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Thursday, December 31, 2009

An artist's concept of the Gliese 581 star system.

FINAL POST of the year... Just thought I’d close out 2009 with another Hello From Earth and Sent Forever update. As of 7 PM California time tonight (12 PM Sydney time on Friday, January 1), it will be eighteen weeks since a radio signal containing 25,878 goodwill text messages—including one by me—was transmitted to the exoplanet Gliese 581d from a giant NASA antenna in Australia. The signal will be 2 trillion miles (3.2 trillion kilometers) from Earth. Awesome. The Sent Forever signal that was transmitted from the United Kingdom at 8:07 PM (California time) on October 5 is now 1.4 trillion miles (2.2 trillion kilometers) from Earth as of this typing. That is all. Happy New Years Eve, everyone!


A satellite dish at the Goonhilly Earth Station in the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Optimus Prime chills near the Great Sphinx in Egypt.

AOL's Moviefone.com is a joke... Click here to know why. While it's understandable that Megan Fox would be called the Worst Actress (but Sexiest Female Actress) of 2009 and Transformers 2 the Worst Movie (but Best Action Film) of '09, calling Twilight: New Moon the Best Movie of this year is a friggin' joke. The next Twilight flick, Eclipse, was also voted as being more anticipated than Iron Man 2 and even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 in 2010. What the f...

Mikaela (Megan Fox) on a booty call.

No doubt a bunch of teenybopper girls who drank the Kool-Aid (right after swallowing something else) voted over and over on that poll...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A screenshot from the IRON MAN 2 teaser trailer.

IRON MAN 2... Just thought I’d post screenshots from the Iron Man 2 teaser trailer, which was released online a week ago. Hopefully, War Machine is gonna kick major ass (along with Whiplash and Scarlett Johannson’s Black Widow. "Bow-chicka-bow-bow!") in next May’s anticipated blockbuster. Don Cheadle is a good actor, but it’s still unfortunate that Terrence Howard got booted out after the first film. Freakin’ Marvel... Anyways, here's the video itself:



And here are the screencaptures. Have a Merry Christmas, everyone!!

Screenshots from the IRON MAN 2 teaser trailer.
Screenshots from the IRON MAN 2 teaser trailer.
Screenshots from the IRON MAN 2 teaser trailer.
Screenshots from the IRON MAN 2 teaser trailer.
Screenshots from the IRON MAN 2 teaser trailer.
Screenshots from the IRON MAN 2 teaser trailer.
Screenshots from the IRON MAN 2 teaser trailer.

Images courtesy of Marvel Characters, Inc. / Paramount

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A screenshot from AVATAR.

AVATAR... Last Sunday, I watched James Cameron’s newest film on IMAX 3-D...and not surprisingly, it looked awesome! Cameron did an awesome job portraying an intriguing alien planet and species whose appearance popped right out through the wonders of 3-D. Floating mountains, exotic-looking plants and even an alien language that in real life was completely made up by a linguist who was enlisted from the University of Southern California... Cameron was very thorough in fleshing out the world of Pandora that was locked in his head for the past dozen or so years (as Cameron waited for special effects and camera technology to advance to the point where making Avatar would be possible...and also basking in the glory of making $1 billion at the worldwide box office and winning umpteenth Oscars for Titanic back in 1998).

A screenshot from AVATAR.

Of course, some of you are probably wondering why I said that Avatar looked awesome...as opposed to being awesome. That’s because the film—as a couple of folks pointed out online in the months leading up to the movie’s release—had a storyline that wasn’t very original and was indeed derivative from other (Oscar-winning) films. Much as how some people pointed out that Titanic was similar to the 1939 Best Picture winner Gone with the Wind (both films had a love triangle set during a major historical event), Avatar was reminiscent of Dances with Wolves and Braveheart. It was also reminiscent of this year’s earlier well-reviewed sci-fi film District 9...in that the protagonist in that movie, Wikus van de Merwe (unintentionally) sheds his human skin to become just like the alien creatures he reluctantly has to protect in South Africa. In Avatar, Sam Worthington’s character Jake Sully (intentionally and permanently) sheds his human body to become one with the alien natives, the Na’vi, which he’s sworn to protect at the end of the film. If you haven’t seen Avatar yet, then ignore that last sentence (though I'm pretty sure you can guess this by watching the trailers). And yes, I’m 100% sure that the comparison to District 9 was definitely unintentional on Cameron’s part. I myself just found the fate of the main heroes in both flicks to be very similar.

A screenshot from AVATAR.

In terms of the music, Avatar had a terrific film score by James Horner. However, I didn’t find the music as memorable as that in Titanic...or Apollo 13. Horner composed the score for those movies as well. Unlike Titanic’s music, which was on a CD album that was the bestselling film score since John Williams’ work on Star Wars in the late 70’s, I doubt Avatar will have any kind of presence on the Billboard music chart anytime soon. Oh well.

A screenshot from AVATAR.

Lastly, will I watch Avatar at the movie theaters again? You betcha’! I saw it on a "fake" IMAX screen (which is nearly the same size as a regular movie screen but has an IMAX-quality sound system complementing it in the auditorium, and a digital print that has the same visual quality as an actual IMAX 70mm film reel) at an AMC theater on opening weekend, so I can assure you that I will be driving 20-30 miles to a "real" IMAX theater (specifically the one at the Irvine Spectrum’s Edwards 21 in Orange County) to watch James Cameron’s visionary work on the big screen again. Later.

A screenshot from AVATAR.

Images courtesy of Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

Sunday, December 20, 2009

REST IN PEACE Brittany Murphy (1977-2009). The only films I saw with her in it were Sin City and 8 Mile (and I've also watched several episodes of the now-defunct FOX TV show, King of the Hill...where she did the voice of trailer park daughter Luanne Platter)...but that obviously doesn't mean I can't pay my respect here. So um...rest in peace, Ms. Murphy (technically, it's Mrs. Monjack, but whatever). That is all.

Brittany Murphy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A screenshot from AVATAR.

AVATAR... I’m totally lookin' forward to watching this film over the weekend... I would’ve pointed that out earlier this week, but you know, I was at work.


Screenshots from AVATAR.

Screenshots from AVATAR.

Screenshots from AVATAR.

Screenshots from AVATAR.

Screenshots from AVATAR.

Images courtesy of Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

Sunday, December 13, 2009

At the 2009 L.A. Auto Show.

LAST WEEK, I attended the L.A. Auto Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center...my fourth time since 2000, I believe, that I went to the annual car expo. Lots of cool rides were on display as usual, but the companies noticeably absent at the convention center were Ferrari, Lamborghini and Nissan. I heard that they didn’t feel like spending cash on transporting their cars to Los Angeles this year...cheap bastards (ironically). Anyways, here are some photos that I took at the auto show.

Yes, I know.  This pic would've been better if that model stared at the camera as well. :)

A Lexus LFA.

I’ll eventually create a new page on my main website devoted to this year’s convention. Eventually.

Posing in front of Bumblebee.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow in IRON MAN 2.

IRON MAN 2... I’m totally looking forward to next May, when the sequel to 2008’s critically-acclaimed summer blockbuster comes out in theaters. Hopefully, the teaser trailer for Iron Man 2 will be released soon...presumably in front of James Cameron's Avatar on December 18 or most likely Sherlock Holmes (with Robert Downey Jr. playing the famous fictional detective) on Christmas Day. I’m looking forward to those films as well...especially Avatar.

IRON MAN 2 posters.

Images courtesy of Marvel Characters, Inc. / Paramount

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

TEN GAMES in a row... I just realized that the Lakers began and ended this decade winning a championship (with Shaq and Kobe in 2000, and then Pau and Kobe in 2009), and they’re currently in great position to start the new decade with another NBA title. A loss is inevitable, but here’s hoping Los Angeles continues this winning streak they’re on (the blow-out victory against the Utah Jazz tonight was their 10th in a row)...at least till the All-Star break in February, that is. Um, too optimistic?

Kobe Bryant drives in for a lay-up against the Utah Jazz...whom the Lakers beat, 101-77, at STAPLES Center on December 9, 2009.
Andrew D. Bernstein / NBAE via Getty Images

Monday, December 07, 2009

SpaceShipTwo, also known as the VSS Enterprise, as seen with the aircraft that will launch it into space: the White Knight II (also known as Eve).
Alan Radecki / BoingBoing.net

SPACESHIPTWO Revealed... The new spacecraft, dubbed Virgin Space Ship (VSS) Enterprise, made its official debut at its manufacturing facility in California’s Mojave Desert tonight. So who here has $200,000 to spend on a supersonic flight to the edge of space? (I wish I did... Duh.) This excludes the price of the plane ticket to New Mexico...where SpaceShipTwo and its sister vehicles will be based (at Spaceport America). Sir Richard Branson's company Virgin Galactic owns the spacecraft.

SpaceShipTwo as seen with White Knight II inside a hangar.

SpaceShipTwo as seen from its starboard side.

Virgin Galactic owner Sir Richard Branson poses in front of SpaceShipTwo.

All three images courtesy of Virgin Galactic / Scaled Composites

Friday, December 04, 2009

VIDEO OF THE DAY... Here’s a clip showing how the sky would look from different cities on the Earth if the planet had a ring like Saturn. Pretty cool... Too bad the animator didn’t show how the rings would look from a vantage point here in Los Angeles. Oh well. Interesting use of that song Ave Maria, by the way.

Monday, November 30, 2009

In this computer-generated art concept, fireworks fill the sky above the Los Angeles football stadium as a Super Bowl game is about to begin.
LosAngelesfootballstadium.com

TWO NFL teams playing in the City of Industry (here in Los Angeles County) by 2013? Hmmm... Just repeating what I heard from Liz Habib on FOX TV yesterday (right after the Minnesota Vikings-Chicago Bears game ended. The Vikings won by the way... 36-10). According to Ms. Habib, if one or two National Football League teams decide to move to Southern California as early as next Spring, they can begin playing temporarily at the Los Angeles Coliseum and/or Pasadena’s Rose Bowl as soon as Fall of 2010...while construction on the Los Angeles football stadium in Industry starts immediately. According to Habib, the NFL wants the new arena to support two clubs simultaneously...in the same way that the New York Jets and the New York Giants play football at the same stadium in um, New Jersey, and STAPLES Center supports both the Lakers and the Clippers in LA during the NBA season. I’m all for that...

FOX LA reporter Liz Habib.
MyFoxLA.com

Preferably, I wouldn’t mind the Jacksonville Jaguars and/or the Vikings (with Brett Favre still on the team...assuming he'll consistently play the way he did against the Bears yesterday, haha) relocate to Los Angeles. The LA Jaguars and/or the LA Vikings sound helluva lot better (assuming their names won't be changed after the relocation) than the LA Bills...as in the Buffalo Bills, who are also one of the teams rumored to move cross-country to the City of Angels. Let’s leave that club and its choking ways to the cold wasteland that is upstate New York, shall we?


In this computer-generated art concept, spotlights shine high above the Los Angeles football stadium during an NFL game.
LosAngelesfootballstadium.com

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NINJA ASSASSIN movie poster.

NINJA ASSASSIN... I saw the film yesterday, and on a positive note, it lived up to its title. For those of you thinking that Ninja Assassin is a superfluous name (haha), the movie is actually about an assassin who kills ninjas. And that assassin, named Raizo (who's played by Korean pop star Rain), kicks ass! I actually saw the film, or at least the last 20 minutes of it, at work when it was test-screened earlier this year. Needless to say, I was so impressed by the climactic action sequence that I had to see the rest of the movie when it officially came out in theaters. Ninja Assassin is what those live-action Mortal Kombat films during the 90's should've been! (Other flicks that I paid to watch despite already seeing their endings during marketing screenings were 300, Superbad and Zombieland. We also screened Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen too...but the only shot I saw, since I had to remain outside the auditorium for much of the movie, was that end credit scene where The Office’s Rainn Wilson calls Shia LaBeouf ‘Professor Einstein’ in that astronomy class.) After Ninja Assassin ended, I overheard a fellow moviegoer who attended the same screening as me compare this film to 300. It’s an appropriate comparison...seeing as how Ninja Assassin, like the 2007 Zack Snyder flick, also had lots of cool action scenes, neat CGI effects and gallons of fake blood...



There are two plotholes that I noticed in the movie though: Who was the lady who called Raizo on the phone prior to him rescuing Mika (Naomie Harris) from an assassination attempt at her apartment? And who rescued Raizo from that river after he was injured following his betrayal of master Ozunu (Sho Kosugi) and the rest of his clan atop that rooftop? Anyways... Ninja Assassin is directed by James McTeigue, who also helmed 2005’s V for Vendetta, and was also the assistant director for Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and The Matrix trilogy. That is all.

Raizo (played by Rain) takes on his former master Ozunu (Sho Kosugi) in NINJA ASSASSIN.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone!!! Here’s a link to an article about President Obama 'pardoning' a turkey during a ceremony at the White House yesterday. Instead of getting its noggin chopped off (with Sarah Palin possibly watching in delight), spending a couple of hours feeling warm and toasty inside an oven and then being served along with mash potatoes and stuffing to a family of slightly obese Americans, the turkey, named "Courage", will instead spend the rest of its life listening to crappy music during the Electrical Parade at Disneyland. Or enjoy the daily fireworks show there.

Though here’s a question: What happens if someone ate a turkey that was pardoned by the President? Are we looking at a hefty fine or prison time for that person here? Hm.


President Obama pardons Courage, a 45-pound turkey, at the White House on November 25, 2009.
Alex Brandon / Associated Press