Monthly Archives: June 2006

Spider-Man 3 Teaser Trailer (w/Superman Returns)

Spiderman 3 Teaser PosterApple – Trailers – Spider-Man 3

Oh, man. I can’t wait for this. I’m impressed by how many effects shots they already have done, and it’s still a year before it comes out.

Word is that this trailer will be playing with Superman Returns, so I should be seeing it on the big screen within the week!

Review: The Island

Michael Bay takes his crash, slam, bang frenzied filmmaking and applies it to Logan’s Run.

Okay, it’s not quite that useless, but if I’m falling asleep during action sequences you know there are too many action sequences. Seriously. I didn’t think I’d ever say that, but he drove me to it.

And what the heck was with that big “R” logo scene. That was the breaking point for me. If they come out of that alive, let alone unscratched, you know they are in no danger whatsoever, physics means nothing, and you just need someone to nudge you when the next plot point comes up in about 5 or 10 minutes. That point may be only about 2 minutes long though, so you’ll get plenty of rest watching this thing.

It’s a shame, because I really like the concept. I just couldn’t fathom why it wasn’t about an hour shorter.

A dearth of special features, as well, made this one disappointing DVD.

Traffic jams

People need to learn how to drive.

I was in a traffic jam this morning in the right lane of the highway. Dead stop. I was not happy.

Meanwhile, in the left lane, people were moving at about 20-30mph. This confused me. After a few minutes I found a break in the left lane traffic and I managed to move over and get going. Then I finally reached a sign that described the problem: “Left Lane Closed 2 miles.”

Now I finally understood the stupidity of your average driver. These people in the right lane were sitting in a 3.5 mile one lane parking lot because they didn’t understand the simple rule “Use both lanes to merge point.” As I travelled down the left lane, from time to time someone would stop to try to merge into the right lane—still over a mile from the merge point. Whatever… that’s just one less person driving slow in front of me.

Eventually, I approached the merge point, alone in the left lane. I matched the speed of the right lane traffic (moving finally, albeit slowly), put on my turn signal, and tried to find a spot to merge. The car I was going to merge in front of decided he wanted to be first and sped up to get in front of me. That’s fine, I figured, I’d just get behind him. But then he slowed down right next to me, intentionally blocking me out. So I kept slowing down further, and he slowed as well, blocking me until I was almost on top of the cones. Apparently satisfied with himself, he continued, and I still got in behind him. After we got through the 20 feet of construction area, I pulled back into the left lane and passed him, and received a rather rude gesture from the driver (hidden from the kids in his back seat).

While I understand that he was most likely not in a great mood from sitting there in that traffic for so long, there are a few things that bother me about this.

  1. There was a backup over 3 miles long for a 20 foot stretch of single lane restriction.
  2. People voluntarily sat in that line when there was an alternative.
  3. I get flipped off because I was too smart to wait 15-20 minutes to move 3 miles.

Some people (including the guy in that car, probably) are going to say that I was rude for driving past all those people and “cutting in line.” After all, we’re all taught in school not to cut in line, right? To those people I say, nice sentiment, really wrong application.

I have no problem waiting my turn*. But I see no reason to sit there when there is an alternative. And if other people had done the same, there probably wouldn’t have been a 20 minute wait for the people in the right lane. Instead of me getting through almost immediately, there would have been maybe a 1/2 mile backup in both lanes and everyone would have gotten through with a minimal wait.

Actually, if people would truly be civil to each other and take turns, there would barely be a backup at all. Traffic would keep moving, slowly, because one lane wouldn’t have to stop to account for three people trying to get through in the other lane without a break.

So what conclusions can we draw from this?

a. People are rude.

b. People are stupid.

c. Stupid people don’t like to be proven stupid.


* okay, that’s not really true. It does bother me. But I am willing to endure it.

CNN Pipeline: A learning perspective, & Blogs in learning

Learning 2006-2005 Information – Free PodCasts Video – CNN Pipeline

I don’t have a subscription to CNN Pipeline, but from what I’m seeing here it appears to be really interesting technology with superb flexibility and most importantly, a user-based focus. Elliot’s challenge to incorporate this kind of interface into corporate intranets for knowledge sharing is a bit unrealistic at this point, but may be something some companies can shoot for (others will find it to be serious overkill).

Take note also of Elliot’s site. This seems to me to be a great use of a blog for learning content. He’s really incorporated different modes of learning (video, audio, and text), and is tying everything back to a live event, but everything is optional. You don’t need to have seen this stuff to get the full effect of the live event, and you don’t need the live event to appreciate and learn from the blog content.

What I don’t understand is why companies are not following this approach of using blogs to present integrated pre- and post-information with their courses (self-paced or instructor-led). This is a great method for supplying pre-work or updates. It just amazes me that it hasn’t really caught on.

Star Trek, Babylon 5 style: Concept pitch revealed

FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH | Bryce Zabel: Spaced Out: Hawking Colonies & Re-Booting Star Trek

Bryce Zabel (Dark Skies, Lois & Clark) and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5, Crusade, Jeremiah) were sitting around in 2004 talking about the poor turnout in the Star Trek franchise and came up with an idea to reinvigorate it. And they wrote it down. And now, with J.J. Abrams named as the head of the next proposed Star Trek offering, their ideas will never be filmed—so they’ve released their treatment proposal to the public.

They wanted to “re-imagine” the Original Star Trek—the same Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, but with more up-to-date situations, motivations, and relationships, and a cohesive story arc. It’s the same kind of idea that has been accomplished so well with Battlestar Galactica.

I was one of the ones who hated the idea of re-imagining Battlestar Galactica, and I now think it’s one of the best shows on TV, so I’m not going to dismiss a “re-imagining” idea out of hand. That’s not to say that it would be easy to see this kind of thing happen, but I’d at least give it a chance (if it were to get one).

(I did find it funny that in their listing of Universe A, they left out Star Trek: Insurrection. Am I the only person who thought that was a worthwhile movie? Certainly not the best, but I’d put it above Generations, for sure.)

Interesting stuff, anyway. I’m glad they released it.

Review: Beyond the Sea

I learned at least two things from this movie:

  1. Bobby Darin sang a much wider range of songs than I thought
  2. Kevin Spacey can sing

Actually, despite the unapologetic fictionalization of Darin’s life, I feel like I learned a lot about Bobby Darin. When I first started watching the movie, and it became obvious that an autobiographical movie within the biographical movie was going to be the narrative theme, I was really worried that it was going to come off as confusing, cheap, and campy — especially when the older Bobby started talking to the actor playing the younger Bobby in the nested movie, who became the “real” younger Bobby in the film proper. That even sounds confusing when I write it out. But in the end, I think Spacey (who took the role of actor, writer, and director, and performed all of the songs) created exactly the mood he intended. It was like watching a lounge act: mostly light-hearted (even the more somber parts had a rosy sheen), colorful, energetic, and always entertaining — but not necessarily deep. The film was obviously the work of a fan who wanted to honor Bobby.

And that was fine with me. It was nice to see a biography that left me feeling happy. Plus, the music was great! I didn’t know Darin did anything after the early 60’s. My wife and I both really liked (and had not previously heard) “Simple Song of Freedom” performed during his short comeback in the early 70’s.

Of course, due to the film’s style I’m actually not positive the comeback took the form I saw – it could have been a fictional account for the sake of the story – but I know he wrote and most likely performed the song.

Overall, I thought Spacey’s performance (musically) was excellent. It was obvious he had a fondness for Bobby’s style. While his acting wasn’t quite as nuanced or intense as some of his other roles, the movie didn’t call for that, so I give him good marks there as well (as usual).

Three stars out of five. Add another half-star if you’re a big band/lounge fan.

Heroes preview > Heroes
“They thought they were like everyone else… until they woke with incredible abilities.”

When I first heard of this show, I figured it would be an X-Men rip-off, similar to Mutant X. After having watched the preview, though, I really think this has the potential to be a good series. It seems to lean more toward the take of M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, though not with his trademark quiet mysteriousness.

From what I’ve seen, it looks like these will be people from all over the world who are brought together to prevent a catastrophe forseen by a painter who paints future events. And it’s not the “secret identity, pastel underoos with a cape” kind of show. People get hurt (one guy has his hands cut off in the preview!). They seem to deal with this stuff pretty seriously, which is exactly the right way to play it. No camp at all. This is why I think this show will succeed where many other superhero shows have failed. They have taken their cue from the success of Smallville (though that one is a bit heavy with teen angst), and movies like Batman Begins, X-Men, and Spiderman.

An important difference here is that these are all new characters while those in the mentioned stories are established comic book characters. With the comic book characters, while realism is important, it’s easier to stretch the suspension of disbelief a little farther because they already have a long-standing popularity and audiences will be a little more forgiving. With new characters, like these, set in a real world scenario, realism will play an even bigger role. I doubt there will be people on this show with outrageous powers like controlling the weather or multiple powers like Superman.

I’m really looking forward to seeing this show and hope it plays out as well as the preview.

The Dead Zone: Back from the dead

Slice of Scifi – Science Fiction TV & Movie News, Interviews & more » “The Dead Zone” Breaking News

According to the shows creator/producer, Shawn Piller, the season starting next Sunday will not be the final season, as previously stated. Plans have already been made for two more seasons.

This is welcome news. I really like the show and they are taking it in an interesting direction. I’d hate to see them cut short the storyline.

Review: The Legend of Zorro

This wasn’t nearly as bad as the box office, and critics, led me to believe.

Was it as good as “The Mask of Zorro”? No. Not really. But it was a pretty good popcorn action flick.

The story just took too long to develop, and the business with the Pinkertons was a bit stupid, in my opinion, but the fight scenes were fun, as were one or two of the one-liners. Nice, non-threatening, escapism entertainment. No tour-de-force, but hey, you gotta do something while you’re eating that popcorn.

I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars. Worth the price of admission.