Monthly Archives: September 2008

Whoop History: Nicolas Cage and Ghost Rider

by Irma Arkus

Recent years have not been too kind to Nicolas Cage. Of all cringe inducing experiences, the least forgivable one would be none other than Ghost Rider.

Ironically, Cage is an honest fan of the world of comics, and was heavily fighting for years to be cast in it. I remember years ago, when HiSciFi was in its infancy, Andrew snorted next to me as rumours of Nicolas Cage as Ghost Rider, and (wait for it!) Superman started to trickle.

Our responses to Cage as Superman were cruel and childish, and perhaps appropriate at the time, as aging Cage had a growing pot belly, Botox was still not wiping the brows off market, and the top of his head was still “unrestored.” Andrew had a tough time imagining a Super-Hick substitute for a tightly wound Christopher Reeves wrapped in lycra.

A live-action Ghost Rider film was unimaginably complicated to make a few years ago. The closest thing to it was a rendition of Spawn, which, even though made for an entertaining introduction of CG on film, still did not provide for the kind of film quality that would leave us breathless. But things changed quickly, and the concept grew.

The first renderings of Ghost Rider were swiftly turned away as computer animation technology kept on improving, and speedily. Once the aesthetics of depicting a dude with a flaming skull on a motorcycle got one step closer to reality, the work began.

Of course, by the time 2007 came about, and Cage’s face was literally run through photoshop grind, the idea and the look still seemed dated, the storyline fell short, and all together as viewers, we all felt cheated.

Ghost Rider was truly an abominable cinematic experience. Cage’s altered face resembled a playdough pancake with too much addition of Hair-For-Men, and excessive Botox, and not just the regular Nicole Kidman brand, but CG Botox too.

The storyline was equally bad, as incoherent romance between Ghost Rider and his long lost girlfriend, played by delicious Eva Mendes, only served as a reminder that Hollywood sucks and that these actors are making too much dough to play pretend.

I cried a little when watching Ghost Rider. I cried myself asleep, during the middle of the film. The girl sitting next to me sat in awe, mouth half-open drifting with popcorn, only to turn around and say “this is a real trailer trash gem here! My folks at St. John are gonna love this stuff.” Then I cried some more.

Since then, Cage has made some really bad acting choices. His recent work has been predicated on earnings rather than quality. What started with Ghost Rider, quickly degenerated into a string of heart-breakers: Next, National Treasure, National Treasure II: Book of Secrets, Bangkok Dangerous, and now Knowing.

Even though “Knowing” is directed by Alex Proyas, who is responsible for directing some great and imaginative productions, including “Dark City,” “The Crow,” and the less likeable “I, Robot,” I still hesitate. Why? Because for one, it stars Nicolas Cage.

You need more? Knowing also has a really bad poster. And a really cheesy trailer.

Who knows, maybe the story of Nicolas Cage as Ted Myles, a teacher who turns into a defender of Rose Byrne, as he deciphers a detailed doomsday prophecy is great. I can’t really vouch for its quality until I finally watch it.

But in my defense, I would also like to present you with following fact: there is a plan to make “Ghost Rider 2.” Nuff said.

Update: Witchblade, The Movie

by Irma Arkus

BD Horror News leaked news that Witchblade, currently in pre-production for 2010 release, directed by Michael Rymer, is not only planned as a feature film, but one that will quickly experience a sequel.

Apparently, Top Cow and Arclight are working on an immediate sequel. One that may be simultaneously shot, a la Lord of the Rings.

I am excited. Not only does Witchblade provide for some jolly good times, but may give us that extra dose of estrogen I’ve been craving on the big screen. Now we just need to wait for casting….

HiSciFi – EFF and Lawsuit Against Bush Administration

This week we are joined by Danny O’Brian of Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) who gives us the goods on EFF’s upcoming lawsuit naming most of the George W. Bush cabinet as involved with illegal surveillance and wiretapping.

That, and we give you the goods on the newest of TV Fall shows – Knight Rider, worth it or not? Fringe, and Stargate Atlantis. Hold on to your hats, and do send us your love.

Irma Arkus
HiSciFi – EFF and Lawsuit Against Bush Administration

VCon Preview

Susan and Mike Walsh, aka the Walshes, are giving us the preview of VCon this year – we are about to be stricken with a flood of writers, and volunteers in crazy outfits, reciting their favorite lines from Buffy,
calling upon Cthulhu, and singing those fave Filk numbers.

For more information you can check out the VCon website and see what they have prepared for this year.

I would like to point out that VCon is unlike a lot of other conventions, and I guess we can wax poetics about it, but realistically it is a smaller convention of both nerds, and professional nerds.

One thing I always found it to be is an excellent source of (protein?) resources for budding writers. Whether you’re into writing for TV, film, or developing your new horror, fantasy or sci-fi book, VCon is really the place to be. For one, many guests of honour, mostly and usually writers of highest caliber (the ones who “made it”!) are actually willing to spend an enormous amount of time and effort sitting close to your smelly self, and giving you pointers on how to earn some dough and get somewhere with your wits and talents alone!

This may not seem like much until you check out who’s who of VCon this year. For one, my favorite Can-lit figure, Robert J. Sawyer, is a constant presence at VCon. Even though he threatens every year that the funds are limited, he keeps on coming back, which means that either he has a mistress we don’t know about, or he really digs the atmosphere.

This year, Kelley Armstrong and Patrick Rothfuss are joined by a horde of authors, some of which are even going to use the opportunity of this strange Surrey, BC gathering to launch a book or two.

We are talking Don DeBrandt, Lynne Fahnestalk, Eileen Kernaghan,Robert J. Sawyer, Lisa Smedman and wait for it….Jeanne Robinson & Spider Robinson!

Another welcome (and super-cool) addition is the appearance of Dr. Jaymie Matthews who will be bringing the strange world of science to this year’s VCon. There is a rumour that even intelligent design will be addressed during workshops – this smells like trouble, and fun.

There is even something to sweat about – training with swords (and those things will cut you and kill you) and even something about Electric Fencing?!!! Whatever that is, I just hope it makes noise.

This year’s VCon is even getting cozy with the kinky side of life with “Bedroom RolePlaying for Beginners.” Which reminds me that I should dust off that Princess Leia costume.

All in all, this small, delicate flower we call VCon is going to be a party. The best part is – we are broadcasting live directly from the party, so in other words, HiSciFi will be VCon…for your ears.

Lesser Intelligence = More Children

by Irma Arkus

Idiocracy had a valid point, apparently. According to GNXP, it seems to be so – women with lesser vocabularies seem to have greater number of children.

EFF Sues NSA, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush & co.

by Irma Arkus

EFF has filed a lawsuit against NSA and current administration membership, including President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and others who have participated in an illegal en-masse domestic surveillance.

“In addition to suing AT&T, we’ve now opened a second front in the battle to stop the NSA’s illegal surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and hold personally responsible those who authorized or participated in the spying program,” said Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston.

The case involves a small room in San Francisco used by NSA to conduct mass surveillance illegally by its direct link to fibre-optic network.

For full coverage of EFF’s case against Bush administration read more here.

Stay tuned for audio coverage – our interview with EFF.

Royal Society Identity Crisis: Update

by Irma Arkus

Latest update on Royal Society Identity Crisis involving Reverend Professor Michael Reiss is that he submitted his resignation from his chair as Director of Education of Royal Society.

Reiss’ resignation has a wide political impact as it brought the issue of creationism and education to UK. Reiss apparently, did not necessarily prescribe to the opinion that Creationism should be introduced into the classrooms, however, his statement indicated that teachers should be allowed to discuss concepts of Creationism and Intelligent Design in a classroom environment, which, considering the lack of framework for educational environment, opens to doors to teaching religous concepts instead of evolutionary biology.

Colleagues of Reiss have expressed their concerns when hiring of Reiss, a reverend, took place, describing the situation of handing directorial position of such prestige to a deeply religious man, as “pythonesque.”

Monty Python sketches aside, the resignation of Prof. Reiss may have resulted in a short term appeasement of members of the science community, but has opened the European public to the greater political schism between religious and scientific communities.

Galileo where art thou?!!!

Royal Society in Crisis

by Irma Arkus

Reverend / Professor Michael Reiss, the Royal Society’s Director of Education, is also a religious man, one who has declared that Creationism disguised as Intelligent Design is a desirable “theory” to explore in classroom setting. As a result of his statements, the Royal Society is facing a tremendous crisis, one which Richard Dawkins addressed today in his letter to New Scientist:

“Scientists divide into two camps over this issue: the accommodationists, who ‘respect’ creationists while disagreeing with them; and the rest of us, who see no reason to respect ignorance or stupidity,” writes Dawkins.

It seems that the days of languishing in apathy while “respecting” religious fantasies are over.

Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society, has publicly requested Reiss to step down: “Creationism, Intelligent Design etc. have no place in a science classroom discussion and should not be legitimized as acceptable alternative theories to evolution by anyone who claims to be a scientist. Ill-conceived opinions by a representative of the RS will only encourage those teachers, both scientists and otherwise, with a creationist agenda to speak about it to their students in the classroom. We would urge that Professor Reiss step down, or be asked to step down, as soon as possible,” writes Rees.

Now that chicken have come to roost, so the speak, people like Dawkins and P.Z. Myers are becoming faces of both political and scientific leadership. Question begs though, why Reiss attempted to use his position to pursue his own religious beliefs after so many years of being a member in this important professional association?

Read full letter by Dawkins here.

George Takei’s Wedding Bells

by Irma Arkus

Congratulations to George Takei, who yesterday married his partner of 21 years, Brad Altman!

Oh Shatner, Where Art Thou?

by Irma Arkus

SciFi Scanner released an interview with J.J.Abrams revealing the reasons for obvious lack of William Shatner in the new Star Trek film.

Abrams politely and rather diplomatically explains that Shatner has initially been very much a part of the creative process as they “actually had written a scene with him in it that was a flashback kind of thing.” The idea though was dropped as the scene “didn’t quite feel right.”

Why didn’t it feel right? Because, suprise, suprise, Shatner was “very vocal that he didn’t want to do a cameo. We tried desperately to put him in the movie, but he was making it very clear that he wanted the movie to focus on him significantly.”

As far as appeasement of Trek fans goes, J.J. Abrams explains that dealing with fans is kind of crazy and inconsistent. One segment of fans demanded some face time from their favorite man-diva, Shatner. But then again, “a lot of the people who were proclaiming that he must be in this movie were the same people saying it must adhere to canon.” To which he asks “Well, his character died on screen. Maybe a smarter group of filmmakers could have figured out how to resolve that.”

So there. No Shatner in the movie. I will really miss him, because Shatner is fun on screen. Then again, I really look forward to seeing an entirely different version of Enterprise gracing the screen.