Saturday, June 26, 2010

Television's Downfall Review

The other day, Tuesday I think, was the series premiere of the new evening game show Downfall.  Hosted by wrestling superstar (and, as far as I am concerned legend) Chris Jericho, the premise is that the contestants must answer a series of trivia questions in an allotted time to ensure that they win the cash and prizes.  Seems like a typical concept, right?  Well, the difference that this show tries to have is that it takes place on top of a building, and the prizes and cash are on a conveyor belt that will drop the goods over the edge if the contestant doesn't answer in time.  Here is a trailer of the show:

After watching an hour of this show, I came to a few conclusions.  1.  There is really no originality in shows anymore. This show is really no different from Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, The Weakest Link, Dog Eat Dog, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader, or Deal or No Deal.  2. Can't people do things to win prizes other than answering pointless trivia?  3.  Holy Crap!  Does America live in that much excess that it needs to develop a show where prizes (fake or not) need to be dropped of a building and destroyed, just for shear pleasure?  I don't care if the cash is fake, or the cars aren't really the actual car, there is a lot of money that is pumped into these fake prizes just to destroy them.  It is really disgusting.

Now, why did I want to watch this show in the first place?  Well, to tell you the truth, I got really excited for this show one I found out that Chris Jericho was the host.  I am a big Jericho fan.  I loved him when he said things like "Welcome to Monday Night Jericho."  I loved him when he became J2J, the "Ayatollah of Rock n' Rolla" when "Raw was Jericho."  The man is/was great on the mic, he knew how to get a crowd going, and he had great comedic timing (which is a rare thing, you can imagine, in the wrestling business.  Below is a clip of Jericho with the Rock (another legend):

Find it funny or not (I certainly do) this stuff was entertaining, in the height of the WWE Attitude area.  And now there is Chris Jericho, leaving his wrestling roots and branching out into another type of "reality" TV.  I kind of feel embarrassed for him for choosing such a ludicrous show to host.  Downfall was horrible.  I can't imagine that this show will be picked up for another season.  But hey, I could be wrong and it could suddenly become a big hit.  It wouldn't be the first time that a show that makes absolutely no sense to become popular (The Bachelor(ette), Hole in the Wall...)


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gulf Oil Spill

Every night on the news, it is the same old same old, with the first thing that is talked about is the gulf oil spill.  How there are 1.5 - 2.5 million gallons of oil  pouring into the ocean each day.  How every attempt that BP is doing to cap the disaster is flunking.  How there will at least be another month and a half that the oil will be gushing into the ocean.

Images like this


and this

haunt our dreams and disgust us on a daily basis.  And rightfully so.  It is disgusting to see Earth destroyed like this, and it is disgusting to know how incomprehensible the environmental impact of this oil leak will be on future generations.  Fact is, we all know that BP puts on a face for the environment and the people, but behind that facade, all the executives are caring about is the bottom dollar.  They think: "How much is this going to cost?"  They worry: "What about the shareholders?"  They wonder: "How long until people forget this?"  To answers: It's going to cost a shit load, the shareholder are indeed selling, and we will not forget about it.

And I for one am not one to point fingers at BP for this mess.  What happened to the oil rig was an accident, just as much as if a train de-rails, a plane crashes, a tractor-trailer jack-knifes.  They are accidents.  When you are working with something as volatile as crude oil, these things happen.  We hate it, but it is a way of life.  Nothing is ever perfect.

But "civilization" is to blame just as much, or more so than BP.  If it was not for our need of excess, maybe this disaster could have been adverted.  Sure, images above are disgusting, but what about the images below.



Sure, most people know that plastic bottles are derived from oil, but what is that second fabric picture doing there?  Well friends, that is polyester, which is also a synthetic derived from crude.  In fact, any material/fabric that you can think of that has a "poly" in it is most likely derived from crude oil.  And what about the carpet under your feet (provided there is carpet) it is likely made from nylon which, guess what, is oil based.  Toys, games, movies, TVs, radios, CDs, laminate flooring, medicines and roadways are just some of the oil based products that we use everyday that do not get a second thought about where they come from.

It is funny, when everything is fine and dandy, and the oil is mined and flowing just normally, no one says a word, and the people who do are considered extremists, hippies, tree huggers, whatever.  But as soon as there is a major disaster, caused by our insatiable need for excess and products, everyone jumps onboard of the "Save the Planet" train because it starts to effect us in a manner that we can actually visualize.  The real villains here with this disaster, I hate to say it, are us.  It will be a scary time when the wells really do start to run dry.



Thursday, June 17, 2010

Honor Killings

This doesn't really flow with the rest of the posting that I have done, but I am so infuriated about what I witnessed and heard yesterday on the news, that I just need to vent it out.  It is dealing with Honor Killings.

The National Post reported this morning that Aqsa Parvez was murdered by her Father and Brother because she rejected the religious and cultural traditions of their native Pakistan.  At least justice was partly served in that both Brother and Father were sentenced to life with chance of parole in 18 years.  The irony is that now these two men have brought shame to the family for being arrested and convicted (though, not for the killing).

There was another case in Ontario last year about a father and mother and son who killed four women by pushing their car into the Rideau Canal.  Again, all were charged with murder.  The National posts says that the UN estimates that nearly 5000 women are being killed world wide in the name of family honor.

The news last night actually showed some video footage of a woman being beaten by a group of men (in a country I cannot recall) because of the person that she wanted to date.

Sadly, if these killing occurred in their native land, they would not have even got a slap on the wrist for such and atrocity.

I am not saying that any religion is perfect, and in fact, religion as a whole can likely be attributed to more killings and deaths in the name of a so called "God" than any other reasoning.  Every war, a so called God is on the side of the combatants, be it from the crusades or WWI and WWII.  But the idea that a family in certain parts of the world can kill family members (mostly women) in the name of honor is is just down right f**ked up.

To imagine that this is actually going on in other parts of the world and is accepted, it is disgusting.  How can a person, no matter what the fraking Quran/bible says, kill a person because they are behaving not in the way that they "should?"  So, if my children grows up and decide to be do something that I do not agree with, I could kill them?  How in the hell does that even cross a parents mind?  My kid(s) can do just about anything and I know that I will love them and try to protect and respect and honor their choices for as long as I am around.


National Post - Honour Killings

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sweet Tooth

The first collected edition of Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire (The Essex County Trilogy) came out a couple of weeks ago (May 2010), featuring the first story arc "Out of the woods."  This trade paperback collects issues 1-6.

Sweet Tooth revolves around protagonist Gus, a half breed boy with antlers, and his friend Jeppard, who helps Sweet Tooth.  The world of Sweet Tooth occurs in a post-apocalyptic world where many of the inhabitants of Earth have been killed due to an unknown virus.  The only children that have been born after the apocalypse are these half-breeds (I don't know if I am the only one that wonders how in the hell a mother can give birth to a child with antlers, but that is another discussion).  In this world, the half-breeds have become a commodity, being sold for experiments.  Gus meets up with Jeppard, who promises to protect him and take him to a sanctuary called "The Preserve" that is for these half-breed children.

The story telling, I find, is engulfing.  Once you pick up an issue and start reading it, all you want in the next month to come my to pick up the next issue.  Lemire's art is so original.  No one in the business draws like him.  It is raw and edgy, but really beautiful at the same time.  The comic is on issue 10 as of June.  This collection allows a great jumping in opportunity for readers.

I definitely give this collection a 5/5.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dancing with the "Stars"

I got to thinking the other day about Dancing with the Stars. Who decided that these people that are involved in this show are stars? I mean really, when did Kate Gosselin become a star? She has a reality show that takes away the innocence of her children, a reality show that likely became the reason for her split with John (who is a mega-douche I might add).

Another "star" who has appeared on the show is Steve-O, from Jackass fame.  Steve-O?  Really?  This guy who became famous for stapling his ballsack to the side of his legs.  I know who Steve-O is yes, but did my parents, who actually watch the show know who he is?  When my mom asks who he is, I have to say that he was an ex dealer who did stupid stuff, tattooed a picture of himself on his back and then cleaned up.  Sorry they asked.

In fact, the only person that I think that should be considered a "star" that has ever been on that show is Steve Wozniak.  This man is the other Steve that formed apple computers.  He is one of the reasons that computers in general are what they are today.  He is down to Earth and super cool and nerds everywhere love him.  Most people know, or should know who he is.

I'm just saying, a show titled "Dancing with the Stars" should at lest include some star in the roster, not B-grade actors, Olymipians, and second grade singers.  I think that the show is misleading.  "Dancing with people you may have heard" of seems a more appropriate title.  Until I hear of names like Johnny Depp of Kathy Bates on the show, I just can't take is seriously.  Oh, and I also think that professional dancers should not be allowed to participate, because they already have an edge on the other competition, and in the end usually win.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shutter Island Review

I watched Shutter Island last night with Sylvia and a friend Sarah. We owed Sarah dinner and a movie for helping us paint the play room. Anyway, Shutter Island is the latest Martin Scorsese thriller which stars (big shock) Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Ben Kingsley. Below is the official trailer of the movie.

The movie begins with DiCaprio and Ruffalo's characters heading toward Shutter Island, which is a mental institution for the criminally insane. Taking place in the 1950s in the Boston area, the main character are US Marshalls sent to Shutter Island in search for a missing inmate who is considered especially dangerous. The institution is ran by Ben Kingsley, who is the head psychiatrist on the Island. As the movie progresses, we find the DiCaprio's character wanted to be assigned to this case because he feels that there are parallels between what is happening on the Island and what happened in Nazi concentration camps.

Shutter Island plays out like a great mystery/thriller. There are twists and turns a-plenty throughout the movie that literally keeps the viewer guessing until the very end, which is always the sign of a great thriller. I like to think that a movie is good if the people watching it can talk about it after the movie is complete, and this definitely got us talking. It is a thinking persons movie.

The movie itself looked fantastic. The background imaging looked beautiful, with deep darks and a nice colouring schemes to keep the mood of the movie. The movie also sounded great, which added well to the suspense.

I always like to rate a movie by whether I will add it to my collection or not, and this movie I will definitely be adding to my collection. Highly recommended!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Hobbit

So news broke the other day that Guillermo Del Toro quit as being the director of the new Hobbit movies. I don't blame him, because they kept getting put off and postponed due to financial troubles at MGM. As far as I remember, the first installment of the Hobbit was originally supposed to be released Christmas of this year. My question is how is it possible that a renowned Hollywood studio such as MGM be in such financial trouble? MGM owns one of the most lucrative franchises in movies: The James Bond franchise.

MGM, or Metro Goldwyn Mayer started in 1924, and through the 30s and 40s remained as one of the top franchises, with movies such as the Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind as some of their intellectual property (they have since been acquired by Time Warner and Warner Bros.) Sometime in the 60s the financial troubles began for MGM, and it went though a series of owners and CEOs up until present day, where the studio is still under bankruptcy protection and the future of the studio will be determined if there is a owner willing to pay enough to the creditors to purchase it.

With Del Toro leaving the movies, this is a large hit towards the making of these movies, with only Peter Jackson et al still of board to produce. Word came yesterday that Jackson hasn't ruled out completely to direct the movies. In fact, fan wise, I think, would only really accept Jackson as the director in leu of Del Toro.

So, in response to my initial question, I suppose due to a series of sells and mismanagement, MGM is in major financial trouble. Does it make sense that it should be with such a storied history? No, I don't think so. I can't even begin to imagine how many movies I have seen that has the Roaring Lion at the start of the movie.