Young Children Out Late At A Batman Shooting

The Dark Knight Rises Poster

Among the victims killed at the midnight showing of “Batman: The Dark Knight Rising” in Aurora, Colorado, were a three-month-old baby and a six-year-old boy. A father lost track of his four-month-old son while escaping the mayhem, only to discover later that the mother had picked up the baby while shot in the leg. What were those parents thinking when they took their young children out in public after midnight when the entire family should have been in bed at home? I sometimes wonder if bad parenting is a bigger threat to our children than gun violence at the movie theater.

When I worked at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company, different owners, multiple identity crises), the QA team saw the first matinee showing of “The Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King” at the AMC 20 Mercado when on opening days. Along with people from several other nearby tech companies, hardly anyone attended the first showing. This was a remarkable contrast when the entire company—still Accolade back then—spent the entire day to see “Star Wars Episode: The Phantom Menace” at the Century 22, where the HR girls handed out cold drinks to everyone in line as we waited for hours to see the first showing.

I noticed a young father barely out of high school with his baby daughter sitting behind me inside the theater. He smiled back at me at he nervously ate his popcorn, as if he knew he was doing something wrong. Although I’m not a parent, I knew he was doing something wrong. LOTR was never meant for children, especially with the horrific battle scenes between the forces of good and evil that dominated the third movie. This wouldn’t end well.

The little girl responded with glee to the My Little Pony toy commercial and paid no attention to the trailers that preceded the movie. Once the movie started, she became very quiet as her father ate the popcorn faster. The movie opened with the origin story of Gollum as a hobbit who came in possession of the One Ring, sitting down at the river and holding a caught fish. A screen-wide mouth with ugly teeth appeared, biting into the fish and ripping the flesh to shreds. A loud wail ripped through the theater before the crying started in earnest with lush wails.

I didn’t need to look back to see the father spilling his popcorn and hustling his kid out the door. They were soon forgotten as the LOTR theme song overwhelmed the theater. Needless to say, he didn’t get to see the movie that morning. Too bad he wasn’t charged with child abuse. Too bad the parents who take their young children to a midnight movie weren’t charged with child abuse as well. Maybe a stay in the pokey would put some commonsense back into them about raising children.

The Punisher’s #DIRTYLAUNDRY Short Film

One of the surprises that came out of the San Diego Comic Con this year was a unauthorized short film called #DIRTYLAUNDRY, staring Thomas Jane as Frank Castle (a.k.a., The Punisher) and Ron Perlman as a handicapped liquor store clerk. When a gang terrorizes the prostitutes in a ghetto neighborhood, Castle keeps a wary eye out but ignores them while doing his laundry. When the life of an innocent schoolboy is threaten, the Punisher dispenses justice with an indestructible bottle of Jack Daniels.

NOTE: This video contains strong language, brutal violence and copious blood spray.

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Although Ray Stevenson in “The Punisher: War Zone” (2008) represents the pulp version of the Punisher with his chiseled face and steely glare that cuts like a wicked knife, I always prefer the humane version that Thomas Jane brings to the character. The humorous scene from “The Punisher” (2004), where Castle is searing a steak with a blowtorch while poking a Popsicle into the backside of a minor thug who thinks he’s being tortured, is a fine example. If Marvel Comics were ever to reboot the series (unlikely as the previous films never took off beyond its fan base), they should bring Thomas Jane back for the role.

Review – A Wrong Turn For Prometheus

Prometheus Movie Poster
P R O M E T H E U S

When I went to see “Prometheus” at the AMC Mercado 20, I was shocked—shocked!—to see that the California Lottery Commission was airing a revised Lady Luck video. And then there was the movie itself. I had kept my expectations low and avoided reading any reviews. (Unlike “The Avenger” movie that got hyped to death for months, this movie barely made a peep on my radar.)  Being a prequel to “Alien” that explores the origin of the space jockey in the crashed spaceship on the moon LV-426, I wanted to be surprised by how everything was put together.

I was surprised but not in a good way.

The first hour of the movie was quite beautiful as the origin of humanity begins with an eight-foot-tall giant—”engineers” as they would later be called—who sacrifices himself by drinking a black liquid that tears apart his DNA to form new life on an uninhabited planet. Many eons later, a team of archeologists find the oldest cave painting with humans worshiping a giant alien pointing to a star cluster that links all the ancient civilizations to Earth. (If you’re into UFO conspiracy theories, some people believe that the Nephilims were giant aliens.) A few years after that discovery, the spaceship Prometheus lands on the moon LV-233 and the crew begins their mission with conflicting agendas.

For the next 90 minutes, the plot holes starts piling up fast and furious. Two major plot holes ruined the movie for me. If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading now.

Why does the moon bears the designation LV-233 in “Prometheus” instead of LV-426 in the “Alien” movies? No clue. Although the weather patterns are violent on LV-233, it’s not yet the hellhole that becomes LV-426. The two moons are obviously supposed to be the same location but the designation doesn’t match up.

When the captain jettisons the life support module and sacrifices the Prometheus to prevent the alien spaceship from leaving the moon, the alien spaceship crashes to a rolling halt into its final position, and the space jockey is strapped down in the flight chair, all we needed was the chest buster alien to pop out and leave the space jockey dead to match the scene in “Alien.” That didn’t happen. The space jockey comes crashing into the life support module to be attacked and infected by a huge facehugger. The movie ends with a crude-looking xenomorph emerging from the dead space jockey. This is not the sleek killing machine we all come to love and admire.

Seems like director Ridley C. Scott took all the plot lines from a wrong turn at Albuquerque TV trope and mixed them together with the best parts of “Aliens” to create “Prometheus,” which is less than the sum of its parts. The unanswered questions will probably be answered in the next sequel or two. This wasn’t the completed movie that I expected it to be.

The California Lottery Black Scratcher Lady Luck Video Revisited

As I waited for the movie trailers and “Prometheus” to start at AMC Mercado 20 in Santa Clara this past weekend, the California Lottery black scratcher video, where Lady Luck slaps some clueless idiot to let him know that he won, came up on the big screen. I sat back to enjoy this video but it wasn’t the video I was expecting. This video had Lady Lucky blowing air on the clueless idiot.

Seriously, W-T-F?!

The original ad was too violent for the moral sensibilities of elected officials in Sacramento that the lottery commission replaced it with a different version. Never mind that the new ad was shown before the showing of an R-rated movie—SPOILER ALERT!—where Noomi Rapace gives herself a violent C-section to abort an unwanted alien fetus.

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Piranha 3DD Hits Silicon Valley In One Theater

Seriously, only one movie theater in Silicon Valley is showing the instant cult classic movie, “Piranha 3DD,” in limited release today?

That’s probably because this 3D movie is also being released on demand via cable TV and through Facebook for half the price of a regular 3D movie ticket. The big question becomes whether or not to see David Hasselhoff get his due as a phony lifeguard while watching the “water-certified strippers” get eaten by the piranhas on the big screen or the small screen. A tough decision.

If that wasn’t jacked up enough, you need to have a Facebook account to view the age-restricted trailer on the official movie website. You only need to be 13-years-old with parental permission to join Facebook. Since I couldn’t figure out the privacy settings, I no longer have a Facebook account. I doubt there’s another age check to prevent young viewers from seeing the more explicit trailer.

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Arnold “I’m Back!” Schwarzenegger In The Expendables 2

If you seen “The Avengers” during the opening weekend last week, you probably saw the trailer for “The Expendables 2” with a large cast of 1980’s action hero movie stars reliving their glory days. One such action hero was a cigar-chomping Arnold Schwarzenegger announcing, “I’m back!” (An obvious double entrendre to his most famous line—”I’ll be back”—from “Terminator” and his long absence from starring in the movies while governor of California.) The audience I was with laughed and cheered at his appearance, heralding the arrival of more popcorn movies in the near future. California’s favorite maid-banging action hero is back.

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Is Black Widow The New Dana Scully?

Is Black Widow The New Dana Scully?I had serious doubts about “The Avengers” movie that came out this past weekend, from the heroine showing ass on the movie poster to the Farmer Insurance commercial. After months of relentless hype, I thought the movie would fall short of the high expectations that we come to expect from a Joss Whedon movie. I’m happy to report that the movie was much bigger and much better than the hype.

Although the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) stole the show, I was more intrigued by Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). She carried her own in a room full of male superheroes who were more eager to get into pissing matches with each other than save the world. With a clever mixture of feminine wails and kick-ass mastery, she overcame every opponent except for the rampaging Hulk.

Black Widow bears a remarkable resemblance to Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) from “The X-Files” with her bomber-red hairdo and intense eyes. Something I kept thinking about while watching the movie. Although Scully was never much of a physical ass kicker, she made that up with her brilliant application of scientific principles to unknown phenomena. I’m hoping that Black Widow will get her own movie now that “The Avengers” broke the box office records. Marvel fan boys need another intelligent woman to idolize.

The Unsinkable Titanic II Direct From China

Clive Palmer, an Australian billionaire mining magnate, is planning to build a $500-million USD  replica of the Titanic that was sunk century ago. Although nearly identical to the ill-fated ship, the Titanic II will have diesel engines to replace the coal engines, a bulbous bow and other modern features below the waterline.

The ship will be built in China, which has never built a luxury cruise liner as most are built in the European shipyards, and the Chinese navy will escort it from United Kingdom to New York City on it’s maiden voyage in 2016. Not sure how the British and American navies would take to the Chinese navy plowing the North Atlantic waters.

Although the new ship shouldn’t sink this time, a norovirus infection can doom a cruise ship faster than any rogue iceberg.

If you can’t wait for the maiden voyage of the Titanic II, check out the 2010 direct-to-DVD movie, “Titanic II,” from Asylum Studios. The ending is somewhat predictable.

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