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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cardboard cut-outs for Shockwave and Soundwave on the Chicago set of TRANSFORMERS 3.

TRANSFORMERS 3 Update... First of all, I am extremely glad that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley will NOT be reprising Megan Fox’s role of Mikaela Banes in Transformers 3, but instead play Carly...who was Sam (err, Spike) Witwicky’s girlfriend and eventual wife in the 1980s Transformers cartoon. The person who confirmed this was Nelson, the webmaster of Michael Bay’s official website. While this is welcome news to me personally, what should be bigger news to the rest of y’all Transfans is the fact that Megatron, Soundwave and Shockwave will be together in the final scene of TF3...wreaking havoc on the city of Chicago (or the fictional city that Chicago will portray in the movie) while new Autobot characters such as Rollbar—the red Jeep shown below—will be helping Optimus Prime and Co. take on the Decepticon trio mentioned above.

The Jeep that will be the Autobot character named Rollbar in TRANSFORMERS 3.

In terms of Soundwave, I’m hoping that he has a retractable mouthplate just like Optimus Prime. I like the shark teeth that he will apparently be sporting in the movie (see the pic at the top of this Blog entry), but I’m gonna impersonate a Transformers "Generation 1" (more commonly referred to as ‘G1’) purist by saying that I hope Soundwave’s mouth will occasionally be concealed by some kind of metal shield in the upcoming movie, as it should be. Shockwave looks sinister; here's hoping he acts that way too. I’m also interested to see how much of a bad guy Patrick Dempsey will be in TF3...what with him beating the crap out of Shia LaBeouf and pointing a gun at him (see below) and stuff. Oh, and the NASCAR vehicles seen on set in Chicago will officially play "Wreckers"...who in Transformers lore are a commando unit for the Autobots. Pretty cool. Kinda wish that they were villainous Stunticons instead, but it’s all good.

Shockwave, or at least his cardboard cut-out, looms above the ruins of Chicago in TRANSFORMERS 3.

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who will play Carly in TRANSFORMERS 3, takes a break on set in Chicago.

Patrick Dempsey points a gun at Shia LaBeouf (off-screen) for a scene in TRANSFORMERS 3.

Shia LaBeouf lies unconscious on rubble as Patrick Dempsey stands triumphantly above him during filming of TRANSFORMERS 3.

These NASCAR vehicles will be 'Wreckers' in TRANSFORMERS 3.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A close-up of the camera system, or Remote Sensing Mast, on the CURIOSITY Mars Rover.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

PHOTOS OF THE DAY, Part 2... Last week, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) made major progress on the Curiosity Mars Rover when they installed the vehicle’s camera system (a.k.a. the "Remote Sensing Mast", or RSM) and ‘drove’ the rover for the first time. The addition of the RSM, shown above, on July 15 makes Curiosity 3.5 feet (1 meter) taller...while the successful test drive that took place last Friday ensures that the rover’s 6 wheels won’t have to be removed as alluded to in the previous post. Check out this video showing Curiosity taking its first steps...



...and check out these photos of engineers installing the RSM and watching the SUV-size rover take a short stroll across a static-free floor mat inside JPL’s Spacecraft Assembly Facility—where Curiosity and the rest of its Mars Science Laboratory hardware are being assembled and prepped for next year’s launch to the Red Planet.

JPL engineers are about to install the Remote Sensing Mast onto the CURIOSITY Mars Rover.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

JPL engineers are about to install the Remote Sensing Mast onto the CURIOSITY Mars Rover.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

The Remote Sensing Mast is successfully installed on the CURIOSITY Mars Rover.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

A JPL engineer looks on as the CURIOSITY Mars Rover is driven for the first time on July 23, 2010.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

JPL engineers watch as the CURIOSITY Mars Rover is driven for the first time on July 23, 2010.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

JPL engineers watch as the CURIOSITY Mars Rover is driven for the first time on July 23, 2010.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PHOTOS OF THE DAY, Part 1... Last month, a milestone in the Mars Science Laboratory mission was reached when all six wheels were installed onto the Curiosity rover at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Pasadena, Calif. Unless problems crop up during future testing that would cause them to be removed again, the wheels are now permanently attached to the rover. Curiosity is scheduled to launch towards the Red Planet between November 25 and December 18 of next year. It will hopefully and safely touch down on the surface of Mars between August 6-20, 2012.

LINK: Photos I took of the Curiosity rover at the 2010 JPL Open House

NASA JPL engineers prepare three of the CURIOSITY Mars Rover's six wheels for installation on June 29, 2010.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

NASA JPL engineers install six wheels onto the CURIOSITY Mars Rover on June 28 and 29, 2010.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

A close-up of the CURIOSITY Mars Rover's six new wheels.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

NASA JPL engineers install six wheels onto the CURIOSITY Mars Rover on June 28 and 29, 2010.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

NASA JPL engineers install six wheels onto the CURIOSITY Mars Rover on June 28 and 29, 2010.
NASA / JPL - Caltech

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Angelina Jolie is arrested as a Russian spy in SALT.

SALT... I saw the Angelina Jolie action thriller last weekend, and thought it was fun. Of course, I’ve thought that about almost every film I saw this summer... The big question is: Was the movie memorable as well? Ummm, not really. It had two major plot twists at the end; though I figured out one of them (involving the Russian president and the effects of a spider’s venom) during the middle of the film. Is that a good thing? Dunno.

Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Monica Bellucci and director Jon Turteltaub on the set of THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE.

I also saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice...for free, of course. I was wondering why the hell the movie paid homage to the 1940 Disney film Fantasia until one of my co-workers told me yesterday that The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was based on a poem featured in the classic animated flick. My bad. Here’s another thing that I’m wondering: What is it with Jay Baruchel getting with hot blonde chicks in his latest movies (first, it was Alice Eve in She’s Out of My League...and then it was Teresa Palmer—who looks like she could be Eve's twin sister—in Apprentice. Not that I’m complainin’ or anything. Cot damn)? I guess Baruchel doesn’t have good chemistry with brunettes and/or redheads on-screen, eh?

Teresa Palmer in THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE.

Monday, July 26, 2010

CAN'T WAIT to buy the Lakers' 2010 NBA Championship DVD when it comes out in stores tomorrow. Oh and I'm a little late but welcome to the team, Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff. That is all.

The Los Angeles Lakers' 2010 NBA Championship DVD...which will be available for purchase on July 27.

UPDATE (July 27): I am displeased that NOT ONE store (including Best Buy and Wal-Mart) is carrying the Lakers' championship DVD. Had to buy it online through Amazon.com...

Oh and FYI, I live in Los Angeles County.

Thursday, July 22, 2010



SpoCom 2010... Click on the link below to view photos I took with (or of) 31 gorgeous models at the Long Beach Convention Center last weekend. Actually, there are only 30 models featured on that page. The pic I took with 'Model 31' (lovely Corissa, above) is in my main Gallery 2 section. Later.

LINK: Photos I took at the 2010 Long Beach SpoCom event

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) watches as Ariadne (Ellen Page) manipulates the dream world around them in INCEPTION.

INCEPTION... I saw Christopher Nolan’s latest flick this past weekend, and much like his 2008 mega-blockbuster The Dark Knight, this movie was...AMAZING. Inception was just as richly complex as Nolan’s last Batman film. Much like The Dark Knight, Inception had lots of dialogue-driven scenes, but these scenes paid off at the end when they conveyed a nicely-told tale of a group of agents carrying out a very unique form of corporate espionage. Inception is also just like The Matrix (unsurprisingly) in that it shows us an awesome but easily manipulated world within the minds of the movie’s main characters...displayed through eye-popping visual effects that should no doubt be nominated for an Academy Award next year.

Cobb shares a moment with his late wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) within a dream world in INCEPTION.

However, Inception is without question much more cerebral than the Wachowski Brothers’ 1999 sleeper hit (The Matrix’s two 2003 sequels were um...nevermind). And much like James Cameron’s Avatar, Nolan presents us with another provocative science fiction tale (though this might sound too complimentary of Cameron’s visually rich but otherwise derivative Best Picture nominee) that delves with how the human mind can be used to control other beings for the sake of financial gain. It sounds cynical, but it’s still interesting nonetheless.

Saito (Ken Watanabe) watches as Mal makes things complicated for Cobb (off-screen) in INCEPTION.

In terms of casting, Inception had lots of amazing actors in it. Leonardo DiCaprio was great as the main character Cobb; Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who was in last year's um, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) was cool as Arthur, the "Point Man"; Tom Hardy kicked ass as the "Forger" named Eames; Ellen Page was nicely casted as the "Architect" named Ariadne; and Ken Watanabe was just as commendable as Saito, the "Tourist", in Inception as he was a samurai in 2004’s The Last Samurai. Not to be forgotten is Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer; Michael Caine as Cobb’s father-in-law; and of course, Marion Cotillard as Cobb’s very beautiful and ultimately deadly but deceased wife Mal. In terms of Cillian Murphy’s character, it was kinda odd seeing him play a good guy in Nolan’s new film after he was known for playing the villainous Scarecrow in Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and a terrorist in Wes Craven’s 2005 thriller Red Eye. And Inception would actually be the second film for Leonardo DiCaprio this year where he played a character whose psychopathic wife wrought havoc within DiCaprio’s mind right after she died a horrid death (I’m referring to Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, of course).

Cobb explains to Ariadne how to manipulate dreams to her advantage in INCEPTION.

In terms of nitpicking, there isn’t that much to criticize about Inception. Sure, Inception had lots of dialogue scenes in it as pointed out in the first paragraph above, but this is because Nolan wanted to make sure we understood his unique take on dreams and how they could be used to influence other people. Nolan superbly makes up for this with the visual effects, but I already mentioned that in the first paragraph as well.

Saito discusses a new corporate espionage scheme with Cobb and Eames (Tom Hardy) in INCEPTION.

One thing about Inception that you definitely need to suspend disbelief on is how Cobb and his posse physically manage to connect themselves to each other, as well as their oblivious targets, as they are about to venture into a dream. A cable extending from a special suitcase is inserted into the main characters’ wrists like an IV tube... How this cable exchanges brain signals among Cobb and Company through their arms is perplexing. I understand that this tube injects some kind of sedative to make them fall asleep, but I guess Nolan wanted to visually simplify the way "Extractors" penetrate the minds of their subjects to steal secrets from them. Oh well. This in no way tarnishes the extraordinary film that Inception is.

Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) is unaware that he is a target of Cobb's corporate espionage scheme in INCEPTION.

If you’re a die-hard video gamer who likes SOCOM and/or Grand Theft Auto, then you’ll like certain action scenes in Inception that unintentionally pay homage to these games. That being said, Hans Zimmer’s music score for this flick is phenomenal. Gotta buy it on CD... It’s available on Amazon.com now.


Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is the only one awake, so to speak, as his peers sleep and embark into another dream realm in INCEPTION.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

President John F. Kennedy gives a speech...about giant alien robots on the Moon?  Haha.

TRANSFORMERS 3 Update... Last week has been filled with lots of cool news pertaining to next year’s summer blockbuster...namely the fact that Optimus Prime will finally drive into action with a trailer attached to him; new Decepticons in Transformers 3 will be wreaking havoc in the form of three NASCAR vehicles (err, Stunticons?); Bumblebee is presumably gonna have a crappy vehicle mode—he won’t be disguised as just a kick-ass Chevy Camaro this time—as he drives Shia LaBeouf, his new on-screen girlfriend (played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) and apparently Patrick Dempsey around after work; and NEST soldiers (NEST being the clandestine military unit that Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson’s characters were part of since Revenge of the Fallen) will be parachuting into the heat of battle as a climactic and cataclysmic scene takes place in the city of Chicago...which won’t necessarily be Chicago in Transformers 3. (FYI, I pictured Chicago as the ultimate location for a major battle sequence when I typed out my own ideas for the Transformers sequels back in 2007.) All the photos depicting what I just typed above are obviously shown below. Oh, and check out this Youtube video showing the Autobots chasing the NASCAR-cons through the ravaged streets of Chicago:



One more thing: the opening scene of TF3 will supposedly feature President John F. Kennedy and how the discovery of Transformers on the Moon prompted him to start the Space Race back in the 1960s. Cool stuff. Now hopefully Michael Bay will do a good job conveying this on screen a year from now. We’ll see. I need something to distract me from the Obama apron.

Optimus Prime finally has a trailer in TRANSFORMERS 3.

Will these NASCAR vehicles be Stunticons in TRANSFORMERS 3?

A 'NASCAR-con', with Bumblebee's Camaro behind it.

The Ferrari 458 Italia that will be an Autobot in TRANSFORMERS 3...with Sideswipe's Corvette convertible behind it.

Would Rosie Huntington-Whiteley actually be caught dead in that thing in real life?

It's plausible that Patrick Dempsey would be caught dead in this thing in real life.

Parachutists portraying NEST soldiers skydive over Chicago.

A parachutist portraying a NEST soldier skydives in Chicago.

While holding hands with Megan Fo—err, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Shia LaBeouf runs away from danger in TRANSFORMERS 3.

Shia and Rosie run towards Bumblebee as the Autobot comes to the rescue in TRANSFORMERS 3.

Friday, July 16, 2010

An artist's concept of ESA's Rosetta spacecraft approaching comet Churyuomov-Gerasimenko.
ESA

PHOTOS OF THE DAY... Today’s entry is devoted to all the cool images taken by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft last Saturday...when it flew past asteroid Lutetia on its way to comet Churyuomov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta flew within 2,000 miles of the rocky, 80-mile-in-diameter object, which according to the mission's scientists has stayed untouched throughout most of the 4.6-billion-year history of our solar system. Lutetia is the largest asteroid visited by spacecraft so far. NASA's Dawn space probe is scheduled to arrive at asteroid Vesta, which is about 326-miles-in-diameter, in August of next year.

An image of asteroid Lutetia, with Saturn in the background, that was taken by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft on July 10, 2010.

The Rosetta spacecraft will arrive at comet Churyuomov-Gerasimenko in May of 2014, and orbit the comet for more than a year. During that time, it will observe the icy body while dropping a small German-made lander named Philae onto Churyuomov-Gerasimenko’s surface. Click here to see more images that Rosetta took of Lutetia.

An image of asteroid Lutetia that was taken by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft on July 10, 2010.

A close-up image of asteroid Lutetia that was taken by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft on July 10, 2010.

An image of asteroid Lutetia as ESA's Rosetta spacecraft departs from it on July 10, 2010.

Asteroid Lutetia images courtesy of ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS / UPD / LAM / IAA / RSSD / INTA / UPM / DASP / IDA

Thursday, July 15, 2010

An artist's concept of Shockwave's head in TRANSFORMERS 3.
Courtesy of Pamonh Sisouk

TRANSFORMERS 3 Update... I posted in this previous Blog that if there was one issue that would get me to not watch or at least write about Transformers 3 here, it would be that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley played Mikaela Banes (who was portrayed by Megan Fox in the first two films), and not a new character. Well— It turns out that there’s yet another thing that may at the most prevent me from making repeat viewings of TF3 (unlike the first two films) when it comes out in theaters less than a year from now...and that’s Michael Bay’s lame attempt at making political references in the movie. Check out the photo below, and you’ll notice that there’s an image of President Obama on the apron worn by Huntington-Whiteley. Sure, it’s just a simple drawing on her outfit...but depending on the way it’s shot during production, that drawing could spell the difference between being something that people will only notice for a brief moment even if they watched the film a second time, or completely take audience members (like myself) out of the story right away because of how blatantly noticeable and out-of-place it is. I understand that TF3 is filming in Chicago (Obama's hometown), so the reference would make sense. But this homage is still crap. This happened with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen last year.

Rosie Hungtington-Whiteley wears an apron in TRANSFORMERS 3.  An Obama apron, that is.

In Revenge of the Fallen, Obama is mentioned in a TV newscast right after the Decepticons sink a U.S. aircraft carrier upon arrival on Earth. Unless you’re a Democrat or a disgruntled Republican who proudly voted for the guy in ’08, I found this reference to be quite obnoxious. Not only that, but this completely goes against why a flick like Transformers 2 would be made in the first place. Transformers 2 is a sci-fi fantasy film. It’s a summer blockbuster. Much like Independence Day and Star Wars before it (though George Lucas also made the lousy mistake of substantially alluding to George W. Bush and Civil War-era political crap in the prequels), it’s meant to allow the audience to spend the next 2 hours (or 2 hours, 30 minutes in the case of TF2) escaping reality and delving into the realm where giant alien robots could hide amongst us in this world. BUT NOOOO... Bay had to be yet another sap drinking the Kool-Aid and deciding to pay homage to a political leader whose only true skills are to make grandiose (RE: rhetorical) speeches and predicting champions in pro-sports.

Rosie Hungtington-Whiteley wearing white in TRANSFORMERS 3.

FOR F**K’S SAKE, BAY, let this be the only real flaw that you carried over from Transformers 2. I understand that the movie will have the usual rapid-fire editing, 'splosions and nice cleavage shots of Whiteley (Huntington-Whiteley is becoming too long to re-type) as is the case with Fox in the two previous flicks, but please do not include the unnecessary and obviously homoerotic shot of John Turturro with his pants down, a major objectification of girls (though pretend I didn’t say that if you’ve browsed through the rest of my website. Goooo hypocrisy! Hah) like those college scenes in TF2, or putting nipples on Shockwave—the main villain in TF3 according to online reports—after adding a scrotum to Devastator in Revenge of the Fallen. Oh, and actually telling us the truth in that the "Ghettobot" twins (Skids and Mudflap) will disappear after the opening scene in Transformers 3. Of course, knowing Bay all this pleading will be for naught...and the first Transformers film will most likely be the only one in this current incarnation of the franchise to pleasantly take me by surprise when I watched it in 2007. Oh well.

Another art concept of Shockwave for TRANSFORMERS 3.
Courtesy of Pamonh Sisouk