My history with Conan the Barbarian is a bit of a personal one. In addition to instilling morals, saying, "Please," and "Thank you," and all the other values a parent tries to teach their children, another important lesson that my father taught me was what is and isn't the way Conan the Barbarian should be. Back when I was a youngin', there was a cartoon on called "Conan the Adventurer", not to be confused with the live-action show of the same name. One Sunday morning while my father was flipping through channels, we came upon the opening titles of the cartoon.
"This is isn't Conan," my father stated.
Hey everyone, in case ska_baron didn't spread the word, I'm back!
And what better way to celebrate my return...again...than my first official movie-related piece since my hiatus?
Yep...it's Ken B.'s Big-Time Movie Preview, Summer 2011 Edition. Join us, won't you?
A lot of good movies come in threes. For Example, Lord of the Rings, the Matrix films, and Pirates in the Caribbean. As we were walking into the theater, and I asked my wife how many good fourth movies she could think of. Her answers were Harry Potter and Episode IV. We disqualified episode IV since it was actually the first movie in the series. You can think of just as many series that really should have stopped after three movies. Star Wars, the old Superman films, Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Alien, and others.
I am a huge Alien fan. The original is probably my favorite movie of all time. None of the sequels were very good, but the fourth one, directed by a french music video director, was a complete embarrassment. When they announced that McG, who is a music video director I have never heard of, was directing Terminator Salvation, that tempered my expectations a little bit. In addition to videos, McG also directed Charlie's Angels, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, and We Are Marshall- three undeniable piles of crap.
So despite the incredibly good trailers out there, I tried to walk into Terminator Salvation expecting disappointment. I walked out happy and anxiously awaiting the 5th film in the series. T4: Salvation isn't perfect but it is a good summer action flick and captures some of the compelling themes of the series very well.
Did the new Fox show "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" crap all over the franchise (and its fans?) Or is this a potential diamond in the rough that is the Writer's Strike? And is Summer Glau hot enough to melt a T-1000? Read on to find out!
Too much more of this, and I'm changing the name of the show to "John Connor: 90210".
Make up your damn mind, show. I can't make fun of you if you don't stay terrible.
Major props to them naming this episode after one of my favorite games, "Queen's Gambit".
Wait, they're talking about Chess?
Oh...and some SHOCKING casting that is crazy ironic, and an announcement about future reviews of this show. Join me, won't you?
If all you had ever trained for, if all you ever believed in, if all you thought worthy and honorable was now obsolete, if you were given a chance to once again be of use, to be that which you were born to be, to rise up in sea of poseurs and declare that you were a true believer, that you were one of the true hard core, even if meant certain death, would you take it? This is a great action movie with marvelously staged fight scenes that goes deeper and asks these very questions. Did I mention there are samurai? Did I mention that they are totally bad ass? There are samurai and they are totally bad ass. Kirosawa has got nothing on Takashi Miike.
Netflix Status: Currently Streaming
We all know the titles of Jules Verne's famous works; Journey to the Center of the Earth, Around the World in 80 Days, Dick Sand a Captain at Fifteen. Okay, you probably haven't heard of that last one but you certainly know 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. I would bet, though, that I'm not alone in never having read one, 20,000 Leagues included and yet I know the basic story line. Crazy captain has a sub that gets eaten by an octopus. This made for TV version of the story does have the captain and a sub devouring sea monster but it focuses more on the love triangle between Nemo, the daughter of a scientist, and a harpooner even though the motivations and character of Nemo are far more intriguing. This movie isn't going to win any awards. The female lead, Julie Cox who you may remember for her role as the Empress in The Never Ending Story III, is as wooden as a cigar store Indian. The actors playing the professor and Nemo turn in passable performances. The special effects are cheap and I get a laugh every time they show a view out a porthole the ship appears to be grounded on a coral reef. The sub also suffers from "Tardis Syndrome" in that exterior shots make it look no bigger than a normal ship but it would have to be the size of a modern day aircraft carrier to accomodate the vast interior. The director, Michael Anderson, is a veteran of pulp and sci-fi stories. He did Around the World in 80 Days and my beloved Logan's Run. He did this near the end of his career and perhaps it is his fading touch that keeps this from being utter dreck. As it is, it is merely worth a shrug and quickly forgotten.
Now available on Starz on Demand
40 years after the original summer of love we are now witnessing the Fortress: Ameritrash Year of Love, evidenced by all the new spawns popping up here at F:AT. That's kind of why you're reading a crappy front page article by King Put rather than a good article by Barnes, Matt, Drake, Sag or somebody else. The rest of the staff is too busy birthing babies and dealing with hormonal wives to write anything decent. Well, Uba threatened to post some really embarrassing stories from my childhood unless I wrote a couple of hundred words. After hearing about how Tiger Woods lost his endorsement, I was kind of worried that if some of those stories got out, I would lose all my endorsements from being the greatest Caylus Player in the World. Even worse, I might even lose my invite to the Gathering.
Luckily, it's the first week of 2010 as I write this, so I can write this bullshit. Here are the 9 biggest F:AT stories of 2009.
(Photo of Lego Ken who filled in for Ken for most of 2009)
Some games, they're pretty inoffensive looking. Everybody loves Monopoly when they start out playing board games, but what of those board games that although presented as a fun group activity, just creep you out a little? Maybe not immediately, but when you connect it with stuff you've read in your life about godawful stuff that was real? Or maybe it just presents the dark and disturbing in a way that tries to be funny but in the end you're not sure how black you like your humour or without any sugars. These are the five darkest board games I've come across, for reasons that will become clear soon enough.
Back when the hardcover edition first came out, my local comic shop ran a "Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back" special on Booster Gold: 52 Pick-Up. It certainly caught my attention, but I had a few questions first:
Do I need to have any previous knowledge about Booster Gold?
Do I need to have read 52 to fully understand what's going on?
Are you serious about the money back guarantee?
The answers to the questions were, "No," "No," and "Well, it's more that we give you store credit, but yes, we're serious," respectively.
It was enough to sell me a copy, so I hunkered down the cash, took it home, and that's as far as I got with it. I think it came out roughly the same time that the Sinestro Corps saga was going on, and that story took up most of my comic reading time at the moment. Time went on and 52 Pick-Up got buried beneath the veritable mountain of other comics and graphic novels that I read. That is, until last week, when I found the book, appropriately enough, on the bottom of a stack of graphic novels I've had accumulating for some time. If I didn't like it, I knew I'd be stuck with it at this point, but I figured it was time to see what the fuss was all about.
This is not going to be an impartial, unbiased review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Better than Caylus.
More money than most game shops make.
I really like getting these articles out before Oscar nominations come out so it doesn’t look like I’m picking popular movies necessarily. Like say last year I had picked Slumdog Millionaire as my best movie of the year (I did not), if I had released that after the Oscars were out, it would be anti-climatic or expected. If I release the article before Slumdog was even nominated, then mad respect for me no?
With Oscar less than two weeks away, and my chances of seeing 2010 movies greatly diminishing what with my new hobby of changing poopie diapers, I thought it was high time to make my best of 2010 list before the Academy steals my thunder. Normally, I like getting this out before nominations come out, but the arrival of my first, Emily, trumped all else.
In this installment of Monsterpiece theatre, I try to call out the best (and worst) of 2011 so you and the missus will know what to Netflix next and then praise me to death the next day on F:AT cuz you got smooches from your good taste in movies.
Also, Ken and I have made out to ALL OF THESE
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