway, that's what I got. I'll go into more detail next time we have a chance to go on the air. Questions? Comments? Post below or, as always, email us.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Trek Con

Alright, so I (Jon) am heading down to Trek Con in Vegas this weekend. Please tweet me (@rexbasior)  if you're there or if there's anyone you want me to say hi to.

Download the announcement here!