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Category: Geekdom

[Movie Review] Captain America: The Winter Soldier (no spoilers, honest)

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I’m not going to spoil the movie.
I hope you’re taking notes DC, because Marvel is taking some big risks and they’re pay off.
I will say composer Alan Silvestri was sorely missed.
The second end credit scene like the one in Thor: The Dark World should have been part of the movie and Agents of SHIELD have even a lot more to live up to now.
Seeing it in IMAX is worth it. The 3-D not so much. And preferably without a peanut gallery sitting behind you…spoiler filled review will be forthcoming.

[#eccc] Seattle, Emerald City Comic Con and Browncoat Cosplay: Jayne Cobb

With Emerald City Comic Con now a week ago in the rear view mirror: How did it go?
Extremely well.
Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC) continues to grow just as it’s host city does. The convention now taking over the convention center, parts of the Sheraton and a few buildings across the road. It even has it’s own mobile app.
This year the ID badges were mailed out. A week before the con some of us worried but a day later the badges arrived. Minus the lanyards. This was easily fixable since I have several lanyards left over from previous conventions and I mixed and matched a SDCC plastic holder with my Browncoat lanyard.
I decided to leave earlier this year and took the morning non-stop out of Boston which worked out and aside from some turbulence, it landed on time and so did my cosplay pieces via USPS. I’ve found getting to the host city a day early and leaving a day late let’s you acclimate better in the end.
Unlike SDCC, I decided to go as Firefly’s Jayne Cobb this year and that meant only a few changes: different gun+pants and hat.
One swing through Etsy for the gun from QEProps and thankfully my mother can knit and thus we get:
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The pirate cosplayers showed up just in time and hence we use the line from Serenity: Let’s be bad guys. I may tweak the costume a bit: gloves and a different belt maybe. The gun thankfully fit in the Mal Reynolds holster and not in the Blackhawk Omega VI Universal Holster I had bought. It still works. Even got a good compliment from a Colonial Marine cosplayer about the use of the Public Relations shirt.
Total cost: Not nearly expensive as Mal Reynolds due to no boots or jacket.
This year I focused on the writing panels and was happy to find several panels each day. So much so, leaving Room 309 or 2AB wasn’t needed. This also meant less pictures as you can see from my Flickr page.
A separate post of writing links will be going up soon.
The downside to trying to shove so many panels into rooms was the attendance in tiny 309 meant people queued up while 2AB/3AB were too big until someone closed half the room.
The idea of having the University Bookstore in 310 for signings was great idea in theory.
The slight problem: the authors were all the way and hell an’gone in TCCC 3.
If the authors and the University Bookstore were together in the same row it would’ve worked.
I came prepared to get John Scalzi signature. Bought The Human Division paperback. The people in front of me weren’t so lucky.
The EMP Museum table was great to see.
Their TARDIS photo op was a great idea.
I feel they or anyone else with an iconic prop could take it to the next level like the 501st Legion does and get quality Doctor Who cosplayers with Daleks or some sort of different prop with a backdrop and bang instead memorable moment for the kids.
And find another spot, if TCCC 3 is going to be as cramped next year then put the photo op booths closer to the con or devote an entire largish room to photo ops. If Seattle Space Needle can take a photo of you and give you a card to find it on line then so can we.
The writing panels ranged from legal advice to freelancing to producing a book on a budget. For the most part the panels and their speakers stayed on topic.
Except for the times a moderator didn’t arrive and the speakers needed to be bearded back to the topic.
One of the many reasons I like ECCC is the fact the crowd situation hasn’t reached SDCC levels of hilarity. The amount of people sitting around and not getting asked not to loiter was nice to see.
Unfortunately, the lack of benches and in areas along with the 6th Floor tables and chairs disappearing was missed.
The t-shirts for this year went fast, any Seattle themed shirt was close to being sold out. SDCC embraced pre-ording shirts last year and besides the queue to get them, the pre-ordering worked. Hopefully, ECCC will do pre-order next year. It would solve so many problems.
The photograph backgrounds continued to be the high point. The official ECCC photographer was a welcomed sight.
I decided to hit up The Terminator Q&A with Michael Bein with my brother at Cinearama and found the movie theater and it’s chocolate popcorn to be highly enjoyable. The use of moderator and the trailers for Bein’s new grindhouse movies he producing with his wife less so. The movie was 30 years old and at least a half dozen people saw it when it came out.
Overall, the con was highly enjoyable and I’ll be coming back next year.
Now, I just need to figure out if I want to add another costume to the ensemble. I’m thinking Ten or Four or Captain Jack.
Spent the next few days in Seattle. It was fun going from West Seattle to Bainbridge Island to the Chihuly Museum.
Photos will be posted to the Flickr account in a week or so…

[Movie Review] RoboCop (2014)

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“Dead or alive, you’re coming with me.”
To give you an idea of my stance on Robocop franchise, I enjoyed the Robocop 1+2, didn’t see 3, enjoyed the television show and vaguely remember the cartoon series and didn’t see the Robocop mini series tv movies.
Robocop has caught up with reality or reality has caught up with Robocop. Facial Recognition. Drones. Cellphone GPS. Police States. Wounded Warriors with metal prothesis straight out of a sci-fi movie.
The 2014 reboot, directed by José Padilha and staring The Killing’s Joel Kinnaman as the titular character and co-staring Michael K. Williams as Jack Lewis, Marianne Jean-Baptiste as their boss and Abbie Cornish as the soon to be grieving Missus Murphy takes place in a world where robotic police states like Tehran are the normal and the USA is anti-robot.

[Sherlock Review] The Empty Hearse (no spoilers, honest)

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After two years of waiting, the US fans of Sherlock will have to wait another two weeks for Season 3 to start with The Empty Hearse.
When we last left our heroes, Watson arrived to witness Sherlock jump off a building to make sure Moriarty’s goons didn’t kill Watson, Lastrade or Mrs. Hudson.
The death of Sherlock Holmes in The Final Problem has been played out across much of the reboots over the years. Jeremy Brett’s run being the one I remember the most. Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows being the most recent and enjoyable since both Robert Downey Jr and Jared Harris were fun to watch even if the plot got a little laughable in spots.
The Reichenbach Fall doesn’t take us all the way to Switzerland and instead The Final Problem is played out on a rooftop giving our hero the only option left to him to save his friends. In the end, Sherlock falls, dies and is buried. And in the final moments shown to be quite alive.
There’s a phrase in DC Universe to explain how Batman does the things he does: He’s Batman. And like the costumed Detective, Sherlock is the same way.
The tone of The Empty Hearse is less morose than it’s predecessor, The Empty House. Two years have passed and everyone is getting on with their lives. Fresh from the seven minute short entitled Many Happy Returns, Lastrade continues to happily shoot down wild theories from Anderson that Sherlock is solving crimes across Europe. Watson, now with mustache is getting ready to propose to Mary and just where is Sherlock, exactly?
The return of Sherlock is less of a surprise this time round. Instead of Sherlock regaling Watson of his continental adventures we’re shown the events which is much better than being told it. The set up and the pay off is laugh riot. Honest to god, a laugh riot.
And I’m not just talking about Martin Freeman flipping off the audience (check the Hobbit DVD extras for his outtakes of flipping off the audience) the episode on a whole is fun to watch and is welcome breath of fresh air after the disappointing Doctor Who season.
For much of the episode the Detective Duo are separated until the unnamed antagonists reach out and the episode gets moving. The use of Moran was a nice touch even if he isn’t chasing Holmes like before.
The episode on a whole was very V for Vendetta, minus the bald Natalie Portman. Using the London Underground as a set peice reminded me of Skyfall.
In the end, I’m happy Gatniss and Moffat have dulled some of the edges of Sherlock and made him more human. This is a good thing. You make the highly functioning sociopath more likable while still solving crime and keep the humor within reason.
Here’s hoping the quality of the next two episodes are just as good.

[Doctor Who] The Day of the Doctor

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It has been fifty years since William Hartnell premiered in the Unearthly Child.
I can thank WGBH out of Boston for being here.
In the eighties my family was glued to the television set at 7pm on weeknights for 30mins of Cybermen, Daleks and a Timelord played by Tom Baker.
The Day of the Doctor revisits a fixed point that has been elephant in the room since the series restarted: The Time War. Timelords vs. Daleks and Doctor #8 being at the middle of it all until one day he decides drop his pacifist notions and by way of a elixir of life from the Sisterhood of Karn, becomes a war doctor.
The downside of seeing Paul McGann regenerate into John Hurt is that it’s not part of The Day of the Doctor special itself. Don’t get me wrong it’s a great snippet that should be how we start off this special.
Instead we get a classic opening. As in, the old black and white opening turning to color as we find Clara, played again by Jenna Coleman is now a school teacher near to Foreman Junkyard that started it all 50 years ago. This is slightly perplexing because the last time we saw the Doctor and Clara at Trenzalore and the whole timeline with the Intelligence trying to kill them all.
The Doctor and Clara are picked up, literally, by a UNIT helicopter and brought back to London where trouble is a abrewing in the form of a three dimensional painting called Galifrey Falls or No More. It should not exist. This brings up bad memories for the Doctor obviously and the we are shown the final day of the war as John Hurt puts the hurt on some Daleks and steals “the moment” a galaxy eating machine that has a personality.
He steals it because he plans on using it to end the war and in doing so treks to this far off place that if I didn’t know better was his home but no one mentions who, what, when or why so I’m going with his childhood home.
The moment is steampunk-type box with clock gears and it’s personality is none other than the Bad Wolf herself played by Billie Piper.
The dialogue between the two of them is getting off to rather good start when the plot pulls them away when a time vortex opens and a fez pops through something neither of them were expecting unless you’re the audience and you know exactly how Moffat’s mind works.
Everything is out of time/space so going back to the Doctor and UNIT where Kate Stewart played by Jemma Redgrave brings the audience up to speed on the Doctor’s affair with Elizabeth 1.
Somewhere between Voyage of the Damned and Partners in Crime, Doctor #10 visited Queen Elizabeth and the two are having a lovely time playing kissy face when Zygons try to take over the Crown. And while running away from these shape shifters is when #10 and #11 meet up with hilarious results until the War Doctor arrives through the time vortex the fez came through and quickly all three are dumped into the Tower of London as prisoners.
I should also make mention that John Hurt steals every single scene he’s in and for some reason there wasn’t enough in the budget to spike #10’s hair so he may look odd. If the scarf was #4’s trademark then the hair is trademarked for #10.
Soon the Zygons threaten to derail the plot but the Doctors fix the on coming invasion quickly and get back on track to the real problem at hand: The War Doctor is about to blow up all of Galifrey to stop the war. The prop department had a good time with this episode from the Black Vault that is TARDIS proof with certain Doctor items to having 3 Tardi next to each other with different paint schemes and designs.
The three actors, John Hurt, David Tennent and Matt Smith really act with each other. Having all three of them stuck in the Tower of London to bounce off each other was a great idea because there are no explosions or SFX, it’s just them and their baggage and Bad Wolf just watching them all.
Clara and Bad Wolf are mostly in the background and while they’re there for most of the big scenes they get the short end of the stick since the dopey Elizabeth plot is given so much.
UNIT and their secret vaults are a great idea since Torchwood inception and execution was fumbled and they are practically no longer even in the picture. I hope the areas introduced are used again next season.
As for the overall plot: It’s really all over the place and really when you have a Doctor team up most of the plot goes out the window. Part of me and probably my mother would ask this: Ditch Queen Elizabeth and get the Doctor/Donna back in there. Donna zingers would have helped or even Wilf.
This episode thankfully gives the Doctor his call to action without blowing up the universe, or gathering the heroes to save the universe or the hero’s journey shenanigans that most season finales are there for.
Instead this episode was about one man trying to figure out what’s the right thing to do in the time of war.
The Curator idea I loved before the Curator showed up. I wished for more Curators but as you’ll see the extra special video at the bottom of this post helps.
Does The Day of the Doctor make up for the lameness of Season 7. Nope.
Season 7 should have built up to this but instead this episode is rather stand alone. Like neatening up dangling plot lines.
The Christmas Episode should be interesting since it’ll be Matt Smith’s last and Peter Capaldi’s first. I’m hoping for a grim Christmas episode or least one without the sweet tooth.
And for a extra special treat: A 30min film written and directed by Peter #5 Davidson which features a good deal of the Whovian cast both past and present.
The Five(ish) Doctors –

[Doctor Who] The Night of the Doctor

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Rob Callahan pretty much covered this in his post. I figure I’d post about it since I’ve been busy with NaNoWrimo…
The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary is now one week away and according to the trailers focuses on the Time War.
The Time War between the Time Lords and the Daleks has been the one fixed point since the new series started almost eight years ago. Originally used to give the series a clean start without at the time forty years worth of backstory to catch up on the fixed point is now front and center.
This off-scene event has brought up the who, what, why and how. There was some vague dialogue from Rassilion about the Doctor having the “moment”.
Sure, the comics have filled in the gaps and after several minutes of wikipedia searching the “moment” is weapon that can erase people from time and space. Pieces of this moment are scattered all through out Doctor Who lore starting with a De-Mat Gun which brings us all the way back to the Invasion of Time with Sontarans and Doctor #4 and Leela.
Whew.
I’d complain about the gaping holes in Amazon Instant Videos from seasons 13-15 of Doctor Who but I digress
The good news is BBC did a prequel to fill in the blanks between Doctor #8, The Time War and Doctor #9.
It features Doctor #8 and name checks many companions from the Big Finish Production radio plays that Paul McGann has voiced over the years.
It is 7 minutes of gloriousness.
Now, in order to enjoy this you must: A. Remember the 2hr Fox TV Movie from 1996 featuring Doctor #7 to #8 and then B. remember The Brain of Morbius with Doctor #4 and Sarah Jane Smith.

The Sisterhood of Karn and their elixir of life.
This video brings up the elephant in the room regarding the Doctor’s regenerations.
How many does he actually have left? The Vailyard, who? Did rebooting the universe reboot his regenerations? Do we actually count any of the Sarah Jane tv show saying he’ll live forever?
The funny thing is I almost miss the older seasons where they gave you dribs and drabs but nothing concrete unless necessary.
I think in a post-X-Files/LOST television world a shows mythology may be too much a burden. Like a reset button is needed no matter what.
Having survived the 80’s/90’s/00’s of comic bookdom I’d normally roll my eyes at the reset button, instead I’ll roll my eyes at the fact I can’t watch every single episode of Doctor Who on Amazon Instant Video.
Personally, my money is on the Timelords coming back from their fixed moment, go back to being the stuffy shirts they were and letting the Doctor go off on his own while backhanding complimenting him for his service by extending his regenerations.
Simple. Short. Sweet just in time for his next regeneration.

[Movie Review] Thor: The Dark World

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I hereby accept your surrender.”
It’s been two years since Thor and in a post-Avengers/Iron Man 3 world Thor: The Dark World has a lot to live up to.
Everyone else is making comparisons and I agree with them after sitting through Thor: The Dark World 3-D IMAX Experience.
First, the 3-D isn’t worth it. Gravity in 3-D was better. Jurassic Park in 3-D was better.
Second, the IMAX showing was gorgeous.
Third, the preview of Captain America: The Winter Soldier took the wind out of Thor’s sails.