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Cinematic Captions #1

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In an effort to keep myself busy with this blog, I'm introducing a new feature which will fill the Tuesday gap. It's a fun little thing, the main purpose of which is to amuse myself, which, in turn, will amuse you, hopefully. It's a play on LOLCATZ. Pretty self explanatory, I think. Here's the first installment! Enjoy!!!


Addendum: This will become interactive. I'm just testing the waters. Chill, young grasshoppas!

Trailer Trash: Your Highness

Monday, November 29, 2010

It's time to root through some trailers. What sorts of wonderful things will be alluded to today?

Well, since you all just loved and commented the hell out of the Red Band trailer of I Love You Phillip Morris (note the sarcasm), I decided to do another one. Rejoice!

There's a prince. He's brave! There's another prince. He's an idiot! When the brave prince's virgin bride is kidnapped by a sleazy wizard, the two of them must join together on an epic quest to save her. They are joined by a hit archer who the idiot prince "thinks of" often. Stoned epicness ensues.

James Franco returns to the brand of comedy that made people start to take him seriously. He is joined by Danny McBride, who has been upgraded to a lead role after his scene stealing performances in Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder. Natalie Portman will be freaking audiences out in Black Swan this December, and then she will turn right around and crack them up as a fiery warrior who loves to strip down to her thong and bathe. Interesting. Zooey Deschanel and Justin Theroux round out the main cast as the virgin and the villain, respectively.

This trailer is hysterical! It's fairly long, giving it enough time to focus on the comedy aspects of the film, and then on the epic action aspects of the film. Pineapple Express did a good, if messy, job of balancing stoner comedy with urban action, and since fantasy and weed don't usually mix, Your Highness (see what they did there) should prove to be a breath of fresh air. The trailer would have you believe that it's a raunchy, vulgar piece of comedy, and I'm inclined to believe them.

RIP Leslie Nielson

Sunday, November 28, 2010



1926-2010

You will be missed!

Selected readings 11/28/10

Interesting reading and news items.

Please leave some comments that indicate which articles you find most interesting or that identify topics you would like to read about, and I will try to include more articles of a similar nature in the future

These items are also bookmarked at my Diigo account.


Bad seeds, bad science, and fairly black cats?
Geneticists have failed to remind the public what the word “genetic” actually means. Heritability implies that gene and environment work, or might be persuaded to work, together. Why, after all, are taxpayers spending money on the double helix if there is no hope of an environmental intervention—a drug, a change in lifestyle, or cancer surgery after the early diagnosis of a somatic mutation—to help those at risk from what they inherit? Everyone in the trade knows this although they fail to mention it except to their first-year undergraduate classes. Transcripts of their lectures should be sent out with every press release. [The Lancet, 10/23/10]

Cancer’s little helpers
No one would have predicted a decade ago that these microRNAs, as the hairpins are called, were involved in cancer, because no one even knew that they existed in people. Mere snippets of RNA — DNA’s underappreciated cousin — these micromolecules are about 22 chemical letters long. But their size belies their power. [Science News, 8/28/10]

Hogan’s holometer: Testing the hypothesis of a holographic universe
In 2008, Fermilab particle astrophysicist Craig Hogan made waves with a mind-boggling proposition: The 3D universe in which we appear to live is no more than a hologram. Now he is building the most precise clock of all time to directly measure whether our reality is an illusion. [Symmetry Breaking, 10/20/10]

The Brain That Changed Everything
When a surgeon cut into Henry Molaison's skull to treat him for epilepsy, he inadvertently created the most important brain-research subject of our time — a man who could no longer remember, who taught us everything we know about memory. Six decades later, another daring researcher is cutting into Henry's brain. Another revolution in brain science is about to begin. [Esquire, 10/25/10]

How Big is the Unobservable Universe?
Based on what we currently think about inflation, this means that the Universe is at least 10^(1030) times the size of our observable Universe! And good luck living long enough to even write that number down. ... All that we know, see, and observe is just one tiny region that slid down that hill fast enough to end inflation, but most of it just keeps on inflating forever and ever. [Starts with a Bang!, 10/27/10]

Revealing the galaxy’s dark side
“In our paper, we discussed a number of astrophysical possibilities for the origin of the signal, including a population of pulsars, cosmic ray interactions and emission from our galaxy's supermassive black hole,” notes Hooper. “And in the end, no combination of any astrophysical sources could give us the signal we’re seeing,” he adds. “Eventually we just got fed up and concluded there doesn’t seem to be a way to explain the signal except for one thing — we tried dark matter and it fit beautifully without any special bells or whistles.” [Science News, 11/20/10]

When Muons Collide
A new type of particle collider known as a muon collider considered a wild idea a decade ago is winning over skeptics as scientists find solutions to the machine's many technological challenges. [Symmetry, 10/1/10]

We all need (a little bit of) sex
Sex costs amazing amounts of time and energy. Just take birds of paradise touting their tails, stags jousting with their antlers or singles spending their weekends in loud and sweaty bars. Is sex really worth all the effort that we, sexual species, collectively put into it? [Scientific American, 11/2/10]

Glia: The new frontier in brain science
Glia, in contrast to neurons, are brain cells that do not generate electrical impulses, and there are a lot of them—85 percent of the cells in the brain. Yet, these cells have been largely neglected for 100 years. I call this new frontier of neuroscience "The Other Brain," because we are only now beginning to explore it. The new findings are expanding our concept of information processing in the brain. They are leading rapidly to new treatments for diseases ranging from spinal cord injury to brain cancer to chronic pain, and Alzheimer's disease. [Scientific American, 11/4/10]

Extra neutrino flavor could be bitter end to Standard Model
What seems to have caught everyone's attention is the suggestion that this might be evidence of what are called sterile neutrinos. Although regular neutrinos barely interact with matter, sterile neutrinos can only interact via gravity, which (if they exist) is what has allowed them to escape our detection to date. Since they'd also be heavier than the regular neutrinos, they would make good dark matter candidates. [Nobel Intent, 11/2/10]

The Neanderthal Romeo and Human Juliet hypothesis
Scientists have had trouble reconciling data from analyses of human mitochondrial DNA and the male Y chromosome. Analyses of human mitochondrial DNA indicate that we all share a common female ancestor 170,000 years ago. Analyses of the Y chromosome indicate that we share a common male ancestor 59,000 years ago. How can we account for the idea that our common grandmother is 111,000 years older than our common grandfather? [Neuroanthropology, 10/26/10]

An idle brain may be the self's workshop
As neuroscientists study the idle brain, some believe they are exploring a central mystery in human psychology: where and how our concept of "self" is created, maintained, altered and renewed. After all, though our minds may wander when in this mode, they rarely wander far from ourselves, as Mrazek's mealtime introspection makes plain. [Los Angeles Times, 8/30/10]

Determining 500th Alien Planet Will Be a Tricky Task
At NASA's last count, astronomers had confirmed the discovery of 494 planets around alien suns. There are signs of dozens more, if not hundreds, but it will take time to weed out which of the detections are actual worlds and which are merely false alarms. [Space.com, 11/11/10]

Tracking Viruses Back in Time
How long have viruses been around? No one knows. Scientists at Portland State University have begun taking the first steps toward answering this question. [Astrobiology, 9/6/10]

Can a 1960s Approach Unify Gravity with the Rest of Physics?
In July mathematicians and physicists met at the Banff International Research Station in Alberta, Canada, to discuss a return to the golden age of particle physics. They were harking back to the 1960s, when physicist Murray Gell-Mann realized that elementary particles could be grouped according to their masses, charges and other properties, falling into patterns that matched complex symmetrical mathematical structures known as Lie groups. [Scientific American, 9/7/10]

Neuroscience: Settling the great glia debate
The consequences of this 'gliotransmission' could be profound. The human brain contains roughly equal numbers of glia and neurons (about 85 billion of each), and any given astrocyte can make as many as 30,000 connections with cells around it. If glia are involved in signalling, processing in the brain turns out to be an order of magnitude more complex than previously expected, says Andrea Volterra, who studies astrocytes at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Neuroscientists, who have long focused on the neuron, he says, would have to revise everything. [Nature News, 11/10/10]

This Is Your Brain on Metaphors
Symbols, metaphors, analogies, parables, synecdoche, figures of speech: we understand them. We understand that a captain wants more than just hands when he orders all of them on deck. We understand that Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” isn’t really about a cockroach. If we are of a certain theological ilk, we see bread and wine intertwined with body and blood. We grasp that the right piece of cloth can represent a nation and its values, and that setting fire to such a flag is a highly charged act. [New York Times, 11/14/10]

Tree or ring: the origin of complex cells
All complex life belongs to a single group called the eukaryotes, whose members, from humans to amoebas, share a common ancestry. Their cells are distinguished by having several internal compartments, including the nucleus, which shelters their precious DNA, and the mitochondria, which provide them with power. [Not Exactly Rocket Science, 9/12/10]

I am virus – animal genomes contain more fossil viruses than ever expected
Your closest fossils are inside you, scattered throughout your genome. They are the remains of ancient viruses, which shoved their genes among those of our ancestors. There they remained, turning into genetic fossils that still lurk in our genomes to this day. [Not Exactly Rocket Science, 11/18/10]

Effective Field Theory
"Effective field theory" is a technical term within quantum field theory, but it is associated with a more informal notion of extremely wide applicability. Namely: if we imagine dividing the world into "what happens at very short, microscopic distances" and "what happens at longer, macroscopic distances," then it is possible to consistently describe the macroscopic world without referring to (or even understanding) the microscopic world. [Cosmic Variance, 11/25/10]

Meet a superpartner at the LHC
Of the many ideas for new physics that can be tested at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), supersymmetry is one of the most promising. The theory proposes that each fundamental fermion particle has a heavier bosonic superpartner (and vice versa for each fundamental boson) and by doing so, offers an extension of the standard model of particle physics that fixes many of its problems. None of the known particles appear to be superpartners, however, which leads to the daunting conclusion that if supersymmetry is correct, there are more than twice as many fundamental particles as we thought, but we have only been left with the lightest partners; that is, supersymmetry is broken. [Physics, 11/22/10]

Mafia Wars
An increasing amount of data is showing that the cellular battle between pathogens and hosts needs much more than a simple military metaphor to describe it—think undercover infiltration, front organizations, and forced suicide. [The Scientist, 6/1/10]


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At the Halfway Mark...

Friday, November 26, 2010

It's never easy to say goodbye. You've been a part of the journey; you've experienced so much together. You grew collectively over the years, but the end is upon us. It's never easy, but this is especially hard. The story of Harry Potter has been a part of pretty much everyone's life for the past fifteen or so years. What started as fun, imaginative children's book blossomed into one of the greatest fantasy epics ever, which, in turn, grew into the most intense cinematic venture of all time. Now, we are at the end. The world of Harry Potter will be put to rest  after this. But, first, we have Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. 


On the run!

Following the death of Dumbledore, Harry decides that a return to Hogwarts is no longer an option. He, Ron, and Hermione drop out, sever all ties to their families and loved ones, and go on the hunt for the remaining Horcruxes, the pieces of Voldemort's soul that he split from his body in order to make himself immortal. As they bum around the country, emotions flare, and the bond between the three friends is seriously tested. They also come under constant attack from Voldemort's supporters, who are everywhere. Nowhere is safe.

Since the decision was made to split the final book in JK Rowling's series into two parts, the filmmakers didn't need to worry about cutting stuff out. Everything that was in the first half of the book is here for your viewing pleasure. The only issue with this is that there are some things that aren't explained for people who have only seen the movies (all .5 of them). For example, the mirror. Very important in the book, and it plays its role in the film, but since it wasn't set up when it first appeared in the canon, its a little confusing. Small qualm though. Everyone's read the books, so they should be on board. The plot moves at an incredibly fast clip, continually building tension and keeping a foreboding feel throughout the entire film. It's very engrossing.

The three actors that we've grown up with have grown up as well. They've consistently gotten better with each film, but they are on a whole new level with Deathly Hallows. The stakes are raised in the story, so they all raised their game as well. Daniel Radcliffe plays Harry to perfection, doing away with the last dregs of the whiney bitch he had turned him into in the last few films. He can actually cry convincingly. REJOICE!! Rupert Grint also fares much better than usual as Ron. This might have something to do with the fact that the writer actually decided to make Ron like he was in the book instead of the buffoon he's become in the movies, but Grint really took it to a new level here. Emma Watson is still the strongest as Hermione. She was always very good, and played the role better than could have been hoped for, but, like her two counter parts, she is playing at a new level.

The supporting roles that we've come to love are pushed far into the sidelines with this one, as the plot of the first half Rowling's book focused only on the trio. Alan Rickman has one scene as Snape then disappears for the rest of the thing. Same with Bonnie Wright's Ginny, David Thewlis' Lupin, Robbie Coltraine's Hagrid, and Clemence Posey's Fleur.

Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Issacs, and Tom Felton show up a bit more as the Death Eaters that dog Harry and Co, but Ralph Fiennes is the one who gets the most screen time outside of the main three. As Voldemort, he's done away with some the bravado and has really worked at making the Dark Lord a truly evil villain! It's a much job than we last saw, perfectly fitting with the darker tone of this film.

Performances in Harry Potter films have always been a conundrum. The veteran British actors they get to support the main three are always fantastic, but the kids have tended to leave something to be desired. With Deathly Hallows, the tables have been turned. The kids are more than capable of holding their own with their elders. It's quite nice to see, actually. Don't fret too hard about everyone else being pushed to the side for Part 1. They will all get their chance to shine in Part 2. 

Shazam!

Director David Yates completely redeemed himself for Order of the Phoenix with Half-Blood Prince, and he does himself one better with Deathly Hallows: Part 1. This is easily the second best of the series, coming so close to unseating Prisoner of Azkaban as the absolute creme de la creme. This is the darkest Harry Potter film, by far! With Voldemort finally completing his ascension to power, everything is different. Everyone is in danger! Death Eaters streak across the sky, looking for the trio. The threat of attack by "snatchers" is always prevalent. Dementors are hiding in the Ministry of Magic waiting to pounce. Killing curses fly left and right. Yates does a fantastic job upping the ante with this film. This is no longer a story for kids. He even includes a sex scene, of sorts, but it's nothing worth writing home about. It's actually a smart idea on his part. You'll see.

As the trailer alludes to, the action in Deathly Hallows has been ramped up significantly. There are multiple action-packed set pieces throughout the entire two and half hour run time, and all are handled very well. One thing that I really give Yates credit for is his showing of the effect the wizard war has on the Muggle world. He gave us a small taste when he showed a group of Death Eaters smashing London's Millennium Bridge, and goes even farther here. The first big action scene involves a crazed chase through the streets of London, and the cost of Muggle life is very clear. Cars are thrown of the road. Buildings are damaged. In the end, an entire power plant is destroyed by the conflict, killing all the lights for miles around. It brings a lot of real world gravitas to this fantasy epic.

So, I'm raving about this film. So, why am I disappointed with it? Well, the ending, obviously. Not that I had a problem with the ending; it's a good place to cut it. No. I had a problem with the fact that it ended at all. I was fully engrossed, and wanted to see more and more and more. But, I can't. I have to wait for July. RAGE!!! This is only half the story, and, honestly, Deathly Hallows: Part 1 feels more like a set-up for Part 2 than anything.

But, don't let that dissuade you. Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is a fantastic movie. Exciting, riveting, with good acting and a aesthetic touch unlike anything out there, this is the movie to steal your money this holiday season. It's only half the story, but, I gotta say. If Part 2 can adequately follow up with Part 1 has done, Oscar 2012 better watch out, cuz Harry Potter and friends will no doubt clean that place out!


Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com

Glee Review: Furt

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh how I wish I could shove a knife into Karofsky and twist it!

Glee has gotten pretty serious this past season, hasn't it? What was once a cheesy little musical serial that delighted in the high school cliches has now become a brutally honest look at what it is like to grow up and, pardon the expression, face the music. This week was a continuation of that trend.

Furt begins with Burt and Carol telling Finn and Kurt that they are engaged, meaning that Kurt will become Finn's brother for real. Surprisingly, Finn actually seems ok with this new development, or, if he's not, he does a good job of hiding it, since he doesn't want to spoil his mom's happiness. They grow up so fast!

Meanwhile, Kurt is still being tortured by Karofsky in the halls, and the club has finally had enough. Mike, Artie, and Sam all stand up to him in the locker room, and all get severely beat down. Puck is all for joining in, but, he's still on probation, and is not looking to go back to juvie. Finn, on the other hand, has no good excuse for not standing up for Kurt. Once again, he is obsessed with being cool and keeping his standing in the social hierarchy of the school, so much so that he won't help Kurt. I don't know about you, but if one of my friends was being tortured like that, fuck social standing! Whoever the culprit is better watch out cuz I'll take him down!

Whew, sorry. Let my emotions get away from me. Where were we?

There is a Sue plot line, but, honestly, it's pretty friggin' stupid. The half assed attempt to make Sue look even more self centered would have been solid gold, and would have done a lot to alleviate the stress of this thematically dark episode, if she wasn't as level headed as she was in the rest of the episode. This is the sweetest we've ever seen Sue when she's not interacting with Jean. The way she resigns her position as principal and vows to keep an eye on Kurt to make sure Karofsky doesn't pull any more shit is legitimately heart warming. So, why the stupid plot about her marrying herself? It was an excuse to bring Carol Burnet, who plays Sue's Nazi hunting mother. Unlike last week's inspired guest appearance by Gwyneth Paltrow, the addition of Burnet to this episode just seemed tired, like the writers didn't care enough. She comes on, sings a song, and then Sue tells her off for being a bitch. Could've seen that coming from a mile away.


Music wise, this episode was weak, but, for the first time this season, I didn't care. The story was clear focus of this episode. The writers were more interested in furthering characters than they were in entertaining with song, and, unlike the tepid Never Been Kissed, they took the story telling to a whole new level in order to make up for lack on fun songs. With the exception of the Sue plot, the writing on display here is some of the best Glee has had so far. This should be the episode the producers submit to the Emmys for consideration. The resolution of the whole Kurt/Karofsky thing was a long time coming, and, God Damn, was it heart breaking. Sam and Quinn finally become a real couple, with an emphasis on the real. And to see the guys stand up to Karofsky like that was some of the rawest acting to come out of anyone so far in the series.

On a character note, Karofsky. I can honestly say I have never hated a character as much as I hate him. Seriously! Props to Max Adler for going all out with this character, giving us every despicable detail about him. He doesn't seem like a caricature of a confused bully, he's a real person, and Adler plays him exceptionally well.

The ending of this episode is incredibly sad, despite the revelry that was previously seen at the wedding. It's what's best for Kurt, and even though it pains him to leave McKinley and New Directions, to stay would have been the death of him, especially after the school board refuses to expel Karofsky. I had a major problem with Rachel in that last scene. "Are you going to be competing with us at sectionals?" Come on girl! One of your best friend's is leaving you. No one's that shallow!

Can't wait to see how the club is gonna punish Karofsky after this! Dude better watch out. Something tells Finn is out for blood and Puck doesn't care about juvie any more!

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Happy Turkey Genocide Day Everyone!!!!!!!!

According to the Movies #18

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If the movies say it, it must be true.

The following lesson probably applies to a whole slew of movies, but, I can't seem to think of them. Sorry. I just started Thanksgiving break, I'm allowed to not think!

In the movies, you have your hero, and you have your villains. It's always very fun when said hero is a former member of said group of villains. The main movie I'm talking about right now is Ninja Assassin. See, here's the thing. The villains are a very dangerous bunch. They can kill countless good guys and cause all types of carnage. But, when they fight the hero, they can't do shit! The movie gods have imbibed the hero with supreme skill over his former comrades. In Ninja Assassin, Raizo is an unstoppable force when it comes to dispatching of his ninja brethren. They ninjas he kills are very adept at killing cops, innocent bystanders, and people the movie doesn't consider important enough to capitalize on. However, when they face Raizo, they are completely helpless. He cuts bloody swath after bloody swath through them, barely flinching as he does.

The Lesson: If the hero suddenly finds himself fighting his former comrades, he can take heart. He will suddenly find himself to be far more capable at dispatching foes than any of his opponents, even though, when they were allies, they were matched. Does that make any sense at all? Screw you! It's not supposed to!

Movie Videos & Movie Scenes at MOVIECLIPS.com

Trailer Trash: Green Lantern

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's time to root through some trailers. What sorts of wonderful things will be alluded to today?

One of the annoying things about having this feature on Monday is that is about as far from the day new trailers are released as I could possibly have made it. When a new trailer comes out, I usually have a good 4-5 days before I'm scheduled to write about it. By then, all my blogging buddies have given their two cents, so when I post it, it's as if I'm arriving late to the party. I mean, I could always move the feature to a different day, but that would throw my whole schedule out of whack, so I'm not gonna do that, especially since I've gotten comfortable with it.

So, why the bitching? I don't know. I guess it's too explain myself for posting something about this trailer so late. It was released, like, last Wednesday, and since then, Hatter, Travis, and others have dished on it. Now it's my turn.

Green Lantern is based on the DC comic of the same name. It concerns Hal Jordan, who is entrusted with a mystical and powerful ring one day and tasked with using its power to defend the universe as a Green Lantern. He is then whisked away on an epic journey to alien worlds, where he learns how to use the ring, and then returns to Earth to face off with an enemy with less than good intentions.

Ryan Reynolds is Jordan. Ok, he could be good, but I'm a little skeptical. Any superhero movie that Reynolds has been in has been unmitigated shit far. Blade: Trinity? How bout X-Men Origins: Wolverine? You get the idea. Granted, he's taking the lead here, instead of being relegated to the back burner, but still. His reputation suggests something tepid. Other people that show up are Mark Strong, playing the bad guy again, and Peter Sarsgaard as... someone. This cast is talented, but it's a superhero movie not directed by Christopher Nolan. I'm going in with tempered expectations.

This trailer is sweet, but nowhere near as awesome as I thought it would be, given what I've read on IGN and such about the film. None of the action scenes shown really did anything for me. Honestly, I thought there'd be more destruction on display. The alien worlds look sweet, but shockingly cartoonish for a film with such a ridiculous budget. The ring effects look cool. My verdict on whether or not this film is going to be worth going to on opening weekend is still out, but, if the next trailers are like this one, I'm gonna be disappointed.

Disturbing climate change headlines

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yesterday Tom Yulsman at CEJournal came across a story in Fog City Journal that led to a brief post, on which I commented there.

The topic is the fraught question of what's the best way for scientists to respond to global warming Know-Nothingism. My first comment was followed by a response from Tom, and I've responded with a longer note that seems worth sharing here. It turns out that there is a great deal that needs to be said.

What follows is my second response, more or less verbatim.

Tom, I've read the Revkin article and the Feinberg/Willer paper. [See the press release for quick summary.] Thanks for the references. However, I don't find them very persuasive. Apologies in advance for the length of this note.

The Feinberg/Willer paper is based on the social psychology circle of ideas known as "Just World Theory" (JWT). Curiously, the book of the "founder" of JWT, Melvin Lerner, is entitled The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion. Unfortunately, I don't have ready access to that volume, but I note that there is no question mark in the title, so I don't know whether Lerner himself actually regarded the underlying "just world" belief as a delusion.

Although the underlying belief that JWT deals with seems philosophically controversial (at best), JWT itself simply asserts that "many people" have this belief, and that certain consequences follow. One thing that concerns me is whether substantial evidence has been developed that quantifies how many people hold the underlying belief in the world's justness. At most it seems like just one dimension in a multidimensional space of belief systems.

It's clear enough that many people have religious beliefs that are incompatible with the idea that a "just" deity would allow the kind of climate developments that science predicts, and so such people deny the science. But that's a pretty broad feature of religion in general – it denies many kinds of science that clash with religion. So what's science supposed to do – give up and say, "Oops. we aren't really predicting what the evidence strongly indicates"?

The Feinberg/Willer paper argues that certain sorts of positive messages increase subjects' acceptance of the ideas (1) that the scientific evidence for global warming is good and (2) that science can find solutions to the problem. In other words, these messages are pro-science in a feel-good, non-threatening way. So of course it's not too surprising that the subjects who heard these messages exhibited greater acceptance of scientific conclusions. This is basic marketing theory.

One problem is that the part of the message that says science can find a "solution" to the problem is likely to be false. It's probable that there is no largely scientific solution. Mitigation of climate change is probably much more of an economic and political issue, because significant behavioral change and economic adjustment are likely to be necessary. Of course, this assertion is also open to debate.

I think that the best science has actually discovered a lot that suggests the threat of climate change is even more dire than some cautious observers assume. There is, for example, this: summary of ten rather disturbing types of climate threat reported in the past year.

You [Tom] wrote, "30 years of unrelenting fear appeals on climate change have gotten us, well, where? I would argue pretty much nowhere. If ever there was a prima facie case that fear appeals on climate change don’t work, this is it."

I'm afraid that by the very same sort of argument, 30 years of attempts to patiently and rationally educate the public on the science of climate change have also failed.

The real problem is that what's actually true is that different approaches work best with different types of people, depending on their undelying personality types and value systems. For example see Skeptics discount science by casting doubts on scientist expertise or the paper it discusses – Cultural cognition of scientific consensus.

One of the individuals that Revkin quotes in his article, Dan Kahan at Yale [and a founder of the Yale Cultural Cognition Project], states the problem quite well:
I think it [Feinberg/Willer] is good research, and maybe captures something that is going on in the real world debate. But it doesn’t capture what’s most important: the source of individual differences. People disagree about climate change; it is one of a cluster of science & policy issues that polarize citizens along cultural/political lines. "Just world" theory posits a general psychological mechanism that affects everyone. Necessarily, then, it can’t explain why one and the same set of informational influences (e.g., stories reporting "scientific consensus" on climate change) provoke different reactions in identifiable subcommunities. The theory that we need is one that identifies what the identifying characteristics of these communities are and how they are implicated in cognition of risk. No theory that focuses of [sic] generic or population-wide aspects of the psychology of risk perception (so-called "main effects") can do that.

In other words, a lot more needs to be done to steer public attitudes in the right direction. It is not a matter of simply finding the most comforting feel-good way to "frame" the issue, if that just entails obscuring the hard scientific facts. That is a vain hope.

I don't have a solution of the problem, but I think a solution should include a careful evidence-based appraisal of the kinds of messages that work best with different groups, combined with a plan for how to deliver the messages through different channels appropriate for different groups.

It's a lot like any other tough political campaign. Sometimes "negative" campaigning works very well, sometimes it doesn't.

I can see what's going on here. There are obviously efforts being made by a broad range of social scientists, communication experts, and journalists to shape an effective messaging strategy. For example: ClimateEngage.org. This is probably good. What is not clear is whether the people most involved will be able to identify a near-optimal strategy.

Just to name names, Matthew Nisbet [also here, here] (whom Revkin also quotes) is one with whom I find a lot to disagree – such as the whole "post-partisan" shtick. The elephant in the room is that most opponents of the necessity of acting on climate change – to say nothing of those who deny it even exists and/or is anthropogenic – have no intentions of operating in a reasonable and responsible "post-partisan" fashion.

There really is a war going on here. Climate scientists who don't face up to this reality are going to get the crap beat out of them. Just ask Phil Jones or Michael Mann [more here], for example. Much like Lt. Colonel George Custer at the Little Big Horn.

Off With Their Heads

Horror is a fickle little bitch, ain't it? These days, it's all about the BLOOD, whereas, way back in the day, it was all about the atmosphere! Since we are usually treated to films that specialize in one of those aspects, be it the gore (Saw), or atmosphere (The Ring), it is a very nice surprise when we get a film that specializes in both. Sleepy Hollow is such a film. Tim Burton's moody take on the William Irving's famous legend mixes things up a little bit, changing the origin of the main character, and bringing in a healthy dose of the supernatural. Though some qualms pain me, Sleepy Hollow is wonderfully atmospheric and legitimately unsettling film. It also goes overboard with the decapitations. Not necessarily a bad thing, but...

Edward Sweeney Scissorhands Wonka Hatter

Constable Ichabod Crane is something of an outcast amongst the keepers of the law in 1799 NYC. He is man of science, but his superiors are big proponents of "old" methods. To bring Crane around to their side, his bosses send him to the town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a string of murders that have occurred there. Apparently, the murders are of otherworldly origin. Crane, ever the pessimist, is convinced that the culprit is of flesh and blood, and is determined to unmask him. However, once he arrives at Sleepy Hollow, he is disturbed by the scene he finds. As he becomes enamored with the town elder's daughter, Katrina, and builds relationships with the other members of the town, he discovers that there is more to the killings than meets the eye, and soon, he is thrust into a fight for his life against a supernatural foe that he is not prepared for.

As reinterpretations go, Sleepy Hollow elegantly walks the fine line of being faithful while bring new stuff to the table. Though significantly more in the realm of "horror" than its source material, Sleepy Hollow still manages to stay true to Irving's story. All the characters are there, albeit slightly changed -Crane was a school teacher in the original, the same mood of dread and uncertainty is kept, and writer Andrew Kevin Walker even found time to include the famous prank with the jack-o-lantern. There're plot holes, and the final twist(s) are just thrown at us willy nilly in the last ten minutes or so. There is no real build up of suspense. The bad guy is revealed in the end, and it is so far out of left field that it doesn't really carry any weight. That being said, there are plenty of startling moments, some sweet action scenes, and some truly unsettling imagery. It is a Burton film after all, and a violent one at that. 

Johnny Depp is Crane. Depp is not far form his usual eccentric roles with this one. It's actually kind of a lazy performance, by his standards. His Crane is neurotic, weird, slightly flamboyant, easily scared, as when he witnesses a spider in his room, and quite clueless at the outset, as when he tries to ride a horse. That being said, Depp is still pretty solid in the role. It's not that much of a challenge for him, but that gives him space to maneuver and experiment. It's no Rochester, but it ain't no Sweeney Todd neither. 

Christina Ricci is Katrina, Crane's muse. She fares pretty well, which is saying something for Ricci, an actress who is constantly floundering in her films, at the mercy of actors far greater than her. As Katrina, she does a good job playing up the innocence whilst keeping up an air of mystery about her. Her character's motivations are not meant to be obvious, and she does a good job with this quality, despite the fact you know instantly where she is headed. 

Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), Jeffery Jones (Ed Rooney), Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine), and Richard Griffiths (Mr. Dursley) all show up as town elders, hamming it up until their respective meetings with their maker. Miranda Richardson is oh so creepy as the female elder, and Christopher Walken is awesome as the Headless Horseman, despite the fact we rarely ever get to see his face. 

Performances are not Sleepy Hollow's strong suit. While not terrible by any means, we are accustomed to far better work from everyone involved. Granted, Depp and Ricci do good jobs, but everyone else is missing that certain something.

Neigh...
Director Tim Burton is best thing about this movie. For every shortcoming that the performances present, Burton more than makes up for it with his unique eye for the sombre. Under Burton's hand, Sleepy Hollow is a wonderfully moody and atmospheric film! There's an ever present air of fear and paranoia saturating every scene, so much so that it almost becomes overbearing, but for every dark moment Burton brings, he usually pairs it with somewhat light moment. That oddball sense of humor that has defined Burton films, and especially ones where he works with Depp is here in full force. There are some really funny moments in here, which do a lot to alleviate your spirits from the incredibly dark material.

Finally, there is a healthy dose of action in here, certainly a lot for a Burton movie not involving apes or Batman. The final confrontation between Crane and the bad guys is a tense carriage chase complete with lots of pyrotechnics, plenty of close calls, and a good amount of sword play. The blood flows like wine in this one; there are some really gory scenes in the mix. But, this is a horror movie of a higher class than the ones we are accustomed to these days; the blood is there for effect, and is not overdone in the slightest. 

Sleepy Hollow is pretty decent as far as modern day horror films go. While certainly better than dreck like Hostel or Saw, it has aspirations to join the likes 28 Days Later... and The Ring as truly great, atmospheric, modern horror flicks. It fails in this regard. Though it is masterfully directed by Burton, less than average performances from most of the people involved bring down the overall product. You should still seek it out, and since it's on DVD and such, it's very easily available. It's not perfect, but it's not awful by any means. It's more of a flesh wound than a full capitation, something that you'll heal from in couple of days. Not so bad, all things considered. 



It's Good To Have Friends

Friday, November 19, 2010

Isn't it?

This past week, I strolled down to my mailbox in the Campus Center here on Bard Campus. After getting it open, I happened upon a little something-something from a certain someone-someone. Hatter had alluded to a gift of sorts that would be finding its way to me at some point as a thank you for putting up with a Matineecast recording session mired by technical issues up the wazoo. Unfortunately, Hatter's big move to a stylish new crib postponed the mailing of said gift, and, since its college, and I was in a show, and I have work, and I'm busy, and I'm tired, and I have a social life outside of this blog (crazy, right?), I briefly forgot about the incoming present. So, imagine my surprise when I found a nice little package sitting in my box, from a certain mad person. What was it you ask?

A DVD copy of Moulin Rouge!!

SAWEEEEEEEET!!!! I was very excited about that. Not only am I now privy to all the juicy extras, but now I can watch it legally!! YAY!!! Thanks Hatter. You da man!!! Here's a special furry just for you!!! This is a bunny!

Meow?

Glee Review: The Substitute

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I say. Those casting people sure do know how to attract the talent.

There's a disease spreading through the halls of McKinley. Strangely enough, this new strain of "monkey flu" only seems to effect people who pose a threat to Sue. Maybe she bioengineered it to attain her goals, which is totally something she would do. Anyway, Will comes down with it and is forced to take a sick leave. Enter the substitute, the comically named Holly Holiday. Not only does she take over in Will's Spanish class, but she also takes the reins of the glee club, much to the chagrin of Rachel, who was hoping to lead the club in Will's absence. Holiday is a big proponent of letting the kids do the songs they want, a big change of pace form Will, who is still looking for a Journey song that the club hasn't performed yet.

As this power struggle plays out, we see Kurt and Blaine's relationship progress, albeit through the eyes of a ticked off Mercedes. It's nice to see Kurt finally have someone to relate to and chat with, but, God Damn, he was dick to Mercedes in this episode. Mercedes thing with the tater tots was pretty stupid, but, as with everything in this episode, was taken to such glorious heights of ridiculousness that it is easily overlooked. The plotline that saw Will and Terri briefly reconcile was also interesting, and handled better than any other  plotline between the two so far in the series.

But, the main focus was Mrs. Holiday, and boy was it a good focus! Gwyneth Paltrow guest stars as the substitute, but it's not a just a movie star cameo designed to ring some extra viewers. I mean, the total viewing population of Glee is probably bigger than some countries, so, they aren't exactly starved for an audience. Paltrow is fantastic as this spunky, fun loving, but ultimately damaged woman. She's hilarious, but also heartbreaking. And damn, can that woman sing!!


The songs this week were also a big step up from last week. They were all exciting, interesting, and each brought something new to the table. The "clean" version of Cee Lo's "Fuck You", as sung by Paltrow, was great, as was her and Rachel's rendition of "Nowadays" from Chicago. Will's and Mike's reimagining of "Make Em' Laugh" from Singing in the Rain was hysterical, and the last song, a mashup of "Singing in the Rain" and Rhianna's "Umberella" was the best song so far this season, and the dancing on the number absolutely killed!

"The Substitute" is, hands down, the best Glee episode of the season, and certainly one of the best of the whole series, ranking right up there with "Dream On", "Journey" and the pilot as the strongest of the bunch. There's talk of making Paltrow's character a regular. I don't know how I feel about that, but, for the time we spent with her this week, it was absolutely wonderful.

Also, how awesome was it seeing Beiste burn Sue when she tries to disband the football team with a "But then who are your Cheerios gonna cheer for?" Priceless.

So, now that Paltrow is out of the way, who's next for big name guest star? Javier Bardem is on the list, and Stamos and Chenoweth are sure to make reappearances. I don't care about any of those; I only care about one of them. Please let the rumors about Bruce Springsteen guesting the show be true. Please let be true. If The Boss were on Glee, so many dreams would come true!

According to the Movies #17

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

If the movies say it, it must be true.

So, I'm going to take a break from balls to the wall action films and focus on something a bit more tame for this week's lesson. There's a trend in romantic comedies that dictates that the two leads cannot spend the entire movie together, instead being forced apart only to see the error of their ways and reunite in the end. In High Fidelity, Rob breaks up with Laura in the beginning, and then gets back with her in the end. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (which is a romantic comedy. Shut up!), Joel and Clementine break it off, only to reconcile in the end. In (500) Days of Summer, Tom and Summer break it off and then... well, they don't get back together, but screw you! Movies need some conflict, right?



The Lesson: If you are a couple in a romantic comedy, prepare for hard times. You will break it off at some point, but will most likely get back together in the end. Sorry. Audiences these days would just get bored if there wasn't anything to challenge the love of their two stars. That's modern day consumerism for ya. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

And It Was So...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The URL has been changed!
Rejoice!
If you are reading this, then you are aware, and you should totally add it to your blogroll/favorites.
Ok, that's all.
Be sure to pick up your gift bags from the caribou outside.
Ciao tutti!

Addendum: Ok, so, this is kinda embarrassing. I went to register the domain fromtheblackhole.blogspot.com, and I find, much to my chagrin, that there is already a blog with that URL. The person who registered said URL has not written anything for the blog since its inception. Pisses me off, but whatever. So, slight adjustment. Here's the new URL.

fromthesupermassive.blogspot.com

I don't like people sometimes. Really, I don't...

Trailer Trash: Battle: Los Angeles

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's time to root through some trailers. What sorts of wonderful things will alluded to today?

It seems LA is the new New York City when it comes to alien invasions. Just this weekend we had Skyline, and alien actioner set in the city of angels. Too bad everyone says it sucks. What will save us? Los Angeles should be able to provide great backdrops of extra-terrestrial carnage. What will provide it in kind?

Battle: Los Angeles, apparently. Concerning a group of soldiers tasked with repelling an alien invasion in the glamorous city, Battle: Los Angeles is shot guerilla style, hoping to evoke such films as District 9, Cloverfield, and others. It looks pretty promising, especially when you consider the talent on display. Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, and Michael Pena all lend their talents to this sci-fi romp.

This trailer is sick. No dialogue is spoken. Instead, we are only shown choice images of the city's destruction and the ensuing conflict set to Johann Johannsson's "Sun Gone Dim". It's an effective marketing method that alludes to a more subtle approach to this flick, but the shots in this trailer make it out to be a hyper intense, violent as hell thriller. Maybe it'll be both. Either way, I'm super excited for this one. Only a couple of months till LA is destroyed again. Can't wait.

Poll Results: The URL Change

Sunday, November 14, 2010

You have spoken. I hereby obey.

The final stage of the blog overhaul is complete. Y'all have voted on the URL change, and the winner is here. The new URL is...

fromtheblackhole.blogspot.com

Thanks to everyone who voted (all seven of you). I'm not going to change the URL in three days time. I'm giving you this heads up so as to give everyone some time to re-add it to their blogrolls and such. Ok, well, that was fun, wasn't it?

Time for another animal. This is a woodchuck. 

Suck on dis!

70741 |)0/\/\!|\|47!0|\|

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Title Translation: Total Domination in leetspeak... I am such a geek...

Slowly, but surely, I'm overcoming the challenges of being a film blogger who is suddenly thrown into an area where theaters are not exactly easy to come by. You know all those movies that were huge at the end of the summer that were conspicuously absent from this blog? Well, blame Leon Botstein for that. Anyway, as the movies I missed slowly start to trickle out onto DVD, I, like a fiendish feline (alliteration FTW), pounce on them all. There are a few which have still eluded my grasp, but, the big kahuna has finally found its way into my hands. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was on my short list of films that absolutely had to be seen this past summer. My prediction was right; Scott Pilgrim was great. As a guy who is pretty well versed in video game culture and no so secretly digs on the whole power ups, levels, and boss fights thing, this was film was something of a godsend. And now that I've seen it, I'm finally going to jump in line behind y'all with my verdict. Im slow to the draw, but, what do you want from me? I'm young.

Epically Epic On An Epic Scale Of Epicness!!!

So, there's this guy, named Scott Pilgrim, who lives in the mysterious and magical land of Toronto, Canada. He plays bass in an unsigned indie band with two friends, lives with another friend, is a total slacker, and, at the start of the movie, has just begun dating a high school student. Not the nicest sounding of individuals, if I do say so myself, but, whatever. One day, Pilgrim meets the literal girl of his dreams. She is Ramona Flowers, a ultra hip American whose hair color seemingly changes daily. He starts dating her, and everything looks to be grand and lovely. Well, unfortunately for Scott, Ramona carries some serious, and I mean SERIOUS, baggage. All her past exes have formed a league and will do anything to control her love life. So, Scott must face off against each one in increasingly ridiculous fashion to win Ramona's heart. And they say love doesn't hurt. HA!!!

Based on the comic series by Brian Lee O'Maley, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is a truly ingenious when it comes to its story. On the surface, it looks like just another hipster douchebag romantic comedy, but it's also a balls to the wall action movie, a good drama, and a fantasy flick. All these various elements usually don't work together, but thanks to some clever writing by Michael Bacall and Edgar Wright, they all mesh seamlessly together in a wonderful amalgamation of awesomeness.

Michael Cera is Scott. Before you close the page, let me explain. Yes, Michael Cera has made a living playing the exact same character over and over again, a sweet, misunderstood, hipster with a heart of gold. Though it looks like, his role in Scott Pilgrim does not fall into the aforementioned category. Oh sure, Scott is still a romantic hipster, but a heart of gold? Oh hell no! Scott Pilgrim is actually kind of a douche. He's selfish, kind of a jerk, and a bit of a philanderer. The change of pace is perfect for Cera, who knocks this one out of the park. He's hysterical, relatable, and kicks a ton of ass.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Ramona. You may remember her from Live Free or Die Hard or Death Proof. She finally has something of substance to work with here, and, man does she do a good job. She's full of spunk, quite the looker, and, like pretty much everyone in the film, kicks a fair amount of ass. You'll totally forget about her abysmal performance in Final Destination 3 with this one.

The exes in question are played by a myriad of people. Chris Evans plays Lucas Lee, a pretty good skater who turned into a pretty good actor, who uses his stunt team to beat people up. Brandon Routh is Todd Ingram, a rock star with superpowers brought on by his veganism. Satya Bhabha is Matthew Patel, a Indian hipster with mystical powers. Finally, Jason Schwartzman is Gideon Graves, the supreme evil ex.

There are supporting players like Anna Kendrick and Kieran Culkin, but its Allison Pill as Kim Pine, a snarky drummer, who steals the show in my mind. Her line delivery is impeccable!

Uhhh... yeah. Performances here are really good. That's all...

Hey, it's like the Bard College demographic compressed into six people!

Director Edgar Wright made a name for himself sending up beloved genres with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. He does something a little bit different here. Instead of sending up a zombie movie, he is making a movie that just so happens to take place inside a video game. In the universe of Scott Pilgrim, everyone knows kung fu, has some sort of super power, can gain extra lives by completing tasks, and dissolves into coins when they are defeated. Every time Scott beats and ex, he is rewarded with coins and a score. His confrontations with the evil exes are treated like Boss Battles, with the build up to them the equivalent of a level. It's really ingenious, and pulls absolutely no punches. Hell, the damn Universal logo at the very beginning of the movie is created as if it were on the SNES or something. When Scott delivers the killing blow, a resounding "KO" is heard. For a guy who digs on video games and the like, this was something really awesome!

The real world stuff is given time to evolve as well; it's not all just 1-Up mushrooms and fire flowers. The comedy is truly inspired, with great writing and line delivery. Some of the gags are among the funniest I've seen, as when Scott's opponent is tricked into drinking half-and-half, and he is accosted by the vegan police for his violation and "de-veganized", or when Scott is verbally abused by an angry friend, and her curse words are blocked out by a black box, which, funnily enough, Scott can see and comments on. 

But the humor isn't the only thing. The drama is also handled really well. Scoff if you want, but the romantic relationship between Scott and Ramona was completely believable for me. I bought each of their motivations and, when it hit the rocks, I felt sympathy for both of them. Normally, in a rom-com like this, the relationship would be shoved to the side in favor of gags, but the writers are better than that. They made a fantastical movie with real people. Amazing. 

How Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was so ignored when it came out is beyond me. I guess it was the Michael Cera thing, and how people are over him. I wish people had given this one a chance, because it's one of the best films of the year. Far from the best, but it shines above pretty much everything to come out this summer. Kinda sad, isn't it. The best video game movie ever isn't even based on a video game. Life's funny like that, ain't it?



Glee Review: Never Been Kissed

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nice to see Finn's mailman incident come up again.

With Puck back from juvie this week, everything is back to normal within New Directions, or so it seems. In preparation for sectionals, Will decides that now is as good time as any to have the annual Battle of the Sexes.

With this as a foundation, the episode delves into some solid storylines. The comedic one, which involves Sam, Bieste, and pretty much everyone else, sees Sam taking Finn's advice on how to cool off when making out with Quinn, since she's not going anywhere past first base. So, Sam takes to fantasizing about Beiste, which is a huge turn off. Unfortunately, since he still hasn't grasped how things work around McKinley High, he shoots off his mouth, telling everyone in the club about is new method of killing the mood. Everyone gets in on the action, even Tina. Of course Beiste finds out, and shit goes down.

Another plot saw Puck being Artie's aide as part of his community service. What this entails is Puck intimidating kids into giving up money when he and Artie busk in the school yard, and showing him how to woo Brittany and Santana, though that one doesn't end very well.

The final plot sees Kurt as he finally meets another gay kid, the star of a rival glee club played by newcomer Darren Criss. This blossoming friendship helps Kurt muster up the courage to stand up to Karofsky, leading to a totally unexpected shift in the dynamic. That was well handled.


Plot wise, this was a great episode. Puck's return wasn't just a comedic thing, it was a real story that showed a more vulnerable side to him. Kurt's storylines so far this season have been aces, and the one about the kids cooling off by thinking of Beiste in neglige chopping meat is almost perversely funny.

There were some unbelievable moments in the plots though. I bought the ending of the Kurt/Karofsky face-off, and especially bought the aftermath, but I did not for a second believe that Will and Beiste would end their final conversation that way. That made no sense.

Music wise, however, this episode sort of sucked. There was only one number that really popped, that being the girl's mashup of "Livin' on a Prayer" and "Start Me Up". That one was awesome. The others were awful. Any time Katy Perry is played, I want to drill into my brain, even if it is sung by a bunch of uber talented men; the guy's mash-up was eh, but it was the first song of the episode that hit the nail into the coffin. For Puck's busking session, he and Artie sang Bob Marley's "One Love", and the show could not have fucked it up more. My GOD, that was horrendous! None of the songs had anything to do with the plot, making them all seem like complete afterthoughts. Also, what is it with the Bon Jovi and the mashups? Seriously, last year during this contest, the guys sang "It's My Life" with "Confessions". This year, the girls sang "Livin' On A Prayer" with "Start Me Up". What's next? "Wanted Dead Or Alive" with "Like A G6"?
...
Actually, that would be pretty cool.

On the comedy front, this episode was solid, though. Brittany didn't have much in the way of funny lines, but this was balanced out by Sue, who had tons. Her conversation with Quinn about how she thinks Sam is fantasizing about Bieste was hysterical! Also, the images of Beiste when the love makers fantasize about her, including one where she is doing ballet whilst smoking a cigar, are comic gold!

It was good episode, to be sure, but the lack of any decent songs brings this one down to the level of the season premiere. There are plenty of funny moments, and great story telling, but, this is Glee. If anything, we expect the music to be good, and it wasn't. Oh well.

On another note, Gwyneth Paltrow is guesting next week. Wonder how Coldplay feels about that...

According to the Movies #16

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

If the movies say it, it must be true!

I finally got around to it! I finally overcame my rural living situation here in Annandale-on-Hudson and managed to get my mitts on Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (review on Saturday). For those who don't know- and, judging by the pathetic box office the movie experienced, that could be a good percentage of you- SPVTW concerns a lowlife named Scott Pilgrim who starts dating the girl of his dreams, named Ramona Flowers. Unfortunately, this comes with a slight downside. For Scott to live happily ever after with this girl, he must defeat her seven evil exes in all out battles to the death. There are quite a few lessons to be learned from this movie, most of which I will touch on eventually, but, today, I am laying the best one out for you.

See, one of Scott's opponents is a man named Todd. Todd has totally awesome hair, plays bass like Flea, and has psychic and telekinetic powers. How does he manage to pull of all this crap? He's vegan. Yeah, one of those hipster types that I'm practically drowning in here at Bard, but anyway...

The Lesson: Are you vegan. Good for you! You can do cool shit, like levitate a person on the ground, and play bass as if it were a surfer guitar. You'll also make really bad puns, but, I guess that can't be helped.



Addendum: You have three strikes, or the Vegan police will find you. No, gelato is not vegan. It's milk and eggs, bitch!

Trailer Trash: Sucker Punch... Again

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's time to root through some trailers. What sorts of wonderful things will be alluded to today?

Good to be back! We had a GREAT run of The Wild Party, but, alas, it is over. Post show depression is hitting me like a mother fucker, but, gotta keep trucking on, right? Luckily, I have a really awesome trailer to write about to pull me out of my funk.

Thanks to this new trailer, I finally have a grasp on what Sucker Punch is actually about. A girl, whose name is apparently Baby Doll (???) is entombed in a mental asylum by her less than loving father after her mother passes away. It's a grueling life in the nuthouse, but, with the help of her compassionate dance teacher (again, ???), Baby Doll learns to escape into her own mind in an elaborate plot to break free from her prison. She enlists the help of four other girls in her quest, and together, they delve into their imaginations to find the things that will set them free, guided along the way by an enigmatic wiseman.

Thoughts on the cast are still the same as last time. Emily Browning looks to kick a whole ton of ass, and look damn good doing it. I still have no idea who the hell Carla Gugino is supposed to be. Scott Glenn looks to be having a rollicking good time as the wiseman. That character is gonna be ridiculous.

As with the last trailer, the latest addition to Sucker Punch's marketing campaign is flat out awesome!! So many cool shots, so many sweet scenes, and it's all set to Led Zeppelin's "When the Levee Breaks" and Silversun Pickups' "Panic Swtich". Talk about some brilliant trailer music. Trailers for Zack Snyder movies always have awesome tracks; I have the Watchmen trailer to thank for my ridiculous obsession with Muse, but, we won't talk about that again.

It's a lot of the same thing that the last trailer gave us, but, when the "thing" in question is this good, you won't hear me complaining. Sucker Punch is still my most anticipated movie for next year. I can't wait!

Due To A Wild Party...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Blog's closed for the week.

Why?

This video!



I will do the Glee review though. It gives me an excuse to watch it.

Addendum: There is no Glee this week. Ooops...

Young stars biting the cloud that feeds them

Young stars biting the cloud that feeds them (8/30/10)
A billowing cloud of hydrogen in the Triangulum galaxy (Messier 33), about 2.7 million light-years away from Earth, glows with the energy released by hundreds of young, bright stars. This NASA/ESA Hubble Spare Telescope image provides the sharpest view of NGC 604 so far obtained.

Some 1500 light-years across, this is one of the largest, brightest concentrations of ionised hydrogen (H II) in our local group of galaxies, and is a major centre of star formation.

The gas in NGC 604, around nine tenths of it hydrogen, is gradually collapsing under the force of gravity to create new stars. Once these stars have formed, the vigorous ultraviolet radiation they emit excites the remaining gas in the cloud, making it glow a distinct shade of red. This colour is typical not only of NGC 604 but of other H II regions too.




NGC 604 – click for 1280×919 image


More: here, here
 

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