Monthly Archives: April 2012

Here comes the sun.

On my old blog I included some interesting science facts of the day and would like to start that feature here. 

The largest known star, VY Canis Majoris (VY Cma), it is a red hypergiant, between 1800 and 2100 solar radii, 8.4–9.8 astronomical units in radius, 3.063 billion km or 1.7 billion miles in diameter, and about 1.5 kiloparsecs (4,900 light years, 4.6×1016 km or 2.9×1016 mi) distant from Earth. The star is so big that if our Sun were a ball 46 inches wide, Canis Majoris would be 1.3 miles wide.

Advertisements

Prometheus

Prometheus

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba

Director: Ridley Scott

Release Date: 8 June 2012

 Ridley Scott directed the very first Alien movie in 1979 that spawned a number of sequels and  returns to the franchise to direct Prometheus a movie that is a prequel to the 1979 movie…but it is not. Confused? So am I. Prometheus was originally going to be a direct prequel to the franchise but Scott reworked the script in order that this movie could be a stand alone project where viewers needn’t be familiar with the series in order to understand and follow this film.

 The Alien franchise has had its ups and downs. The first sequel to Alien was the 1986 movie Aliens directed by James Cameron famous for directing the first two Terminator movies and the blockbusters Titanic and Avatar. Many critics site Aliens as the best of the franchise. Two less successful sequels followed, Alien 3 in 1992 and Alien Resurrection in 1997. There have also been two crossover movies with the Predator franchise, Alien vs. Predator (also known as AVP) in 2004 and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (also known as AVP:R) in 2007, a movie filmed with so many dark scenes at night that it is virtually impossible to know what is happening on screen. The two crossover movies were panned by the critics and where not that popular with the fans.

 The basic story line of Prometheus is that it is set 30 years prior to the first film where humans have first contact with the race of giant beings discovered by the crew of the Nostromo in the 1979 original Alien movie. The trailer does look promising and I am looking forward to this movie.  

Madagascar 3 Europe’s Most Wanted

Madagascar 3 Europe’s Most Wanted

Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Frances McDormand

Director: Eric Darnell

Release Date: 8 June 2012

 I have really enjoyed the Madagascar movie, especially the second movie. Both my wife and daughter share the sentiment that Madagascar 2 has been the best of the series so far.

 Here is a synopsis of the movie from Wikipedia:

Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippopotamus set out to return to New York after escaping to Africa. Dependent on the mechanical know-how of the notorious chimpanzees and penguins, their plan inevitably goes awry and they find themselves stranded in Monte Carlo, where they try to escape Europe from animal control led by Captain Chantel DuBois by joining up with a traveling circus by chance. Led by the venerable Siberian tiger Vitaly, the animal-centered circus has seen better days. During the course of a tour through a series of European cities that ends in a fabulous big top in the heart of London, Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria help Vitaly the tiger, Gia the jaguar, and Stefano the sea lion, rediscover their passion for show business and reinvent circus performance.

 From the trailer and the synopsis it looks like it will be pretty good but I think the second movie set the bar high so hopefully this movie will be up to the standards of that movie.

 

Area 407 (A.K.A. Tape 407)

Area 407 (A.K.A. Tape 407)

Starring: Abigail Schrader, Samantha Lester, James Lyons, Melanie Lyons, Brendan Patrick Connor, Ken Garcia, Samantha Sloyan

Directors: Dale Fabriger, Evert Wallin

Release Date: April 27, 2012 (limited)

 This movie just popped up on my radar a day or so ago! I follow several websites dedicated to upcoming movies and it still amazes me when a movie is set to be released that I never heard of. I already have a list of movies that are being made now that are due out in 2013 and 2014. Movies like this are a pleasant surprise. I really don’t know too much about this movie except that it is an independent movie and it is part of the “found footage” genre exemplified by such movies as The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, Apollo 18 and the most recent movie, Chronicle, where teens develop superpowers.

 I really enjoyed Cloverfield and was all wrapped up in the viral marketing for that movie. Cloverfield was the best at first viewing because I did not know what was happening and the entire focus of the movie is not the story but the experience of the events. However, my slight disappointment with Cloverfield came with successive viewings because once the events are known the experience is greatly lessened. That has been my experience with all of these found footage movies. It remains to be seen whether Area 407 is similar in that regards.

 Since I do not know too much about the movie I will quote a plot synopsis from Commingsoon.com.

 Plot Summary: “Area 407,” features footage that feels too real for reality and too disturbing for fiction. This footage captured by two passengers on an airline flight from New York to Los Angeles spans the hours of one night until the next early morning. Boarding the plane on New Years Eve, two teenage sisters begin there impromptu filming of themselves and their fellow travelers. Unknown to them as well as the other passengers this flight is doomed from the outset.

 After taking off and soon celebrating the arrival of the new year the passengers are soon sent into shock and alarm as the plane experiences severe turbulence. The relentless weather attack causes panic and terror amongst the passengers until the plane ultimately crashes in a remote government-testing reserve.

 Soon after the crash the passengers take quick account of the few among them that remain alive. The survivors, bloody and disoriented, are pursued in the darkness by unknown predators that, unbeknownst to them, are part of the government’s top-secret Mesa Experiment. The group of individuals that are among them are diverse and struggle with a common plan to move forward with and stay alive. Without warning deaths occur and lead each person to assess what they can possibly do to evade such a lethal threat. Running through the dark and being trailed by something that cannot be fully seen, these survivors do the only thing they can, try to stay alive.  

Godzilla!!!

I also am a budding artist, an apprentice in practice, is what I call myself (yeah that term may be redundant). So from time to time I will share some of my art work. This is a picture of Godzilla that I did last year. He has no pupils because he is modeled after the version of Godzilla that appeared in the 2001 Toho movie: Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack. That movie is one of my all time favorite Godzilla movies and I am sure I will review that move soon.

Snow White And The Huntsman

Snow White And The Huntsman

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Ian McShane

Director: Rupert Sanders

Release Date: 1 June 2012

With the success of the Lord of the Rings franchise a decade ago Hollywood has been incorporating a sense of realism in their fantasy films. Snow White and the Huntsman is a gritty retelling of the Snow White story. This stars Chris Hemsworth, who played George Kirk in the most recent Star Trek movie and also played Thor in the movie of the same name as well as in the new Avengers movie. Hemsworth is the Huntsman who is sent by the tyrannical Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) who is out to kill her step-daughter Snow White, played by Twilight’s Kristen Stewart. The Huntsman spares her life as Snow White hides in an enchanted forest with magical creatures where she is aided by dwarfs (at least 8 or 9 of them and not 7) and a prince who assist her in bringing Queen Ravenna to her destruction.

 I am a special effects junkie and do not apologize for that. I really enjoy the magic of Hollywood and how they can create an entire world or universe that pulls the viewer into that experience. Now that CGI has become so realistic the experience of these fantasy worlds have become more captivating for me. Snow White And The Huntsman looks like a movie that can transport you and pull you into a world that is both magical and dark.  

Men In Black 3

Men In Black 3

Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Rip Torn, Emma Thompson

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Release Date: 25 May 2012

 The first Men in Black movie is one of my favorite science fiction themed movie that is also a comedy. Will Smith was as smooth and charming as ever and Tommy Lee Jones delivered great one liners in his typical deadpan and caustic style.

 Then came Men in Black 2. I hated it. It had none of the whimsy and charm of the fists one and seemed like a chaotic and disjointed mess. I recently viewed that movie with an open mind to reevaluate it. I did end up liking it a little more than I originally had but I still didn’t care for it and have no desire to own it.

 Smith & Jones are back for another helping and I have my hopes up and I am keeping my fingers crossed. From examining the trailer I learn it is a time travel movie which is my very favorite theme to explore in the science fiction genre. Josh Brolin is playing a younger version of K, the character portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones, and his portrayal seems to be spot on. The special effects look great but what has me worried is that from some scenes in the trailer it looks a little messy and chaotic. Here ‘s hoping that is not the case!

 

Battleship

Battleship

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Rihanna, Liam Neeson

Director: Peter Berg

Release Date: 18 May 2012

 Alien invasion movies is one of my favorite themes within the science-fiction genre. Battleship is the newest type of alien invasion movie to come out of Hollywood. Like the Transformer series, Battleship is also a toy, in this case a board game, made by Hasbro. Although the original game did not include an alien invasion the focus of this movie is a group of sailors try to take down an invading force of aliens after we send a signal into space alerting them of our presence.

 In many ways this movie seems more like a remake of independence Day rather than a movie about the game Battleship. However, some of my nerd sources tell me that there are elements of the game inserted into the movie. This is one of my top movies I am looking forward to seeing this summer!

 

Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows
Starring: Johnny Depp, Chloe Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfeiffer
Director: Tim Burton
Release Date: 11 May 2012

This movie is based on the Gothic soap opera which ran weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971. I really enjoyed this show as a kid and found it real scary. Although as an adult I find it a bit cheesy. I am not a real big Tim Burton fan and there are only a couple of his movies that I really enjoy, namely, the two Batman movies from the 90s and Beetlejuice. Oh, and his re-envisioning of the Planet of the Apes is not as bad as some claim in my opinion. Once again collaborating with Johnny Depp, Burton takes on Dark Shadows. When I first saw the trailer above I was surprised by the comedic tone of the movie. I wasn’t disappointed just a little surprised thinking Burton was going to do a straight retelling of the story. However, this trailer does look like a lot of fun. It contains two of my favorite time periods, the nineteenth century and the 1970s. After reading a couple of early reviews I have come to learn that the trailer may be a little misleading in that the entire movie does not have a comedic tone and that there are more serious elements to the story that reflect the original series.

The Avengers

The Avengers
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
Director: Joss Whedon
Release Date: 4 May 2012

The Avengers is a culmination, or the bringing together of various Marvel characters that began in 2005 with the creation of Marvel Studios. In the comic books the Avengers consists of the superheros Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and the Black Widow. The first four of these characters had their own feature films and interwoven within these films has been the Character of Nick Fury, the head of S.H.I.E.L.D, a secret organization who is gathering these superheroes together to organize them into a unit if they are ever needed in the future. This movie depicts their coming together, although not very easily (a lot of egos to deal with) to fight off a threat to the world from Loki, the brother of Thor.

Growing up I was never really a fan of the Marvel universe. I was a fan of DC comics and their superheroes such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, etc. As an adult I have enjoyed the various Marvel based superhero movies, even those such as the X-Men and Spider-Man movies not involved in the continuity of the Avengers related movies. This movie looks like it will be an action packed fun adventure and I must admit I am looking forward to this much more than the Batman movie, The Dark Night Rises, which seems very bleak and joyless.