Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

There was a knock on my door . . .

I am going to tell you all about one of the most memorable events to happen during my time at Marymount University. I normally only give people a shortened version of this story. But here, for the first time ever, I am going to share every last detail that I can wring out of my brain. I want this documented for posterity.

It was a typical Sunday evening on the second floor of the Annex. People were washing their clothes, doing some schoolwork, and generally fucking off. I am not entirely sure but I think it was Roger Ortega who called me into the big bathroom across from the wooden phone booth. He had something to show me. There was already a small crowd gathered next to the first shower on the right-hand side. When I looked in, what to my wandering eyes should appear? It was a rather large pile of shit! I don't mean shit in the slang sense like there was a bunch of stuff in there. Oh no, this was a pile of human feces my friends. It wasn't in the typical serpentine shape of a normal turd. It was more like a splattered cow patty. I took one look and got my ass out of the bathroom. Well, no one of any importance found out about it until the next day.

When I got back to the floor that Monday afternoon, there was one of Grandpa's computer printed signs that read "Floor Meeting. 9:00pm. VERY BRIEF." Roger and I suspected that this brief meeting was probably about the shit we had seen in the shower on the previous night. So Roger, in his infinite wisdom, brought his micro-cassette recorder to the meeting and recorded the whole thing.

The meeting was held in the second floor lounge, right next to the room I shared with No No Just Dave. Attending were our R.A.'s Brian "Grandpa" Abrams and Kevin Marsh. Also there that night was a very sullen looking Carlton Sauls, Director of Residence Life. What follows is verbatim what Abrams told us that night . . .

"Today I faced the most difficult situation I have ever had to face as an R.A. And that, was a knock on my door . . . by our maid . . . in tears . . . half out of fury . . . and the other half out of . . . disgust. She motioned me to a lump of . . . excrement . . . in the shower. I mean guys, this happened on a Sunday night. This wasn't 'I was drunk' this was 'I'm going in the shower . . . to take a dump.'"

Needless to say, inside I was about to piss my pants laughing but I couldn't let that show. This was serious business to Abrams and Carlton! Later, away from the context of the meeting, Abrams told me what the maid really said. He said she took him to the bathroom, pointed in the shower and said "shit senor!" None of our maids spoke English.

The identity of the culprit was never discovered. There was a theory that a young fellow who was known to wipe boogers on the TV screen and bathroom mirrors may have been responsible. I can't really say for sure. I know he was fucked up but I don't know if he would intentionally shit in the shower. So let's do a little detective work shall we. Here are the major scenarios as I see them:

1. Someone, anyone really, got sick and couldn't control their bowels. He shit in the shower and was too embarrassed to say anything to anyone.

2. The booger wiping individual mentioned above did it on purpose.

3. Someone else did it on purpose for laughs.

Regardless, the truth is out there!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Picture of Nero

Paramount has released another picture of Romulan villain Nero. I like this picture much better than the first one they released. He doesn't look nearly as much like Shinzon in this picture. The more I see of all these pictures the more excited I get about the movie. I am really liking everything I have seen so far. The trailer will be released on November 14th with the new James Bond movie Quantum of Solace.

On a side note, IDW has announced a special prequel comic book series that will lead into the events of the new movie. The book will be about Nero and older Spock in the 24th century post Nemesis. The most exciting part to me is it will address what Spock was doing after we saw him last in Unification. I am still holding out hope for a TV series set in the 24th century after the events of Nemesis. Hopefully this movie will make big bucks and we'll see Star Trek return to television.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Star Trek Pictures - Let the Nit-Picking Begin!

Well, after waiting for what seems like an eternity, Paramount finally released some pictures from the new Star Trek movie. For me, it is always exciting to see those first pictures from a new Trek. Very little really compares to the experience of casting my eyes on pictures like this for the first time. So, before all the bitching about small details begins I thought I'd share my initial thoughts on them. I know that some of you will never be satisfied with anything but I am not like that. My love of Star Trek is like a baseball fan's love of his favorite team. No matter what the team does, he is still a fan. Sometimes they win the World Series, other times they can't even make the playoffs. He might dog them out when they don't perform, but he still loves them. That's how I am with Star Trek. It's my team and I stick with it through the ups, downs, and in-betweens. I am excited about the new movie. So, let's get to the pictures!

In this picture we get our first glimpse of the new bridge. At this point I don't really know what to think of it. It seems to be a fairly significant departure from the basic Matt Jeffries design that every bridge set has always stuck to. There are a couple of things I really like about what I see. The first is the light and color. This is definitely a return to a more colorful Star Trek. After having both dark uniforms and dark ship interiors on Enterprise, this is a welcome return. I am also glad to see the franchise move away from the "submarine warfare" aesthetic that has dominated the movies since The Wrath of Khan. What started as something new became a tired crutch.

Well, what about the characters we see in the shot? I love the posture of both Karl Urban and Chris Pine. I can look at them and immediately tell who they are. Zachary Quinto, as always, looks fantastic. And John Cho looks much more like Sulu than I imagined her ever could. Also, how awesome is it to see a return to women wearing miniskirts and go-go boots in Starfleet? No more of that "gender neutral" bullshit we saw in The Next Generation.

Johnson's Grade: B+

What is most striking to me about this picture is how age appropriate the characters look together. It is very obvious that Chekov is younger than everyone else and McCoy is older. Zoe Saldana is strikingly beautiful as Uhura and Chris Pine has a great presence as Kirk. There is no doubt just from observing their body language who is in charge. I'm still not too sure about Simon Pegg. I know I am not a part of the nerd herd that thinks everything that guy shits is gold. But I will reserve judgement until I see his performance. I am hoping he will win me over.

Johnson's Grade: A

Here we have our first good shot of Eric Bana as our Romulan villain Nero. I am a huge fan of the Romulans and feel, like many fans, that they are criminally underused. I really like that he is a classic Romulan without the forehead appliance that Michael Westmore added to the race in The Next Generation. The green lighting in the shot is in keeping with the general color the modern era assigned to the race. What I am not crazy about is just how much he looks like Shinzon. I think it's a big mistake to design a character that looks so much like the villain from the previous unsuccessful movie. But, this movie is being marketed heavily to the general public. I doubt many of them have ever even heard of Shinzon so it probably won't hurt anything. But, I would have preferred a completely traditional look. But again, I am hoping that Eric Bana will win me over with his performance.

Johnson's Grade: B-

There are more pictures but those three are the best and most revealing. I am legitimately excited to see the movie and to have my favorite fictional universe live again. I can boil any discussion I will have down to this brief bit of dialogue . . .

Johnson - "I think the new Trek movie is going to be great!"

Tony/Rob - "Aye. And if my grandmother had wheels she'd be a wagon."

Johnson - "Come come! Young minds, fresh ideas."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chris Thomas King - Co-Star of Kill Switch

So I was reading up on various people in Kill Switch and found out that Chris Thomas King, who plays Seagal's cop partner in the movie is a real life blues musician! Lawd Have Mercy! I thing Seagal is more into blues culture now than Asian culture. Only time will tell. Read all about Chris Thomas King right here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Steven Seagal is Kill Switch

Yesterday was a day of great importance. Tuesday October 7, 2008 saw the release of the latest DTV Steven Seagal movie, Kill Switch. I had purposely avoided reading Vern's review because I wanted to be surprised. What I got was another mind-boggling entry into the Seagal DTV canon. Where do I even begin? Lawd Have Mercy!

Kill Switch is the story of Memphis detective Jacob King and his relentless pursuit of not one but two serial killers. The first one we meet is Billy Joel Hill. This dude, in a very un-serial killer like fashion, has sewn a bomb into some chick's chest and the bomb squad is going through the whole "what color wire do we cut?" dilemma that anyone who's ever seen a movie is familiar with. In order to find out which color wire will disable the bomb, Jacob King beats the shit out of Hill. Now I don't mean he gives him a typical Seagal ass-whipping. This is a brutal beating. As the movie goes on, the brutality is what sets Jacob King apart from every other Seagal character we have ever seen. Well, eventually King throws Hill out of a window and the woman is saved. Only later on, we find out that Hill survived his fall and was released from prison because the police used excessive force. Really? You think?

If you've seen any of Lord Steven's more recent DTV titles, then you know he has become quite fond of using some kind of Cajun accent. Well, in Kill Switch it's thicker than ever. He says his new trademarked phrase "Lawd Have Mercy!" five times by my count. That alone is worth the price I paid for the movie. Also, Seagal manages to include another great love of his into the movie heavily, blues music. The soundtrack has blues music, there are numerous scenes in blues clubs, hell, it even takes place in Memphis. Lawd Have Mercy!

Anyway, the other serial killer he is trying to catch is named Lazereus. He's a mix of the Zodiac killer, the killer from Seven, and Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs. Now, would you be surprised if I told you that there is a third serial killer in the movie? Well, there is. Except, this one is from the past of Jacob King. Every once in a while, King has flashes of memories that appear as Avid Farts. In these avid fart memories, we see a young King and what appears to be his brother. King sees some ominous looking serial killer guy murder his brother. I guess that's why he tracks serial killers for a living now. All we can do is speculate since he never talks about it and it never really adds anything to the movie except minutes to the running time.

I won't bore you with any more plot details because it's a pain in the ass to recap all this shit. Let's get to the fights and the ending. There are two fights in bars in Kill Switch. The stuntman isn't as obvious as he is in other Seagal DTV movies. The problem is in the editing. All of the fights are edited via numerous small jump-cuts. And it's not just that the scenes cut frames going forward, but they will suddenly jump backwards, then forwards, then backwards again. It ends up creating an incomprehensible mess. The editor must have thought he was on to the next big thing. My advice is to not get too clever with this editing bullshit. Before computer based editing you couldn't do this shit. It makes me wish movies still had to be edited on flatbed editors. Just keep it simple and let us see the action.

I would be remiss to not talk about Jacob King's brutality. In order to find out information about a dead prostitute, King asks her pimp some questions. When he refuses to answer, King puts the guy's mouth on the bar and starts beating on the back of his head until the dude's teeth are knocked out. Sounds like a pretty standard police interrogation technique to me. It's pretty brutal to watch. But, the comforting thing is the pimp shows up moments later, shooting at King in an alleyway, and he miraculously has all his teeth! Also, once King tracks down Lazereus, they have a really long fight in a bar. Once King has the upper hand, he beats the shit out of the guy with a club. He literally attempts to break as many of the guy's bones as he can. Jacob King isn't fuckin' around. Lawd have Mercy!

OK, so King also lives with this cute Asian chick who is also a cop. She walks around the house in short silk robes all the time but King never shows any interest in her sexually. He is too immersed in his serial killer tracking to even look at her, much less fuck her. Well, eventually she gets killed by the aforementioned Billy Joel Hill. King finds the dead girl and Hill in his house. He proceeds to beat the shit out of Hill and then kill him. The thing is, it's not out of rage over the girl's death. It's more like a personal pride issue. This all seems strange right? Just hang on.

When King's Memphis PD partner and some hot federal agent show up to King's house and find Hill dead, King is nowhere to be found. He has left a note explaining that his work is done. Notes with voice-over are a common plot element in the DTV era. Now we see that Jacob King has returned to his beautiful Russian wife and his two children! The movie ends with her taking her top off and King closing the door implying they are about to fuck. Nowhere in the movie was there even the slightest hint of him wanting to return to some family we had never met. But, I guess this explains why he wasn't interested in the Asian girl who lived with him.

Let me try and piece this together in my mind from the clues I was given in the movie. Jacob King saw his brother murdered by a serial killer when he was a kid. From that moment on he dedicated his life to catching serial killers. At some point in the past, he left his wife and kids to join the Memphis Police Department (Because I guess Memphis is a hotbed of serial killing). He lets a sexy female police officer live with him but they keep it strictly friends. He then kills one serial killer, arrests another and finally feels vindicated. He then returns home to his family, mission accomplished. There doesn't appear to be any meaning to the title, Kill Switch. That's OK. In the DTV era, titles are pretty meaningless.

So did I like the movie? Hell yes! It was crazy Seagal DTV fun. It is a step backwards from Urban Justice and Pistol Whipped. But, if you enjoy the insane, unpredictable nature of movies like Today You Die, you will definitely enjoy this one. Lawd Have Mercy!