San Diego Vintage SF :Earth VS The Flying Saucers

Eath VS FlyingAside from the usual board and card games on Friday night, this weekend was the once a month meeting of a local club, San Diego Vintage SF. We get together and watch genre movies from before 1966. Last night we watched Earth Vs The Flying saucers Last night’s version was even colorized. Now normally I would consider it in bad form to watch a B&W film that has been colorized. There is a lot of artistic decision in making a film and you make different ones when you work in B&W vs when you work in color, but this film is different. The film was pretty much shot by Ray Harryhausen the stop-motion effects wizard and he over saw the colorization of the print so I was fine with it.

While the film does have a bit of cheese to it it is still a fine and fun film to watch. A number of the people present had never seen the film and they seemed to enjoy themselves. (Though these club meeting are as much about hanging out with friends as they are movie watching.) Before the film we even watch short features. We had a serial episode (Batman – with the pudgiest Batman ever.) and a couple of cartoons.


A new way to look at the Bush & Obama Administrations

I’m a big fan of John Hodgman, probably best known as PC in the ‘I’m A Mac and I’m a PC” Apple commercials. He a fine comedian and has sharp and pointed intellect.

After the fold is a video of John Hodgman performing at the Radio and Tv Correspondents Diner and he provides not only fine humor but a unique way to look at the changing of the guard in Washington. It’s about 14 min long and it’s best viewed by geeks and nerds.

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How to tell a bad movie from the trailer

So here is the trailer to a new film I found over at the Apple website.

Simple concept really, thieves descend into a crypt looking for valuable to steal, awaken the residents therein and are then hunted down and killed one by one; probably in unusually graphic and bizarre methods. The idea it itself is unoriginal and not very interesting. So let’s look at the trailer and see if they have done anything novel or unique with it to make this idea stand out.

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New Solar Data

060307084500For the last couple of years the sun has been showing fewer sun-spots than expected. There has been some concern that the sun could be entering a new phase of lowered activity as it did in the 17th century when it went into what is called the Maunder Minimum. This coincided with the little ice age a time of global temperature decline that radically changed world history.
Now there is some evidence that the sun has not entered a new Maunder Minimum.


What Is Horror?

What is Horror?

Horror and our fascination with it go back as far as human memory stretches.  Ghosts and devils and all manner of evil deeds are fundamental elements in our story telling traditions. While this genre is not respected in main stream fiction or in mass media it has a power that transcends critics and fads.
What horrifies us is a deeply personal affair. The story that chills one person to the bone leaves another bland and unmoved. We all have our different psychological triggers and horror works best when it presses on one of the triggers in an unexpected fashion.  Horror is much like pornography; tough to define we know it when we see it. Despite the individualistic nature of our responses there are some comment elements to horror and in these we might find an answer to what is horror really?

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Well, yesterday I was home sick with a head cold, today I went back to work but still feeling crappy, just less so. This has thrown off my plans for getting started on my next short story. I haven’t the mental energy to work on anything at home currently. My evening tonight was The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and the pilot to The Wild Wild West

I did have an amusing thought yesterday. I was watching Errand Of Mercy a first season episode of Star Trek. Near the end Kirk is talking to the Enterprise and Kor the Klingon Commander also has his communicator out but is saying nothing. Kirk learns that the Organians have neutralized the Federation Task force turns to Kor, who still has not uttered a word into his communicator and Kor informs Kirk that the Klingon fleet is also disabled. I watched and thought — Dang, the Kilngons are texting!


Sunday Night Movie: King Kong

KONGSorry for being a day late on my Sunday Night Movie review but I’ve got a bit of a head cold and that has got be down and unproductive.

Anyway so Sunday night I watch King Kong (1933) this is a film that has been directly remade twice, first in 1976 and then again in 2005. In my opinion despite the advance in special effect technology neither of the re-makes touch the original film.

The story of King Kong is deceptively simple. A movie maker, known for making exciting nature films in order to capitalize on the public’s love of romance decides to make his next nature film with a lovely actress on a remote island when legends tell of a fantastic beast. The film is throughly a product of it’s time in respect to how the characters relate to each other, sexism is simply a product of their assigned roles in society, but the film transcends this and is a fantastic adventure.

King Kong truly was the Jurassic Park of its time. The methods used to creature the stunning effects were kept closely secret from the public with false information disseminated to ensure the secrecy. This film was made no long after sound became standard in movie making and there are many innovations at work in the film that forever changed movie making, The close beat-for-beat of the music with the action is something fairly new in King Kong. Watching the film on DVD I was amazed at how well most of the special effect stood up for a film made 76 years ago. The artistry is truly staggering. Willis O’Brien is the father of stop motion effects, a technique that has now been abandoned for digital effects, but made so many truly great films possible.

Peter Jackson remade the movie in 2005 and his was more faithful complete with a period setting to the original film than the disastrous remake from 1976, still there are many element to the 2005 Kong that I disliked. First he changed the nature of the character of Carl Denham, played wonderfully in the original by Robert Armstrong and in 2005 played quite well by Jack Black. In the 1933 film Denham is a film-maker/adventurer. A good man who is stand-up honest and faithful to his friends and people. In the 2005 version Denham has been transformed into a shyster, a con-man who is not to be trusted. There was no need for this change and I missed the original character. Secondly in Jackson’s Kong too much time is spend detailing the secondary characters of the film. Kong 2005 runs over three hours and is a decent movie, but a truly good two hours movie is hiding in it.
Frankly see the original. It’s a treat worth watching.