Orson Wells on Jimmy Stewart

Apropos of nothing, I stumbled across a video of a section of a Dean Martin Celebrity Roast over at Crooks and Liars, which caused me to head over to You Tube to find more. I’m old enough that I was able to see most of them on TV when they first came out. At any rate, one of the more interesting and captivating was the Jimmy Stewart Roast. Orson Welles – in a rare serious moment for these roasts – delivers a stunning tribute to him. Continue reading

Ask A ScienceBlogger: Science Movies

This weeks Ask a ScienceBlogger question is:
What movie do you think does something admirable (though not necessarily accurate) regarding science? Bonus points for answering whether the chosen movie is any good generally….

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Phantom From Space: One From the Archives

At the moment I am quite busy procrastinating. I’m trying to finish up a post I have been working on and thinking about for awhile now, but keep finding excuses to put off working on it. Such as reposting this…
Although it sounds pretty cheesy (the science aspects suck), this is actually a first rate movie. Seems to be a low budget film and I don’t recognize any of the stars. It was released in 1953 during the era of the “invaders from outerspace” but veers off in a different direction from most (another exception being I Married a Creature From Outer Space).

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X-Men: The Last Stand

I just saw X-Men: The Last Stand a little while ago. I’ll get to that in a minute.
One of the things I also saw was a trailer for POTC II – looks really good. Davy Jones looks much better than the picture PZ has been wistfully posting…
Back to X-Men. Some random thoughts. I thought a little more of it than PZ did. Although, I do agree with him on the whole Golden Gate Bridge scene. Been me I would have just snuck up on everybody. I also agree that most of the characters seem to have been window dressing with not much else to do. You can definitely tell there was a change in directors (it wasn’t as jarring as that between The Crow and The Crow:City of Angels). Prof. Xavier didn’t come off that well either. Kelsey Grammer was great as Beast and Nightcrawler has gone AWOL Overall, it wasn’t a bad movie, but it wasn’t as good as the first two.

Movie Review: Crimson Force

So, I was watching this kinf of aweful movie on the Sci Fi channel called Crimson Force. Ordinarily I wouldn’t blog about cheesy movies on Sci Fi but it had some anthropological elements that drove me straight up the wall. The movie proposes a novel solution to the origins of anatomically modern humans and the fate of the neandethals (one that Dembski would approve of…). The movie is set on Mars and martians really, really exist. Their society is divided between a warrior class and a preistly class, apparently the priests are the good guys. At any rate, there are some criminal elements that get exiled to earth. Because they didn’t evolve on earth they succumb to bacteria and viruses and what not, but before they die they mate with the neanderthals (“…the missing link” exclaims one character who is supposed to have anthropological training). The offspring of this mating, channeling Oedipus, do the poor neanderthals in (which of course means that no can ask “If humans evovled from neanderthals why are there still neanderthals?”). Out of Africa Mars, indeed. At any rate the martians soon overcome their issues with earth’s bateria and spend a lot of time swiping plants from tropical rain forests (but “…we have destroyed a lot of our rainforests…” says the same character mentioned above) and growing them in hydroponics gardens on Mars (for their pharmaceutical value). All this wandering about in rain forests had a profound impact on the culture of the Neanderthal-Martian hybrids. For example the Sumerian language and cuneiform are derived from the martian language (which of course raises the question, can a culture become advanced enough to engage in space travel using cuneiform to communicate their scientific results?).
Total dreck, refrain from watching it whenever possible…

Pirate Movie Sunday

Since I can’t do too much to celebrate National Talk Like a Pirate tomorrow (other than talking like a pirate) I am doing a little celebrating today by watching a bunch of pirate movies. Here are the movies I’m hoping to get through:

The Seahawk – not a bad Errol Flynn movie, though Captain Blood was better
The Black Swan – Tyrone Powers at his best
The Swashbuckler – Robert Shaw rocks
Pirates of The Carribean – Geoffrey Rush steals this movie
Princess Bride – Dread Pirate Roberts and all

Sunday Godzilla Blogging

Usually when I go to rent movies I always check out the used videos for sale bin. Occasionally, I find some good stuff for cheap prices.
Recently, I bought Godzilla vs Gigan

This is one of the cheesier movies in the series. Godzilla actually talks (although I’ve seen worse). Basically, giant cockroaches are trying to take over the earth because their planet is too polluted. Their plan involves a monster related theme park (with a near life size statue of Godzilla), Gigan and Ghidra. They are opposed by an artist (created the homework monster for the theme park), a girl who’s brother worked for the theme park (as a scientist) and is now missing, her hippy friend (yeah, I know, but I actually liked this character) and of course Godzilla and Angilas (who was, to say the least, quite useless).

It’s actually quite watchable! Of course, I’ve never met a Godzilla movie I didn’t like.

Why do I do It?

I was at the grocery store last night and was looking through a rack of discounted items. Stumbled across Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, which is not a sequel to Megalodon. Sucked used kitty litter but I’m a sucker for a shark movie. Maybe there is a twelve step program I can sign up for. Give you an idea of how bad it is: One seen has a dude ride a ski jet straight into megalodon’s giant jaws. Pitiful. Gotta stop inflicting this kind of stuff on myself. It has to be more harmful than smoking – right?

An exciting scene

Shark attack 3 Posted by Hello

But don’t worry the dude in the sub got out while the sub was still in the megalodon’s mouth- used the sub as a target for a torpedo and blew the megalodon to smithereens (did’t seen any shark carcass though so there’s like to be a Shark Attack 4).

Boom Posted by Hello

Volcanoes of the Deep Sea: A Review

I didn’t really know what to expect when we got to the Science Center. The Parking was free – cool. When we got inside I noticed that there wern’t that many people there yet. But by the time the movie started the theater was almost full. So to be a good mix of young and old -several people brought young children. So, to the movie itself.
Mrs. afarensis claims she learned more about biology in 45 minutes at the Omnimax than she did taking a 3 credit biology class at St. Louis University. She says that her biology instructor said that life in the sea is only possible because of nutrients coming from above. Thermophilic critters and sulfer bacteria eating critters were a whole new realm of biology for her. She loved it!

For my part, I thought it was great. Had a great wraparound plot about a paleontologist named Dolph who was tring to find some sea critter responsible for making some honeycombed shaped trace fossils (unfortunately, I didn’t have any paper to take notes on so I don’t have details on names and species). He goes down in Alvin looking for these critters takes some samples from the ocean floor near black smokers and lava vents and what not. Unfortunately, the critter always gets away so at the end of the movie he still has not found out what they look like. He remarks “My wife would probably be happy that I never found my mistress of the seas” and on that somewhat wistful note the movie ends. In the meantime, we learn about the birth of the sun and the origins of planet earth. We learn about continental drift and sea floor spreading. We learn about all sorts of heat loving shrimp, octopi, and worms. Really, really cool worms with some red coloring about were their mouths would be – if they had mouths. The red comes from a type of hemoglobin. All in all I thought it was a great movie, well worth the 45 minutes. I didn’t really overhear any negative comments from the crowd as I was filling out the questionairre afterwords – but that doesn’t mean anything. I sincerely hope the St. Louis Science Center decides to show this movie.

Movie Review: Van Helsing

Although, I like Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale, I was disappointed in this movie. The plot was okay, but I really didn’t like the various werewolves, Frankenstein’s Monster and Mr. Hyde(which was the exact same as in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I don’t think the CGI blended in very well with the live actors. The makers of this movie would have been better off to go either with all live action or all CGI.

Another qualm is that this title character, Van Helsing, bore more than a passing resemblance to the Character “D” the title character in “Vampire Hunter D:Bloodlust” right down to the outfit.

On the plus side Kate Beckinsale and Hugh Jackman turned in good performances. Richard Roxburgh turned in a quirky performance as Dracula. When asked if he has a heart Roxburgh replies, eventually, “No, I’m hollow”. I also liked the references to earlier Universal Studios horror movies. Dracula: “Igor, why must you torment that creature so?

Igor: “It’s what I do!

Overall, the movie is worth seeing, but don’t expect too much.