Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Bad Asses
Okay, I'm not very good at this.

The movie RED surprised me!  First, I didn't know that it was a comic book.  Second, it was probably one of the best movies I've seen this year!  And the press didn't even make a big deal about it.  If you haven't seen it, I suggest getting it today!  It is full of wonderful, talented actors!  The dialog, the writing, its just hilarious and very well done!

Its a story about all these former agents who are now retired.  Bruce Willis' character however is marked RED: Retired. Extremely. Dangerous.  I won't go into too many details, but suddenly Bruce is running for his life because someone is trying to kill him.  He ends up kidnapping the women he loves to keep her safe, getting his ole' buddies back together.  This is just an awesome movie!  I'm surprised they never got this bunch of actors together before!

Also:  Karl Urban

I know I've seen him before, but my husband and I had to look him up.  You know a good actor is a good actor when he isn't type cast and you have to look him up on imdb and find out that he's been in some awesome stuff!  And he does a dang good job at all his roles!

1. Star Trek as Bones-awesome!
2. Bourne Supremacy-the killer who get's Bourne's girl
3. Lord of the Rings!!   What! - Eomer!  No way!  You hardly recognize him with the long blonde hair and armor!
4. Xena
5. Okay Doom and Pathfinder were both horrible movies, but you get my point.

This guy was in RED as well, and he's just so good that you can't believe the movies he's been in, because he's so good at acting way a spectrum of characters!

Anyway, go see RED!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Do Not Sully My Beloved

The technology is so advanced that it can make "woosh" sounds in a vacuum!

Real science fiction bores most people if they're ever exposed to it. I'm not talking about the space fantasy stuff like Star Wars or the Space Opera stuff like the grotesquely under-appreciated Firefly/Serenity. I'm talking about stories which revolve around actual science.

True science fiction does not need space ships, extraterrestrial life, or even super-spiffy technologies in it in order to qualify as science fiction. In truth, those things can sometimes detract from the quality of the story.

Being true science fiction isn't a boolean, true/false sort of thing, either. There are shows with a little bit of science in their stories. There are shows with a lots of science in them.

Old-fashioned Godzilla movies may be considered marginal science fiction because they deal with matters under the purview of biology and sometimes paleontology or zoology but the involvement of the science is minuscule.

Uber-mega-hit Avatar was a little more science fiction because Cameron went to great lengths to involve engineers, astrophysicists, and other smart people in as much of the film as possible. However, the science had very little to do with the actual plot so it's more just an adventure story garnished with science fiction sprinkles.

Bold, dataless Ishpeckian claim: The degree to-which science fiction is good is the degree to-which actual science is involved with the story, the drama, the suspense, or the spiffiness factor.

Extra terrestrial or Civil War POW?

The reason why Star Wars prequels are bad is mostly because George Lucas writes like an alcoholic, Jr. High drop-out but also because he wouldn't be able to differentiate science from witchcraft.

Though this gets me thinking: Just once, I'd like to meet a Wiccan quantum physicist...

The sad truth about cinema is that it is terribly deprived of true, well-crafted science fiction. I'd like to say I don't understand why movie makers have so little faith in our ability to consume quality entertainment ... but I'd be lying if I did.

Because movies epic-fail, whenever I need a good science fiction fix, I must take refuge in text -- and especially the text of Isaac Asimov. Though he's no Victor Hugo, if you were to ask me "Is Asimov the greatest science fiction author in the history of the world?" I would answer: "Does Greek mythology depcit a lot of poor role-models for your kids?" and then say "yes."

Film adaptations of Asimov's books tend to favor the traditions of movies more than the traditions of Asimov.

Pew! Pew! Pew!

Will Smith's I, Robot movie was... a Will Smith movie. It did nothing to capture the computer science (see that? SCIENCE!) aspect of the I, Robot stories as written by Asimov... it just left us with a more Steve-Jobs-inspired spin on the Terminator theme.

Robin Williams did alright in Bicentennial Man -- if you're in to movies all about atmosphere and copulating with microwave ovens. It fell more in line with the other tradition of SciFi (not to be confused with True Science Fiction) writing: Horrendously overbearing social commentary. Not that I have anything against social commentary, per se, but you don't go to McDonald's to get your oil changed and you don't go to Asimov stories to reflect on gay marriage legislation. Also: Screw Logan's Run.

I want a good science fiction movie that excites me as much as Asimov novels do. Last time I tried to be excited about a movie, I ended up watching The Last Airbender. Seeing how brutally Hollywood trampled my heart, I'm totally content to watch people NOT attempt science fiction --- especially if it happens to be the greatest work of one of my greatest heroes. As much as I'd enjoy seeing a good science fiction story on screen -- especially one as epic to the awesometh power as Foundation -- I know better than to think it could end not badly.

Roland Emmerich must hate me.

If you haven't read Foundation, you might want to see a doctor about that. It is one of mankind's greatest accomplishments. It also happens to be about mankind's greatest accomplishments.

Where some Science Fiction tries to lock itself into the madness of quantum mechanics, cosmology, relativity, economics, chemistry, and all the engineering tasks related thereto, Foundation goes straight for the root of all things nerdily awesome: It's a story about math.

Sure, there are space ships and even epic space battles in it but those really are incidental to the story of math being the most powerful force in geopolitical conflict... (cosmopolitical? Remember, kids, you read that term here first).

When Roland Emmerich, sire of 2012, The Day After Tomorrow, that abominable Godzilla movie, and Independence "Let's Make Ishy Cry Himself To Sleep" Day tries to make his little Foundation movie, what's going to focus on? The awesome math winning by sheer force of Just True or the pew-pew-pew-layz0rz making splodies happen?

Sure, you might think that the original Foundation would make for a really boring movie and... you may be right. Genuine nerds are actually fascinated with things that other folks tend to use as sedatives. But most attempts to increase the common man's access to nerdy things has resulted in that nerdy thing losing its charm. Don't believe me? You should.

Making a movie based on Foundation would undoubtedly sully it. Trust me: There is psychohistoric math on this one. Roland Emmerich doing a Foundation movie would be like using pages of the Koran as toilet paper while dressed as a Hitler wearing KKK robes on a float in a gay pride parade in the Deep South and screaming "America deserves to be destroyed and Wiccans practice witchcraft!"