Archive for: May, 2011

The Line Is Long At Trader Joe’s: “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” Reviewed

The other night I had a dream that Barack Obama and I were hanging out in my hometown library. It was really casual, because Obama had rolled up his shirtsleeves. When a President rolls up his shirtsleeves you know he’s getting ready for casual fun, like throwing a basketball or buying an ice cream cone or just kneeling down in the dirt and planting a tree for the nation’s farmers.

We talked about our favorite books and he recommended a Stephen King book that doesn’t actually exist called The Palisades. Thanks a lot, dream Barack Obama. Guess I’ll just pop on over to whatever alternate dimension that book was written in. Obama told me how important libraries were to his childhood, then we played video games sitting Indian style and watched a movie where John F. Kennedy held up a flaming sword.

Afterward, Obama insisted talking socks should not get American citizenship just because they can magically speak English and I have to say I agree with the man. You can’t be a tube of cloth covering our feet one day and then expect to vote in our elections the next just because you can recite the alphabet with your googly eyes waving all around. Though I have to say anyone who is passionate about participating in our democracy should be given a fair shake. I guess there are a lot of shades of grey in the talking-sock-citizenship-debate.

In The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Nicolas Cage plays a sorcerer named Balthazar Blake. Despite his magical nature, his socks are the ordinary non-talking type, though every other inanimate object around him gets a turn to come to life and clean the floor or fly him around or choke a rival sorcerer. If you’re a barrel or a broomstick or a metal eagle statue, your ass is going to be doing chores for Nic Cage’s wizard. “Doing chores for Nic Cage’s wizard” sounds like a euphemism for giving Nicolas Cage a lapdance. When I was a kid the first existential crisis I ever had was whether or not our dining room chairs had thoughts. So I tried to imagine what it would be like to be a chair but all I could think about was being a dead piece of wood all cold and silent forever. I must have been a real ray of sunshine as a child.

So Balthazar finds Jay Baruchel with a dragon ring and says, “You’re the next Top Merlin!” and then some bad sorcerers get out of a magic doll and try to kill both of them. Pew pew zzzap magic! Lightning bolt! Believe in yourself! How many wizard movies or books have there been where a wizard is training his apprentice and he says to clear your mind or focus or think of nothing or remain calm and relax? I’d like to see somebody learn to do magic by throwing a hissy fit or getting into a tizzy. “That’s it. Get worked up. Think of someone defriending you on Facebook. Your waiter refuses to split the check even though you’ve been to this place before and you know they can do it. The line is long at Trader Joe’s.” Then a fussy little fire comes out of the wizard’s fingertips.

Turns out Jay Baruchel is a Prime Merlinian. Sure, that sounds like a thing that could mean the boss of all wizards. They should call CEOs “Prime Businessians”. Does that make prime rib steaks the boss of all other steaks? Or just the boss of all ribs? Could a prime rib steak tell my ribs what to do? I hope they don’t tell them to jump out of my body. One of the other characters tells Jay Baruchel the reason he’s the Prime Merlinian is because he’s also a scientist. Are you happy now, scientists?! He’s one of you. Now can you admit humans rode dinosaurs?

Then he defeats Morgana le Fay on his third day on the job as a wizard, even though she was able to kill Merlin despite his centuries of sorcery experience. Guess Merlin didn’t science hard enough. Shoulda put down the Harry Potter books and picked up a flask of bubbling green liquid. Jay Baruchel wraps it all up by flying his girlfriend to France, even though she’s just a regular girl who plays indie rock at a college radio station and he’s the most powerful wizard the world has ever known. You do know that cute girls at indie rock stations are not exactly the rarest creature, right? I think the FCC requires every college radio station to have at least three cute girls who like indie rock in the studio at all times.

Thinking a god-like sorcerer and an unremarkable kinda-hipster girl will stay together is like thinking you’ll stay with your high school girlfriend when you go to college times a million. She better hope he isn’t interested in lady wizard’s vaginas, because that’s her only hope of keeping him. I’m interested in lady wizard’s vaginas and I don’t even like Magic: The Gathering, much less have the ability to perform actual magic.

I’m sure you’ll do fine in the relationship, regular human girl with no supernatural powers. I’m sure he won’t turn the Starbucks logo into a real life sexy mermaid with his thoughts and then turn the mermaid half into a lady half. And then send her back to the coffee cup from whence she came when he gets tired of her. Whoops, accidentally wrote some Sorcerer’s Apprentice fan fiction. Goodnight, everybody!

Jam Your Hands in a Janitor’s Bucket: A Review of “I Am Number Four”

Alright- there’s nine alien teenagers on our planet and some other evil aliens want to kill them. IN NUMERIC ORDER. Gotta admire that attention to detail. The head bad alien is like, “Guys..guys! We gotta go by the murder list! If we kill Number Five and then Number Three I’m going to lose track of where we are and we’ll have to start all over again and I am not driving back to the store to get more weird red goo for our laser guns.”

Just in case there is any doubt who the Number Four in this movie is, it’s the main blond teenager, not the secondary blond teenagers. Also, he clears up the whole “which one is Number Four?!!” issue by thoughtfully telling the audience he’s Number Four in the first five (four?) minutes of the movie. To which I can only imagine The Count from Sesame Street stood up and whirled his cape around and thunderously applauded. Ahhh! One blond teenage alien! Two blond teenage aliens! Three blond teenage aliens! Four blond teenage aliens and Count I’m going to go ahead and stop you right there at four.

One thing that really bugged me in this movie is that Number Four left the default Earth wallpaper as his homescreen on his iPhone. Can’t you change the wallpaper to a picture of Timothy Olyphant or something? Anyway, the movie starts with Number Four having summer fun on the beach with some beach hotties! Jet skis! Bonfires! Some super-chill Jack Johnson music, maybe? No? Okay.

Number Four gets a text from a beach hottie (on that damnable default Earth wallpaper) to come meet him in a lagoon. Then they swim around in the night ocean and she looks up and says, “Oh, look- the stars. There’s my favorite, the Big Dipper!” All the constellations in the sky and you pick the Big Dipper? Oh look a big old spoon in the sky! So much cooler than a bear or a scorpion or a guy shooting an arrow. Think of all the cereal you could eat with that enormous sky spoon!

Number Four’s leg starts doing some light-up alien shit and the beach girl flips out and she flees, presumably to protect her spoon collection. Timothy Olyphant, who is also an alien and has the thankless job of protecting Number Four, says, “We gotta get the fuck out of here.” Then he throws all their pictures in a fire along with their license plate. Is it that easy to burn a license plate? I thought they were made of metal. Is a beach campfire hot enough to incinerate metal? If so, then Sarah Connor should try to lure all the Terminators to a Jimmy Buffett concert.

So they go to Ohio and Number Four falls in love pretty much five (four?) minutes into attending his new high school. Also, what is going on with the soundtrack in this movie? The Black Keys, The xx, Adele? You know you were choosing songs for I Am Number Four, right? That’s like wrapping a Target gift card in ornate gold foil paper and putting an origami bird on top of it. I mean, thanks for the Target card, I needed to get some Claritin and batteries, but wow.

Number Four and his new girlfriend Sarah go walking around downtown and she’s like, “I’m a photographer! I was hanging out with the cool popular kids but then I chose photography instead, which is a choice pretty girls are often forced to make.” Afterwards, she takes a photograph of two little girls running away from her partially blocked by pedestrians in the middle of the night with no flash. Then she takes a photo of Number Four’s chin. Wheeee I’m Ansel Adams lens cap!

Then rainbows come out of Number Four’s hands until he jams them in a janitor’s bucket. “Rainbows coming out of your hands until you jam them in a janitor’s bucket” is also a euphemism for a terrifically erotic but forbidden sex act. This kind of thing keeps happening until the bad aliens find Number Four and (spoiler!) Timothy Olyphant gets his ass killed. Turns out all the aliens disintegrate into stone and ash when they die, both the good and bad aliens. I thought they were from different planets, though. Is this some kind of chimney sweep solar system they’re all from? Jesus.

The main bad alien guy keeps making snide remarks about comic books and gadgets and watching too much TV. I’m surprised his dying words weren’t, “I don’t even own a television!” Sorry, I forgot to mention the bad guy dies. But I will let you find out for yourself whether he was killed clutching a copy of Wine Spectator magazine. The End!

Imperial Trouble Episode 27: Ben Boardman, Zach Gaskins and Jason Carlile of Star Command

Imperial Trouble Episode 27: Ben Boardman, Zach Gaskins and Jason Carlile of Star Command

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Star Command! Sam and Jason welcome Ben Boardman, Zach Gaskins and Jason Carlile to discuss the voyages of the Starship USS Robert E. Lee, Star Trek, the autistic kid from St. Elsewhere, Dungeons and Dragons, romance in Mass Effect 2 and teenage vampire slayers.

A Beard Worth Stripping For! A Review of “Luther | Series 1”

A Beard Worth Stripping For! A Review of “Luther | Series 1”

Idris Elba is Detective Chief Inspector John Luther! In England, of course. It would be pretty posh if we had Detective Chief Inspectors here in America. I think it’s the “inspector” part that makes it sound so British. Like the police are constantly putting on a play about Sherlock Holmes.

I like the way Idris Elba’s hair looks in this show. He let it grow out a little wispy, kind of a smart-guy-rumpled look. I wish I had a smart-guy-rumpled beard, but I feel like I have more of a fatty-at-a-porn-convention beard. A stripper once touched my face and said she liked salt-and-pepper beards. I should have pulled out some salt and pepper shakers and shook them over my beard and said, “There you are, madam! Here’s a beard worth stripping for!”

In my heart-of-hearts I have to admit that the stripper was probably not into my beard, or any man’s beard. How did the heart-of-hearts system get started, anyway? Why do we need a smaller heart inside our regular heart? Is it like the boss of the heart? And why do we keep things we secretly know to be true in there? Seems like you’d want to keep that in your brain-of-brains.

Luther solves grisly crimes and tries to get back together with his wife who left him because he’s always thinking too much about fighting serial killers. Too much Batman, not enough Robin, I guess. You know Robin would totally give you a smooch when he got home from work and not talk about how the Penguin murdered the mayor with his umbrella and there was blood everywhere. Wakk! Wakk! Wakk!

Luther’s intro credits are set to “Paradise Circus” by Massive Attack. That song makes me think of kissing a Suicide Girl on an overcast day. Not that I’ve ever kissed a Suicide Girl. I saw a booth of them once at a comic convention but couldn’t think of anything good to say. “Hello tattooed pin-up girls. I see you’re all in a group here, with your clothes on. Guess that’s to be expected, with all the public nudity laws. Still, bang up job not wearing clothes on the internet. Keep up that nakedness!”

Luther is currently streaming on Netflix, the Penguin is currently at large, my heart-of-hearts is currently beating and somewhere a stripper who may or may not like salt-and-pepper beards is currently dancing at one of Atlanta’s classier strip clubs. Good night!

That’s some pig! A review of the movie “The Descent”

So, a bunch of women are going caving in the Appalachian mountains. They treat it like a baby shower or a bachelorette party by getting drunk the night before. Maybe they think caving is looking at bridal magazines and eating cake shaped like a man’s torso. Isn’t that what you women do at parties and baby showers? When I think of ladies’ parties, I think about a little piglet in a party hat eating cake and all the women take turns petting him on the head. Admit it, girls- you just said ‘Awwwww!’ silently to yourself. Or maybe out loud, sitting in the library in front of a battered old computer, a flask of bourbon tucked in your bra. Are you…are you a lady hobo?

Okay. The cave in the woods. These women, they go down into this cave in the middle of the woods, straight down on some ropes like it’s nothing. I was like, damn- these women are really brave. Maybe Jake Gyllenhaal was at the bottom of the cave saying, “If you make it to the bottom I’ll kiss you beside a stalagmite. Or a stalactite? Don’t test me on caves I’m Jake Gyllenhaal! You just met me!”

Then one of the women gets stuck in a tiny little hole. And the other girl says, “You can do it! Get out of that hole!” And the woman who is stuck puts down her teacup with relaxing honey tea in it and marks her place in Martha Stewart Living and gets out of the hole just in time to not die in a cave-in. I bet Martha Stewart Living on the iPad is really tastefully designed, just like the print edition. The other day I was reading an article on different types of tea in Martha Stewart Living and noticed that one of the recipes for tea got pushed to the next to last page. Poor tea recipe. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. The “bride” being the tea recipe that actually gets made into real world tea and not skimmed over next to an ad for Fancy Feast. What do you want from me, cat?! You want me to put the little spoon on a pillow, too?!

Then the pretty Asian girl says, “Hey everybody, turns out this cave is unexplored and I thought we could be the first to explore it! So I lured all my best girlfriends down here even though the deepest most of you have been in the ground is the changing room at the back of Target.” Wow, calling her “the pretty Asian girl” makes me feel like an old man trying to describe his grandson’s new girlfriend to the waitress at Golden Corral. Sorry, pretty Asian girls everywhere. I’m sure the scruffy boy you met at the Fleet Foxes show has a very nice grandfather.

There are monsters down in the cave, though. They’re blind, have pointy ears and sleep on a pile of bones. Mostly rib cages, though. Guess they use all the skulls for blind cave monster productions of Hamlet. The SKREEEEARRGHH Players Present….. “Death of a Salesman and Also Woodland Creatures and Unlucky Cave Explorers”.

Pretty soon there are only two women left. The main hero woman has to get down in a pool of blood and bones and fight a lady monster, probably over who gets to say yes to the dress. The pretty Asian girl gets a pickaxe in the leg for her trouble because she was sleeping with the hero’s husband before they went down in the cave. The little piglet falls asleep in a pile of sweet hay, frosting on the tip of his nose, surrounded by party streamers and torn wrapping paper. Shhhhh, he’s sleeping.

Imperial Trouble Episode 26: Joe Hernandez and John Strangeway of Penny Dreadful Productions

Imperial Trouble Episode 26: Joe Hernandez and John Strangeway of Penny Dreadful Productions

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Joe Hernandez and John Strangeway of Penny Dreadful Productions visit the Imperial Trouble studios to discuss The Boiler Room, Steampunk Boba Fett, costumes, flooding in Nashville, Minnie Pearl and Santa’s nemesis the Krampus.

Portal 2

Portal 2

I have no idea what to say about this game. If Portal 2 was a president, it would be Abraham Lincoln. Everybody already knows about Abraham Lincoln. If you want to buy a $5 book about Abraham Lincoln, you’ll probably pay for it with a picture of Abraham Lincoln. Well, a five dollar bill, not a framed portrait of Lincoln. I guess maybe if the antique bookstore owner is willing to barter and is into Lincoln you could pull it off. “Hey….hey you… behind the counter at the bookstore- you into Abraham Lincoln pictures? No nudes!”

Right. Portal 2. If you like video games you probably bought it. Unless you’re one of those dudes (or ladies?) who only plays shooting games or hates having to think too much to play a game or something. ‘I hate thinking!’ thinks the brain of the idiot. Beautiful, complex little idiot brain. Synapses and neurons firing off in a miraculous ballet in order to form thoughts about hating thoughts. Maybe all the stars are nodes in an infinite network of intelligence, and the universe is thinking right now, thinking about how much it hates nerds and their nerd games.

I dropped my car off to get the oil changed earlier today. What a diference the letter “S” makes. If I had asked to get my car’s “oils” changed I’d have sounded like a crazy person, or a sultan. Nope, regular old “oil” change for me, thanks. One of the cars there had an enormous pink penis drawn on it. The penis was changing some oils of its own. I wonder why the artist chose to make it an action shot instead of a still life. The drawing was unsigned.

In Portal 2, you shoot a blue portal at a wall and another orange portal somewhere else like the ceiling or the floor and try to outwit GLaDOS, the feminine artificially intelligent computer system who tried to kill you in the first game. Stephen Merchant plays Wheatley, one of her personality cores. Portal 2 is an excellent game that made me very happy when I finished it. You know what else made me happy? On the way to get my car’s oil changed (oils?), I saw a girl joyriding around in her wheelchair with a little terrier dog in her lap. On the way back, I saw her again with the same dog but she’d changed shirts.

Should you buy Portal 2? Probably, it’s really just a fantastic game. But some people hate Scrabble (me), and just because you don’t want to stare at a bunch of letters trying to think of words all night doesn’t mean you should have to wear a dunce cap. Maybe Portal 2 is your Scrabble. But I eventually learned to like Words With Friends on my iPhone. Who’s wearing the dunce cap now? Is it Abraham Lincoln? Because I can get you a picture of that.

Anyway, I was nearly home from my admittedly eventful oil change, and I saw a man in a business suit on a hot pink bike wearing a Batman backpack. The suit said “captain of industry”, but the bicycle and backpack said “pink phallus erupting crudely on the side of a car.” He threw something into the nearby bushes (gum? a rock?) and pedaled furiously away. So long, whatever that was! I’ve got all I need in this child-sized Batman backpack!

Meanwhile, the synapses and neurons of the universe continued working together to form thoughts, thoughts of the man on the bike, the girl in the wheelchair with the dog, Portal 2, a penis on a car, inexpensive books about Abraham Lincoln and me writing this, ending this review, so long for now.