Kedi: Doc Talk Jan 21-27


Our Doc Talk topic for next week starting 1/21/18 is Kedi.

From the website:

Hundreds of thousands of Turkish cats roam the metropolis of Istanbul freely. For thousands of years they’ve wandered in and out of people’s lives, becoming an essential part of the communities that make the city so rich. Claiming no owners, the cats of Istanbul live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame — and they bring joy and purpose to those people they choose to adopt. In Istanbul, cats are the mirrors to the people, allowing them to reflect on their lives in ways nothing else could.

Critics and internet cats agree — this cat documentary will charm its way into your heart and home as you fall in love with the cats in Istanbul.  e cats in Istanbul.  

Review: Comic Book: The Movie (2004)

A fanboy’s tribute to comic book movie adaptations and purity of story.

When I first turned on Comic Book: The Movie, I expected a proper documentary.  Apparently, I didn’t read the synopsis clearly enough, because this is actually a fake documentary, albeit they do film it at the actual San Diego Comic Convention.  Put together and directed by and starring none-other-than Mark Hamill, what this movie provides is a fanboy’s perception of comic book movies, adaptations from comics to films and the life of geekdom in general.

The idea behind the film is that a super-famous super hero is getting his own movie.  The hero goes by the name of Captain Courage, although a recent update of the character has him as Codename: Courage.  Hamill plays Don Swan, the world’ foremost fanboy and expert of all things Captain Courage.  He also happens to hate the updated character and the fact that the production company involved is going to use the new, violent version as opposed to his beloved Golden Age incarnation.

He is hired on by the production company to act as a consultant and to make a documentary about the upcoming film.  They underestimate his devotion to the title, however, and he goes off track several times, setting up his own promotions and trying everything in his power to convince the greedy producers that the older Courage is the better Courage.  Needless to say, hi-jinks ensue.

The story revolves around the conflict between Don Swan and those allied to his cause and the producers and those they manage to recruit into their own camp.  But the real focus of the film is in showing exactly how fanboys feel about the comics they’re closest to and the lengths they’re willing to go to in order to fight money-hungry Hollywood-types who would ruin their perfect vision.

Overall, the movie is fun to watch and brings up some important points in a satirical manner.  Plus, it has a ton of cameos, although plenty of them will be completely unrecognizable to those not schooled in the world of comics.  The main failing of it, in my opinion, is that it relies a bit too much on gimmicky humor.  While there’s plenty of humor to be had in the subtly, and they do use these elements well, I’m guessing they were too worried that inside humor wouldn’t translate enough to bring in a sizable enough audience.  Either that or they just really enjoy slapstick and goof.  Whatever the case, the moments of ridiculousness detract from the flow of the film, which is at times quite intelligent and eye-opening.

This is a movie made primarily for comic book fans and if you happen to be one of those, I highly recommend giving it a watch.  If you’re more of a casual comic and super hero person, it may not be the best choice.  Unless you love Mark Hamill.  He does a great job the whole way through.

Review: Alter Egos (2012)

A nice little low-budget piece about the life of your average super hero.

Being that Alter Egos is a movie about super heroes, it was only a matter of time before I gave in to my Netflix list and watched it.  Considering the movie looked like it was made on a budget in the tens-of-thousands, I was pretty happy with the end result.  The creators managed to turn out something that was interesting and funny and did it all by using only a handful of generic super hero costumes and about three sets.

The story takes place in a world where super heroes are pretty much everywhere.  Powers aren’t exclusive to one person, which is how the main character, Fridge, ends up with his super name - because all the other good ice-themed names have been taken.  Fridge is working with his X-ray capable friend, C-Thru, to bring in one of the meanest bad guys around - The Shrink.  The Shrink is no cut-rate villain, however.  He’s can use his mind to take people over and make them do whatever he wants and was at one point one of the biggest and baddest of bad guys in the world.

While dealing with these routine super hero problems, Fridge also tries to fix his love-life.  After discovering that his girlfriend is cheating on him with… well, with him while he’s in his Fridge costume, he decides to dump her.  He also meets a nice girl at the hotel where they’re holding The Shrink and tries to start up something new.  But, of course, things get complicated when Fridge discovers that The Shrink is not only the guy who killed his mother and father, but also happens to be his uncle.  Sound comic-bookish enough for you yet?

Though nothing spectacular, Alter Egos is still a fun little movie and the actors do a good job of working with what they have.  It’s not meant to be a great display of special effects, though what little they use look decent enough.  It is a cute look into the real dilemmas that super heroes face in their relationships.  If you want something quirky and low-key, check it out.

‘Star Wars VII’ Get a Director

From ‘Star Trek’ to ‘Star Wars’, J.J. Abrams is making the rounds of geekdom


If you haven’t heard the news by now, you’re seriously living under a rock at the bottom of an ocean.  The almighty, Disney-controlled, Star Wars Episode VII finally has its director and the winner is… J.J. Abrams.  Yup, the same guy who had the task of rebooting the Star Trek universe is now going to get the chance to tackle the return to Star Wars.  Needless to say, this has caused mixed reactions among the geek crowds.

Some are all good with it while others are screaming that Abrams isn’t the right choice.  Well, it’s bloody Star Wars and there’s never going to be an agreement on who should take over, so we can leave most of the yelling and screaming where it belongs, in the Internet archives.  But the question does need to be raised of whether Abrams is capable of doing this, whether you like his work or not.  In my opinion, he may not be the best man, but he’s certainly in the top 10 percent.  Why, you ask?  Well, several reasons.

First of all, he’s already shown he can tackle one major franchise with success.  He took an old and tired Star Trek and gave it new life, presenting the powers that own it with new opportunities to create and expand.  No longer do they need to adhere to decades of canon, always worried that one small detail will enrage the fanboys that thrive on consistency and perfection.  The Star Trek property is open to new creative input.  As a Star Trek fan, I am grateful for this.  He will likely be able to do the same for Star Wars, albeit by setting up a new future for the franchise, not eliminating the old one.

Second, he’s shown with his movie Super 8 that he knows how to appeal to kids in a non-traditional manner. Thus, we are free of the dangers of a repeat of the Jar Jar Binks situation that caused us such pain in Episode I.  He’ll be able to give the franchise the needed kid-appeal without resorting to base clichés and mindless slapstick.

And third, he’s worked in television long enough to know what a long-lived series like Star Wars will need in Episode VII so that all future episodes and spin-offs will not be confined by his writing.  In fact, I’d venture he opens the world up so that new possibilities arise.  Ultimately, that relies on the writer as well, but Abrams will have enough creative control with enough experience backing him to really set the series on solid legs for at least a decade.

The biggest danger I see is that Star Wars and Star Trek may, stylistically speaking, end up looking way too similar.  This may confuse new viewers, hurt marketing and limit the appeal of each franchise as it stands on its own.  It will be, in my opinion, Abrams greatest challenge, to make sure this doesn’t happen.  Let’s hope he can pull it off.

So whether you enjoy his endless lens flares or otherwise, Abrams certainly has the skills to get the job done.  I, for one, have renewed faith in Episode VII and am looking forward to seeing what Abrams brings us in 2015.

‘Django Unchained’ gets the angry words

More overreactive people screaming bloody murder about Tarantino’s latest flick

Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, Django Unchained, has in its short time of release, already been gathering a fair degree of criticism.  Set during the time of slavery, it involves some material that many don’t think appropriate, including a rather prodigious use of the so-called “N-word”.  Despite most people enjoying the film (including many who would have cause to be upset if it was blatantly racist), still people persist in voicing their disapproval.  And now the whole affair is getting even more attention and protest following the release of some Django Unchained movie-themed collectable action figures.

First and foremost, the movie has more than its fair share of racial slurs, but it is in context.  I think what some people fail to realize is that if the movie were historically accurate, it would be even worse, so what’s the issue here?  If it’s natural to the story, the demonstration of racism is not necessarily racism simply by association.  Learn to make the distinction folks.

Secondly, the action figures are not for kids.  I repeat - not for kids.  These “toys” are the types of items that people generally buy and never even take out of the package.  If your kids are screaming for you to buy them a Django Unchained collectable figure, then that probably means you let them see the film.  If they’re eight years old, then that probably means you should reassess your parenting skills rather than complaining about the aftermath.  It blows my mind that people honestly believe that kids are going to buy these things and then spend their play time reenacting scenes of slavery.  But even Al Sharpton has stepped up and made the claim that the figures were made to appeal to children.  Of course, I’ve never known Sharpton to be too sharp when it comes to common sense issues.

To sum up, people need to chill out.  Sit back, take a breath and ask yourself a simple question - am I thinking rationally?  If the answer is no, then you should probably take a few days to think the issue through instead of just yelling loudly in a reactionary fashion.  Just because an issue is sensitive doesn’t mean it can’t be approached in an entertaining manner and leave us all a bit better for having had it placed squarely in our field of vision.

Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

Beautiful to look at, but still kinda cliché in execution.

As each one of Peter Jackson’s movies comes and goes, I find myself liking him less and less.  What started out as an amazing vision for Lord of the Rings has now degenerated into the pretty good but not spectacular production that is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  While I can say that I did enjoy the film and that many parts of it were truly spectacular, Jackson and the production studio’s decision to turn it into three films ultimately made the first installment drag on and come to a rather long-winded conclusion.

In case you don’t already know, The Hobbit pretty much follows the story in the book of the same name, although Jackson, in order to stretch the film out and add more back-story, delved into some of J.R.R. Tolkien’s other works.  So what we end up with is a very long Hobbit movie with lots of other little bits and pieces.  The extra stuff was actually really interesting and I was happy that he did that.  Unfortunately, the execution of the main storyline is a little wonky.  Some parts were changed that didn’t need to be changed, and the main motivator was nothing less than having a few more action scenes in the film - a fatal flaw that most directors seem to be afflicted with these days.

Probably the highest point for me in the film was the acting of Martin Freeman, who played Bilbo Baggins.  He pulls off an amazing fantasy character, despite a few goofy lines he’s expected to say, and is definitely the best thing about the entire production.  I also enjoyed the way they slipped some of the old songs into the film, though they could have gotten away with more.  The singing added a unique element to the film and made it very much true to Tolkien’s story along with the cartoon adaptation that I remember enjoying as a child.  Other highlights include, of course, the amazing special effects (though I did not see it in IMAX, 3D or the 48 fps format) and huge production values.

All-in-all, The Hobbit was a great way to start off the trilogy, though I suspect that three movies was probably one too many.  The excuse for the extra film may have been to put in all the additional content, but the reality is that Jackson just extended his action scenes for way too long.  By the time the last nearly-thirty-minute sequence ended, I was ready to go home, regardless of any epilogue.  It was just too much and too gimmicky to be enjoyable, even in the context of a fantasy film.

Hopefully the next installment will be just as enjoyable, but I doubt Jackson will fix the errors he had in this one.  People seem to love pointless action and so it will continue to haunt movies to their detriment.  Eventually we may get past this old and worn out cliché and be able to move on, but until then, The Hobbit is about as good as any fantasy film is going to get.  I recommend a watch, though make sure to have a little caffeine before you start in.

Review: Your Highness (2011)

A movie that can’t quite decide which way it wants to go.

Another movie that I watched on Netflix, this one caught my eye because I am, at the core, a geek who enjoys pretty much anything that has a good fantasy storyline.  The idea of a comedic fantasy story sounded intriguing, so I thought I’d give it a try.  The first thing I heard about the movie is that it was made by the same guys who did a flick called Pineapple Express.  I’ve never seen it, but was told it was entertaining.  With Your Highness, whatever goodness they brought from their previous film was muddled.  The movie is almost good, but never picks a solid direction to go in.

The overall plot involves a layabout prince named Thadeous (Danny McBride) and his heroic brother Fabious (James Franco).  In an effort to save Fabious’s bride-to-be, the two must set out and kill an evil wizard.  Thadeous is, of course, not so hot on the prospect of risking his life for anything, but ends up going along to save his pride and prove that he’s not worthless like everyone suggests.  Along the way they meet up with Isabel (Natalie Portman), a warrior-woman who wants to kill the wizard for her own reasons.

Comedically, the film is pretty much stoner humor combined with the typical “dick and fart jokes” routine.  Sometimes it works, but more often it doesn’t.  If they stuck to this format, the film might have worked in its own way.  Instead, the story tries to take itself seriously at times and is left with a schizophrenic feeling that throws the viewer off.  Alternatively, they could have made this a more serious film and kept the humor subtle.  The special effects are decent and the writers were well-versed enough in fantasy clichés that they managed to convey a lot of interesting concepts that would make fantasy geeks very happy.  Unfortunately, the comedy side kills any hope of that being a redeeming quality.

The only thing that saved this one even a bit was the presence of James Franco and Natalie Portman.  They both do a good job of maintaining a straight-man character while existing within the ridiculous world of Your Highness.  McBride is more irritating than anything and his comedic routine does nothing to help the story in any way.  Pretty much anyone else could have played his character and gotten better results.

It’s not the best movie in the world, but fantasy lovers may find it worth a watch when there’s nothing else on Netflix they want to see (or they happen to have had a few drinks).  The best reason to watch is, of course, Natalie Portman in a thong.  It made much of the pain endurable, in my humble opinion.

Gerard Butler's new movie bombs, but guess which movie just broke a huge record?

Weekend box office was a bit weak, but one movie continues to impress.

Did anyone head to the movie theater over the weekend? If so, what did you see? I'll tell you what you almost certainly did not see: the new romantic comedy Playing for Keeps. It seems, my fellow movie goers, that we have smarts, because Playing for Keeps just looks terrible in previews.

Another reason I think we're really smart: Skyfall, the latest installment in the James Bond movie franchise, continued to impress over the weekend. It's a fantastic film and I couldn't be happier that more and more people are seeing it. I'd hoped it wouldn't get lost in the end of the year hoopla.​

Skyfall actually reclaimed it's spot at number one at the weekend box office, taking in an additional $11 million, bringing it's total to $918 million globally. According to The Hollywood Reporter, that makes Skyfall Sony Pictures' biggest grossing film release ever. As in, ever! Impressive, yes?

I'll continue to sing the praises of Skyfall because I loved it. It's a ton of fun and again, I think it's one of the best James Bond movies I've ever seen. If you love action and glitzy glamor, this is a perfect movie choice, in my opinion.

As for the rest of the weekend box office, Rise of the Guardians came in at number two, taking in $10.5 million, followed by The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dan Part 2 with $9.2 million. Lincoln and Life of Pi rounded out the top five.

That brings us to the new rom-com Playing for Keeps, starring the aforementioned Gerard Butler and the always gorgeous Jessica Biel. Even they can't save this stinker, apparently, because Playing only managed a sixth place finish. That's a terrible debut, of course, but given the stellar movie selections out right now, I'm not surprised.

We stayed away from the theater this weekend, because no, Silver Linings Playbook is STILL not playing in our area. Ugh! I fully expect to be back in the theater very soon, with the release of The Hobbit and several other Academy Award contenders (namely Zero Dark Thirty, which looks amazing). What did you see, if anything?

The Freddy Evolution

The Man and the Monster

Freddy Krueger is one of those movie monsters that will go down in history. Decades from now people will still be talking about the Dream Warrior and his epic battle with Jason Voorhees. The Freddy that finally faced off against Jason is vastly different than the one that menaced Johnny Depp in the original Nightmare on Elm Street.


When Wes Craven started the series, he infused the character with his own dark sense of humor. Sure, Freddy is a killer and murderer, but he also controls your dreams like some psychotic sandman. Your imagination is actually his playground, so he has all those fears and other little secrets to use as fodder.


In the first movie, the humor was pretty light. They focused on the action, the dreams and his trademark one liners were few and far between. As the series went on, Freddy evolved into what the people wanted. They were tired of the silent killers like Jason and Michael Myers. They wanted someone that was vocal and actually having fun while they did. Robert Englund can be credited for creating many of Freddy's one liners.


There in was the problem. Freddy went from a serious movie villain to a stand-up comic with claws. By the time the series ended, the whole character was tongue and cheek. The reboot brought by the evil of Freddy and as the series continues, I hope they stick with it. There is nothing more pathetic than a horror monster that no one is scared of and is ridiculed and laughed at. You might as well just stick to B-Movies.