Friday, June 24, 2011

Moving, Sooner Than Later

It's happening pretty quickly, but we just put a $500 deposit down on an apartment and on July 1st it will officially be ours. The next two or three weeks will be hectic and I'm unsure if we'll have the internet so it might be some time before you see an update here. As of now I'm currently writing and posting this from my phone.

When I do get the internet expect a fairly thorough blog about helpful tips when looking for an apartment. Things like having credit, $500, and a savings account will go a long way. Also, we didn't jump the gun when looking around and were treated to numerous shitholes. Seeing bugs, moving and completely alive bugs in a bathtub, is a definite sign to keep looking. Anyways, more on that experience another day.

I'm working over the next 5 days, then I go back to Del Mar for another meeting, then we get the place officially on the 1st. Until next time this is your IEC host signing off.

- Mike O.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Turn-back Tuesday: Weird Al, His New Single, and Why I'm 5 Years Behind

[Note: Turn-back Tuesday has nothing to do with the failed and seldom updated postings previously known as Memory Lane Monday. That feature was horrible and this one is at least six times better.]

Coolio is an asshole. Years ago I was listening to Love Line and a caller asked him why he was upset about Weird Al's parody of Gangsta's Paradise. The caller asked why Weird Al had to get Coolio's permission and not Stevie Wonder's since Wonder owned the rights to the original Pastime Paradise which Coolio sampled. Coolio exploded. I can't remember any exact quotes but it went something like "I don't want to go there or get into that, next caller yo".

It wasn't until 2006 (five years ago) that the mighty C embraced the song and hugged it out with Al at the Consumer Electronics show. That picture (courtesy of just made my day. Shame on all of you for not letting me know this happened and for making me waste five extra years hating the dread-locked wonder.

All of this came about because Weird Al was trending on Yahoo! and Twitter. Worried, I hopped over to his Wikipedia to make sure everything was alright. That led to me finding the picture above as well as a link to his new Lady Gaga parody video, Perform This Way.

There's not much to say that you don't already know about Weird Al's music. He's the best at what he does and at 51 he still makes it look easy. The truth about parodies is that for every Naked Gun there's Scary Movie, for every Spaceballs there's Vampires Suck. Clever funny vs. stupid, mundane funny. Yankovic works hard at his craft so that something as silly as Fat and Smells Like Nirvana are as memorable as they are. Daniel (IEC Contributor) pointed out to me years ago that Don McLean, famous for his song American Pie, came close to singing Weird Al's Star Wars themed parody (The Saga Begins) at live shows because he was so happy with Al's work and his kids played the song nonstop. Al's ability to keep musicians humble and not take themselves so seriously will be his legacy once everything is said and done. My favorite line from Perform This Way is when he reveals, from Gaga's perspective, "No reason I should regret / All the attention I get / I'm not completely crazy / I perform this way". And while the entire song and video doesn't have the same replay value for me as White & Nerdy or Gangsta's Paradise, it provides a great laugh throughout and that's all that matters. You listen to Weird Al expecting to laugh and he still makes it happen 28 years after his first studio album.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

UFZ: He's the Got No Green Lantern

Hype, it's the single greatest force in the universe, even more so than the willpower of Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Hype has the power to crush dreams or make days, it can pick us up when there's nothing left to look forward to or it can kick us in the metaphorical testicles.

For months this movie was built up as Star Wars for a new generation, I hate that statement. Star Wars is Star Wars, it has it's own place ( no where near and dear to my heart mind you). Green Lantern is an awesome story, rich in it's own mythology and at it's core all good Green Lantern stories are about overcoming fear and that's something we can all relate to. There's more than enough good material to tell a Green Lantern story and get people hooked without comparing it to anything.

Everyone that said this movie looks terrible can bite me, it's certainly not a revolutionary look but the look being translated to the big screen certainly was uncanny. The look of the movie is not an issue. Ryan Reynolds was great as Hal Jordan and that's who he's suppose to be the entire time. Green Lantern doesn't take on a different persona like Christian Bale in the bat suit nor should he. The breakaway performance was Mark Strong as Sinestro, he nailed the dictator like composure of the character.

The adapted for mass audience story in Green Lantern never really hits that emotional connection that the comics have. While it's probably not the worst story that could have been told on screen, you can tell this movie was not made for a comic audience, it's meant more to be a family adventure. I doubt DC will get any new readers based on this movie.

I would have liked to have seen Sinestro begin to make his transition to Hal Jordan's nemesis and possibly introduce the idea of the yellow lanterns. If there is another movie, I opt to replace director Martin Campbell, "Quantum of Solace" was a piece of crap but I gave him the benefit to the doubt. I wish he would stick to making independent films about gay cowboys eating pudding. He just seemed to not pick the right moments in this movie, I could draw better angles than he picked for some shots.

So far my favorite of the summer movies is X-Men, I have high hopes for Horrible Bosses. Green Lantern is a good movie but it's just not the emotionally gripping books brought to life. Warner Bros, DC comics and Green Lantern scribe Geoff Johns (who we all trusted because there are very few better writers in comics, I can only think of one) promised the world something epic and hopefully next time they'll realize you don't have to make something for everyone to be a success coughdarkknightcough.

I enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed Super 8, so 3 out of 5.

now to go see the angry lemons

- David N.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

X-Men: First Class Review

is one of my favorite superhero movies of all time and up until about ten minutes ago I didn't know that the same director, Matthew Vaughn, also did X-Men: First Class.

Makes sense. Much like Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class moves along quickly and makes 131 minutes feel more like 90. Most of the story takes place in 1960s New York where Professor X and Magneto start off as friends who take on Sebastian Shaw, a powerful mutant determined to start World War III. Both realizing they can't fight him and his cohorts alone, they begin recruiting other mutants that eventually help make up the first class. A few training montages later they all take on Shaw and as time progresses Professor X and Magneto grow further and further apart. Michael Fassbender steals the show as he nails every moment of Magneto's transformation from face to heel and is the reason why so many of us can't wait to see how the series develops. Like many tragic figures, we don't excuse his evil bidding because of his past but we can understand the choices he makes. Other than the outstanding villains and brisk pace of the plot, the movie is supported by a great cast, musical score, and well rounded production. Anybody familiar with X-Men will have a thoroughly good time watching this movie.

That said, there are a few things holding it back from what I'd consider to be a cinematic masterpiece like The Dark Knight. There are more than a few out of place one-liners about being different, especially in the early exchanges with Raven and Charles. Also, there are way too many of those cliche "be yourself" moments between Beast and Mystique that just get tired. By far the worst scene comes midway through the movie when the entire group of new recruits is having a coming-of-age like celebration, all showcasing their unique abilities in after-school like fashion. (We're all different! Wait a minute- We're all the same, because we're all different! OMG LOLZ LETS PARTY!!@!). I hated that scene.

My girlfriend's brother-in-law had a complaint, he said something about Havok not being around before Cyclops or something nerdy like that. It doesn't really matter because the movie is good and stands on its own. Most superhero movies will never be completely consistent with the comic book and few people are going to notice little things like that. I'm hardly the authority so if you know what inconsistency Marvin was talking about please post it (if worthy of posting) in the comments section.

Overall Rating: See it. B+ (It was a borderline A- but I just can't get over much of the tired teen talk.)

- Mike O.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Special Guest Blogger Scottie Pippen

Long overdue, the truth according to Scottie Pippen:

- Alonzo Mourning was a better all-around player than Kareem

- RC Cola is superior to Coca-Cola

- George Clooney was the best Batman

- Madonna couldn't hold Lady Gaga's junk

- "Mobsters" was just a way better movie than "Goodfellas"

- Aqua Man would not be a phenomenal water polo player

- Something said in Spanish is inherently not funnier than something said in English

- "Ernest Goes to Jail" was more realistic than "Ernest Goes to Camp"

-Snooki's book is a better read than "Othello"

- Chex is inferior to Crispy Hexagons

- Some day the number of Hot dogs you can buy will be equal to the number of hot dog buns available for purchase

- David N.

Future Freeway Debris

Please excuse my use of a cell phone while driving. It took less than three seconds to snap that picture of an unfastened couch hanging out the back of a pick-up truck cruising at 80 miles an hour down the 710. Can't wait to find a sofa cushion stuck under my left axle.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

UFZ: Super 8 - Neither a Hotel Chain Nor a Type of Film Endorsed by Bill Cosby

Have you ever had a dream that made you not want to sleep, because of the possibility of reliving it?

This was the feeling I had before tonights preview screening of J.J Abrams newest film "Super 8". See I hated his previous original film "Cloverfield", almost as much as I hate Best Buy; both only seem to serve the purpose of wasting two hours of your life and giving you motion sickness. I'm sure I was the least excited person in line to see this new movie, in a way it makes me the perfect person to review it for you and help decide if it's worth your hard earned $11.

Just a word of warning, while I will try not to include spoilers, I can't review this movie without giving away some plot; but don't worry the good stuff will all be new to you.

To put people in the seats, Super 8 sells it self as a monster/ suspense movie along the lines of the classic Jaws franchise. Thankfully, there are several good character developing layers to this movie that make it soo much more than just another monster flick. After being witness to a train hijacking, a group of kids trying to make a film to enter in their local film festival are caught in the middle of an intriguing mystery. Sounds simple enough right? It is, but from the opening credit, this movie gives you several questions to answer outside of the monster and how they all tie in together is very intelligent writing. The kids are very compelling characters, and instead of that being a slave to the monster theme, the monster angle only serves to make the other characters the focus of the movie. I love good character driven story telling and this movie was full of it.

Visually the movie did leave something to be desired. While you do see the monster clearly in this movie, you never really get that one epic feeling shot of it. In fact the full reveal of the monster left something to be desired. The train sequence was the awe inspiring sequence of the movie and it did not show the monster once.

Also don't get attached to any black characters you see in the film, they all get killed right after you meet them. You would think this would be a spoiler but trust me, the way these deaths happen, you can't be prepared for them even if I gave you the exact times. J.J Abrams apparently hates black people. That's one of the things I didn't understand. The other is why the kids listen to the fattest one instead of giving him to the monster.

Simply to sum it up, the government pumps E.T full of aids and steroids, slaps him around a bit and you have the monster from Super 8. No one hated E.T and you don't hate this monster.

Because I think Cloverfield was the biggest piece of crap ever made, I really wanted to hate this movie. I don't, I bought into this as just another popcorn flick and was treated to a very enthralling story. While I won't buy this movie and watch it over and over, it is a great one time see. That is really the movies only downfall, after the mystery is gone, there isn't much to keep you coming back to it.

I give this a 3 out of 5.

If you see one movie this weekend, make it X-men: First Class. If you see two movies this weekend see Super 8.

- David N.