Monthly Archives: October 2008

Conan, the Movie

by Irma Arkus

Long awaited sequel to Conan the Barbarian film franchise seems to have experienced a spurt of progress. The latest news have Brett Ratner attached to direct the film, with production aiming for a release date in 2010.

While many have envisioned the sequel entailing Arnold Schwarzenegger repeating his breakout role, delays in script approval, Schwarzenegger’s tie to Terminator franchise, and eventually his election to Governor of California state seat, have made his performance impossible. Fans of the films have had to eventually come to an overall conclusion that Schwarzenegger, despite his obvious linguistic advancements, would be too old to repeat the role of the young barbarian king.

Another personage considered for the role was Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, who has caught the eye of producers with his Scorpion King performance, but the evident change in Johnson’s career direction ensured that once again, the film would be delayed.

Attachment of Brett Ratner, as well as screenwriters Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, is a promising turn in events of bringing this beloved comic book character back on the screen.

Watching: Fringe Goes on Romantic Tangent and I Grow Bored With Slim Chicks

by Irma Arkus

Last night’s Fringe (season 1, episode 6 “The Cure”) brought on some more mysteriously exploding people who murder others in near vicinity just by looking at them! Okay, maybe not looking at them, but rather radically irradiating them until they bleed out of their eye sockets and succumb to the speedy demise. Another mystery for our heroes. Come on professor, you have 20 seconds to give us an answer to yet another unsolvable question!

(re:Photo: See Bishop stick a thermometer into the body above. This apparently explains everything!)

While there is a part of me that views this episode’s events with a bit of “this is a little too Scooby Doo” sentiment, my interest has been piqued by the obvious efforts to develop Olivia Dunham’s character. She shows us a bit of passion, and self-righteous anger and delivers a finale speech that quite frankly blew me away:

Dunham: “I understand that you think I acted too emotionally
and putting aside the fact that men always say that about
women they work with, I’ll get straight to the point:
I am emotional. I do bring it into my work. It’s what
motivates me. Helps me get into the headspace of our victims,
see what they’ve seen, even if I don’t want to, even if it
horrifies me, and I think it makes me a better agent. If you
have a problem with that, sorry. You can fire me, but I hope
you don’t.”

Pheew. Ladies and gentleman, I think I’m in love. What a show. Dunham is “stickin’ it to the man,” and for a minute there, she was everything I wanted in a great female protagonist. For a moment, she somehow managed to represent 51% of the population that wanted to kick some guy’s behind. In this case, that being a really annoying, uber-wealthy and thus automatically powerful and untouchable David Esterbrook M.D. (a la Dr. Frankenstein,) played marvelously by Chris Eigeman.

Be on the lookout for the budding seeds of romance between Dunham and Peter, which right now consists of a fragile friendship of two people who understand one another, feel kinship, and experience struggle on daily basis, yet distrust each other’s motives.

Peter also brings us further insights into Massive Dynamics, as we uncover (as does he) that he spent a lot of time with Nina Sharp as a child, a fact that eludes his memory. The creepy, yet semi-omnipotent Nina represents some sort of demonic force that Peter shouldn’t bargain with. The fact that he does, opens yet another door into things that will creep from Massive Dynamics into that small lab in Harvard basement grounds.

The one thing I am missing in this episode is the freak and gross out factor. I know that the whole “ewww, they’re bleeding from their eyes” scene is supposed to satisfy that urge to watch a bit of late night gore, but it doesn’t. I guess the bit where the kind, young waiter meets an untimely and messy end is supposed to make me feel sad, but it doesn’t either. Instead, the gore bits feel sanitized, familiar, as if we’ve seen it (and we probably have) a million times before, while the science this time around, felt rushed and nonsensical.

The one thing that did freak me out is the secondary cast. For some reason, this episode just brought home the point that actresses are starving themselves silly. All the female cast, most around 30+ years old, seemed emaciated and starved, as if they were picked up in a hurry from some other set that was just wrapping up a commemorative holocaust shoot, or even from some anorexics anonymous meeting. Frankly, it was far creepier staring at those fleshy, drawn out faces, than at the people dying in the episode’s opening. Not sure what the deal is, but, yes, the rest of the casting does feel a bit X-files-ish.

Also, I’d like add that watching Bishop at work is half the show, because he always has some of the most entertaining lines, and he happens to be *very mysterious.* This time around, however, he is set back a bit — it looks like other daisies needed some time to shine in the spotlight. So, until next week, our dear Bishop. Until next week.

Holding on for next week….

Classics: Eartha Kitt’s “I Want To Be Evil”

by Irma Arkus

This Halloween, we delight and celebrate, and amongst the movies that overjoy, horrify, and excite, we need to give you some tunes too: I present you with Eartha Kitt. Earthy, sexy, burleque-ish, “I Want To Be Evil.” Find out what a cat/catwoman with a voice of a callibri can do. Check out the video/song here.

Update: BioShock, the Movie

by Irma Arkus

Latest update on BioShock silver screen feature is that the casting is still not confirmed, but many are attached to the project. Film based on same name video game will be directed by Gore Verbinski, the man behind directorial efforts of the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. Script is written by John Logan, who previously wrote scripts for Gladiator, The Last Samurai, The Aviator, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Going Japanese: Cell Phone Use in Tub

by Irma Arkus

Turns out, Japanese ARE attached to their gadgets. According to AHN, recent polls reveal Japanese to have such profound attachment to their cell phones, that 41.2% percent of users admitted to using their mobiles in the bathtub.

Read more here, or just click on photo to get a full size kawaii image 🙂

TV Review: My Own Worst Enemy

by Irma Arkus

My Own Worst Enemy premiered last week. Did you know about this show? I didn’t. You didn’t either, as it seems to have premiered to a very, very small audience. According to ratings, noone got to see this show.

Starring “that guy who was cute in the 80’s,” Christian Slater, it merges what looks like a decent spy-thriller with a Whedon’s Dollhouse knock-off concept.

Slater is Henry, as well as Edward. One of them is merely a working stiff/family guy, who spends his days at the office, as well as mounted on shrink’s couch, as he has flashbacks, memories, and even memorabilia he cannot explain for. And then there is the other part of him, the part that contains a soul and heart of a highly skilled sociopath and a killing machine. Now, all of this may seem as a strech, because it is.

The concept of Henry / Edward sharing a body is preposterous, ridiculous, illogical and kind of weird too. But that said, the show’s premier was strangely entertaining, and the performance of Slater was meant to stretch his acting skills, which as we all know, is every actor’s dream.

The problem is truly with the plot. The sociopath volunteered for a program that allows the government to interfere with part of how he spends his day, building up this strange, family guy character. Henry knows about Edward, but Edward does not know about Henry. That is, until the whole thing starts to malfunction, and they both become keenly aware of one another.

The story has a strange and amusing quality, minus the whole: why would government invest in altering and eating away at valuable hours of one of the most active agents just to create a fumbling accountant-like creature who wastes his hours whining and spending cuddly times at home? I mean, the meek guy is apparently not even good at making love to his wife! How sad.

I guess the appeal was to get in touch with you guys, who can’t make love to your wives, and are secretly dreaming of getting off the couch and doing fantastic things a la James Bond. Of course, that premise is demeaning as most people I know do not lead such pathetic lives (apart from rabid fans of James Bond, I presume).

The other problem lies in “what happens next?” question. Most of the adventuring and the issues are already explored in the pilot. Unless this is one of the most ambitious writing staffs encountered, this may be not only one of those shows that people ignore during opening, but for a whole season (yawn)!

Either way, between all the science fiction shows that are ending their runs (*smirk* and goodbye my beloved BSG *yelp*), and the new shows that happened to have either desperate yet uber-wealthy teens or houseviwes, I would not mind another action drama in spirit of now long-buried Alias. However, the weak opening of the show, probably signals that we will not get to see much of anything on Slater, or of “My Own Worst Enemy” for quite some time.

Watch the pilot and decide.

HiSciFi – The Monocle & Jimmy Specs, live with Denis Faye

This week I present to you the genious of Denis Faye, writer and co-creator of The Monocle and Jimmy Specs. I was at first drawn to The Monocle and Jimmy Specs by the exquisite art of Rikki Niehaus, the other half of the creative team that brings us the beauty to nostalgia together with KAPOW and BAM! of a superhero team: The Monocle, who is a bored aristocrat determined to save the world and amuse himself at the same time, and Jimmy, an all-American creamy, honestly average good guy.

Denis Faye is not only a comic book writing fiend who, amongst other things, is working on getting us the background story of Studio 407’s Helix (one of those self-sacrificing comic book characters we always have a soft-spot for) but he is also currently working on a film, High Midnight.

High Midnight is directed by lovely Mary Lambert, who is better known for her cult horror flicks which include the memorable “Pet Sematary.” The film is supposed to quench the thirst for *more vampires* and *more cowboys*!!! That’s right, it’s time to see what happens when vampires immigrate to North America.

Stan Winston Studios are providing the special effects, which means that this production will be extra delicious. And the cherry on top? Well, let’s just say that the casting includes Thomas Kretschmann, William Baldwin, and…wait for it…Ted Raimi!

So, tune in, and don’t forget to send your comments to
HiSciFi – The Monocle & Jimmy Specs, live with Denis Faye

US Socialism…At Last!!! – FCC Considering National Wireless Internet

by Irma Arkus

Today we caught a whiff of FCC finally considering introduction of a free national wireless Internet service.

FCC engineers issued a report concluding that the idea of wireless Internet should indeed may belong to realm of utilities, meaning that its wireless spectrum auctions will go to the highest bidder who will also ensure to offer free, national, wireless internet services. Auctions are estimated to begin at the end of 2009.

Previously auctioned spectrum has reaped high revenues, as T-Mobile paid approximately $4 billion for a set of frequencies.

Thus far, the players in the spectrum auctions have deterred investigations into possibility of a nationalized free wireless internet services, by expressing concerns that these networks would “interfere” with their 3G applications. However, after testing by FCC engineers, it is evident that such interference would not occur.

The revenues that would result from spectrum ownership have not materialized despite the hype. Both European and North American telcos invested heavily into what many experts urged are utilities of the future. Instead of spectrum auctions, perhaps nationalizing part of spectrum and allowing entrepreneurs to use it freely in order to grow a new set of businesses with small capital investments, would ultimately prove to be more beneficial for the economy in the long run. But that’s just my wishful thinking.

For further reading check out “FCC & Google Make Out Session”.

Miller-Urey Experiment Revisited

by Irma Arkus

New York Times’ Kenneth Chang reports on efforts in University of Chicago, where Miller-Urey experiments conducted in 1950s proved that simple amino acids can be created under certain environmental conditions, thus proving that proteins necessary for creation of life can spontaneously and naturally arise, have been revisited.

No, they have not reenacted the Miller-Urey experiments, as much as revisiting original test-tubes from the 1953 experimentation, yielding surprising results. Analysis of hundred of vials filled with dried residues identified much higher quantity of amino acids than initially detected by Dr. Miller.

This adds to the scientific theories of how life on Earth began, as current theories indicate the required amino acids originated in space, as detected in meteorites, or bottom of the ocean, or better yet, warm tidal pools subjected to rains and volcanic steam.

Read rest of article here.

Nanotech: Buckyballs Stuck Together = Buckyball Paper

by Irma Arkus

What happens when you stick buckyballs and produce a film-like material? You apparently get something that has an appearance of a carbon paper, yet is 500 times stronger than steel when stacked, conducts electricity like copper, and disperses heat like brass. And according to PhysOrg, we can call it Buckypaper.

Amazing properties of Buckypaper are contributed to nanotubes, 1 gram of which when unrolled, can cover a field size of a stadium.

Buckypaper is still very expensive to manufacture, but represents the kind of new material that has the potential to transform automotive, aircraft, as well as electronic industry. Additional characteristic is that buckypaper acts as an electromagnetic shield.