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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Prices Are Alright: Mid Memorial Day Weekend

It's been a busy week for multiple reasons but have no fear: I'm here to give you our opening weekend prediction's in Jaysun's stead. Having worked 2 full days of the Hangover already, I can tell you that it's probably going to do better than any of us were expecting but them's the breaks. Anyway...

Hangover 2
Me: 98 million
Mike: 60 million
Chris: 70 million
Marshall: 66 million

Kung Fu Panda 2
Me: 88 million
Mike: 92 million
Chris: 85 million
Marshall: 45 million

So far the Panda's disappointing but Hangover was always going to be stronger during the first few days because college is out. I don't expect a huge reversal in the days to come but I do think this is going to be the second weekend in a row sounding a death knell for the overexposure of 3D; we've got KFP in both versions and one is very obviously outdoing the other. Keep watching this space as this weekend is most assuredly going to throw the whole game into utter chaos!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday News on the run

Well the news is on Tuesday this week because I was a total slacker and cruised around looking for toys on my day off. Generations Wheeljack is not going to find himself guys, ok?

So have you guys seen some of the stuff Lego's been putting out lately? Damn y'all. Just damn.

The closest we'll ever get to toys for John Christopher's Tripods Trilogy. Unless Gregor Jordan ever makes those movies. So yeah, the closest we'll ever get.
These Alien Conquest sets are just crazy. The higher end sets even have sounds! That's not even going into the craziness of the Pharaoh's Quest sets or even the really cool Pirates of the Caribbean series that just came out.

The inside of this thing is just ridiculous

On top of that, the Lego store online has some pretty sick exclusives including an entire village for the Castle theme and that amazing looking Emporium for the City sets pictured above. I'm coveting the Space Shuttle set they have on there as well; take a look in the store underneath 'Exclusives' and 'Hard to find' for more surprises like the Death Star set.  [Source: Lego]

I'm a long way away from the $100 for this though

Honestly if you really cared about the Muppets, you'd have seen through this immediately. Why? BECAUSE YOU'D HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING IT FROM THE GREENLIGHT.
 The trailer for The Muppets was attached to prints of Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger Tides this weekend, but Disney's released it online for all you people who didn't make it to the theater this weekend. It was really funny to see Twitter blow up about it yesterday as everyone seems to be getting angry that you're revealing the "surprise" of the trailer by saying it's for The Muppets. Honestly, you can see a picture of Kermit in the background long before they show up and it's not like the casting of Jason Siegal and Amy Adams in the movie was some big secret. Anyway, it's a cute trailer that sells the idea to parents/adults but will likely cause kids to ask some questions where Elmo and Grover are. One of the kids at work asked me if Jim Henson was directing the movie which made me really, really sad; not for the unawareness but for the fact that I knew Henson died before the kid was even born. BLECH. [Source: Latino Review]

Please come out where I can watch you without having to convert a PAL VHS tape.
Speaking of movies, there's a few new shots from the CG Animated Asterix movie coming out over at Bleeding Cool, one of the few sites in English that seems to be covering the movie in any detail. I've got pretty high hopes for this; I've never been able to see any of the live-action Asterix films but the animated ones from before the 90's (basically stopping at Asterix and the Big Fight though please don't get me started on Asterix conquers America) were some of my favorite movies ever as a kid. Every time a friend of mine goes to Europe I always ask if they can bring me back The 12 Tasks of Asterix on Blu-ray. Anyway, this new film is being made by one of the studios that worked on Despicable Me and it's based on The Mansions of the Gods which was a favorite despite having a lot to deal with real estate humor. [Source: Bleeding Cool]

Hey look! It's the Infinity Gauntlet! I can't wait to get asked by a certain dweeb at work if the Cosmic Cube is related to it!
There's a few images from the Art of Thor book out now, including some detailed shots of the easter eggs in Odin's vault. I wanted to start picking up the books with the art of the Marvel Movies but the fact that The art of Iron Man was softcover and The Art of Iron Man 2 was hardcover was something of a deterrent. Maybe I'll start fresh from here despite the $50 MSRP. [Source: Comics Alliance]

As a followup to something we discussed on the show, Deadline has an article about how Pirates being in 3D actually might have hurt the grosses. As someone who works in a theater, I can say it's not just kids who hate wearing the glasses; I've had adults crab about that as well. Honestly, people don't seem to care about the price as much as they do the annoyance of running into 3D constantly; it's been obscenely overexposed and people are tiring of it in a big way. It's a lot harder to sell people on a movie they're already iffy on if it's in the format (trust me, I've tried) and no one seems to be learning from the atomic payload that was Mars needs Moms. Sure Gnomeo and Juliet did well but that was a freak accident resulting from a vacuum in the family market early in the year. They need to take 3D out of 5th gear as some people are starting to reject movies based solely on the fact that they have a release in the format (See most of Ebert's recent reviews).   [Source: Deadline]

Well that's all I'm going to be able to get out for now; the dark hand of work beckons to me and sadly, I must obey. The LMS isn't going to map itself for Hangover Part 2 and Kung Fu Panda 2; though I don't doubt that isn't something they're working on...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Prices Are Alright: ORCCA Box Office Results Week Three, and Top Ten for May 13-15, 2011

Interesting weekend at the movies. Some fantastic holdovers, great worldwide, and disappointment domestic. Pirates was the sole new wide-release picture this weekend, as most were scared off. Let's see how this goes!

Ok, so just act drunk and they give you $50 million a movie.
I'm not lying, just look at this bracelet I bought made of
Bald Eagle's Beaks...
1. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES- $90.1 million. Ouch. That's gotta hurt the domestic brand for this franchise. Though, you can't say this was unexpected (some of us had even LOWER expectation) given the lack of advertising. This movie came about relatively late, so I imagine they are testing the overall marketability of the franchise with minimal advertising and let the past do most of the talking. That may be a bad idea. No matter, worldwide more than made up for this lackluster by comparison opening. $346.4 million since Wednesday. That is the fourth largest worldwide 5-day of all time. And that is quite a feat. No matter how you shake it, this movie did less business than AT WORLD'S END domestic and worldwide. And that is WITH 3-D and Imax and inflation. So they should have looked to re-build the brand, and not keep stacking on top of it. Without that foundation, it will crumble. Look for a new strategy with the franchise if it doesn't top $700 million worldwide. $21,000 per theater average is pretty great though. Friday includes midnights of nearly $5 million, and the Friday-Saturday drop was less than 10%. Which is pretty decent. Without the midnights added, there was an INCREASE of attendance. Just for a franchise this huge, everyone expects more.

2. BRIDESMAIDS- $21 million. -20% drop. Phenomenal hold. The only comparison to THE HANGOVER this movie deserves is it's staying power. Look for this movie to come near or top $100 million dollars. Without an A-List star (almost entirely TV actors...well...actually entirely) or a built in name recognition, this movie will pass Sex in the City 2's gross, and come near to the first Sex in the City. So... all the myths about movies made for and by women being failures could start to turn. Of course, this movie could just be really good and buck a trend. On the THIRD hand, maybe movies with the female demographic in mind should strive for quality like this more often...

3. THOR- $15.8 million. -54% drop. Doing well still, though not Iron Man stability well. Thor is going to have to push really hard to break $200 million. Actually, it looks impossible by now. But it's worldwide total is still looking good. Seems this movie didn't grab, but it will beat Incredible Hulk. And that is a good thing.

4. FAST FIVE- $10.6 million. -48%. So it has finally started to wear down, the oil change is coming up, and you'll need a pit stop? Is the car stuff silly? I can't make too many jokes about cars. BUT, Fast Five looks to finally be slowing down it's cash flow. We are looking at another $15-20 million before it throws on the parking brake (I'm trying). Hello $200 million gross for Vin Diesel without trying to count Saving Private Ryan! Hi $200 million gross for Dwayne The Rock Johnson with trying to forget the Mummy Returns. Great run so far. This broke $500 million worldwide.

5. RIO- $4.8 million. -44% drop. This is the last weekend before Kung Fu Panda 2 sidekicks Rio in the balls, and laughs while writhing on the floor. Not bad, this movie did well, but worldwide is $438 million. Which is amazing. Domestic is $131 million so far.

Look Paul, that is the sun setting on your lead actor career. 
6. PRIEST- $4.6 million. -69% drop. Hehe, 69 dude! This is looking to die a quick death, terrible, terrible drop. The "graphic novel" didn't register outside it's opening weekend (the weekly grosses were horrendous). Paul Bettany can't carry these low budget, religious-themed horror movies. Stop already!

7. JUMPING THE BROOM- $3.7 million. -48% drop. This is falling at the same as ...

8. SOMETHING BORROWED- $3.4 million. -50% drop. Nobody is really looking for commentary on these movies, they are about to die.

9. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS- $2.1 million. -50% drop. End of the line for the top ten. I have not seen this, but I could have told producers to keep the budget down...

10. MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY- $1.1 million. -55% drop. Madea has now been buried 200 feet below the surface of the earth. We should hope he/she does not try to claw its way out. This movie was a pretty big disappointment.

NOW for the game part!

Opening Scores and Rankings:
Marshall - 986
Jaysun- 981
Richard- 961
Michael- 954
Chris- 947

Pirates Estimates: - 90 million.

PIRATES Predictions: 
Marshall- 75 million: -15 points  
Jaysun- 88 million: -2
Richard- 82 million: -8
Michael- 95 million: -10
Chris- 75 million: -15

68 Million: -22 points

New Scores and Rankings:
Jaysun- 979
Marshall- 971
Richard- 953
Michael- 943
Chris- 932

Jaysun jumps back in the lead! For now... And has fun at the top! Marshall back down a spot. Rest of the rankings are the same. Chris took a big tumble, as did Marshall. But next week, chances to redeem yourself! Kung Fu Panda 2, Hangover 2! Sequels! One will be huge, one will disappoint. Guess which!

UPDATE! Crisis On Infinite Orcca's

UPDATE!! Part 2!! With The Fain!!

Did anyone find our comments about Thor suspiciously absent? Well no worries because we were saving that for safely after everyone had properly borne witness to the glory of Asgard firsthand! Now we can spoil the living daylights out of it with no fear!

Speaking of no fear, Mike is apparently doubtless as to the success of (fill in that team Mike talked about here), which leads us into a prolonged conversation on America's favorite passtime. You'll never know which opposing teams you can best throw out to pretend you know something about sports if you don't listen!

Plus you get all the fascinating backstory as to how we formed this ragtag bunch of scrappy... scrappers. 

Is it new? Yes!

Is it long? Probably!

Is it composited from multiple recording sessions where we went long or talked while waiting for everyone to arrive? Maybe!

Is it entertaining? Definitely!
Don't squander my love of Shojo sports anime or I'll never forgive you! It's the most about sports that I know with confidence! Don't let me bringing up Princess Nine be for nothing!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tribute: Randy Savage

I'm going to write about Randy Savage for a minute, so if you make fun of me for enjoying the world of wrestling, skip the snark for now. Some people that know me always ask "why do you like pro wrestling?", citing my distance from the norm of fans. there are many reasons. The dramatic entanglement of a fight, heightened by feats no average person could achieve. The trash talking and betrayals, the enigmatic nature of some, the boastful exclamations of others. But really, it always has to do with identifying someone you admire and see as who you are or who you want to be.
At the impressionable age of 9, I haphazardly I flipped through the multitude of new channels available to me and caught a glimpse of an American Indian warrior at night, shouting about winning battles and then hearing a call. This was a man named Tatanka. It interested me enough recognizing this as a thing called " pro wrestling." I had seen a segment a year previous involving a guy kicking another guy through a window (later learning this to be the break up of The Rockers, and Shawn Michaels being the "kicker") , and decided to watch the rest. I saw someone I identified with shortly afterwards. His name was Bret Hart. His words before a match were simple, and he had a humbling nature, despite claiming he was the best there is, best there was, and the best there ever will be. This, even as a child, seemed like something I would do. Say I was "great", all the while not believing it and wanting people to respect the feigned confidence. But he expertly defeated an opponent. I though much of him. But then I saw something else, clips from an already completed event called Wrestlemania VII. Some fun stuff, even recognizing Sgt. Slaughter from G.I. Joe, but here as a bad guy. Then I saw segments of an emotional match and conclusion from a small but flashy individual. His name was Macho Man Randy Savage.
I begged my mother to go to a video store, as the commercial had said the event was on tape, and rent this Wrestlemania. I was dazzled by a tag team match by Bret Hart. But wrapped up in the "final" match of this Macho Man. Never before or since, has a competitor so deftly pulled so much in one match. He was easily one of the best wrestlers of all time. So much charisma, even people that hate wrestling have to respect him for his work outside of wrestling. His costumes were brilliant, his "promos" so perfect and unique. He became the standard for what people think of as a wrestler. As popular as Hulk Hogan was, Macho Man was the absolute bar. His match with the Ultimate Warrior hid how bad of a showman he was, and made both men look amazing. The unaffected amount of elbow drops, the seamless movement. And of course, the real life and fictional love of his life, Miss Elizabeth. It was a true romance all fans of wrestling care about. So genuine, so true, that even young boys getting sick by the mere mention of girl, were caught up. Ever since, the angle of romance in wrestling has been attempted, but never successful. Because it could never be as honest as those two were. It was never stale, and there was always something in the way of their love. Another wrestler, retirement, distrust, championships. It was amazing. And made me WANT to be Macho Man. I try, even now, to emulate his presence, charisma, and capacity for love. Being a man's man, but not afraid of shoeing his tenderness. He never treated Elzabeth horrible in the stories. More angry at the situations involved. No wrestler could ever have that impact, he was the very definition of unique. I even learned his was from the very places I now live, and had a great life before wrestling even.
He is gone. I feel as though if I had a flag representing my life, it would be a half mast today. I still want to be him. No fear of fashion, his outfits would attest. No fear of gravity, his feats would attest. No fear of humility, his comedy appearances would attest. No fear of showing love, as the above explanation would attest. The list of accomplishments is innumerable. Greatest match of all time is almost universally regard as his match against Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat. The match that changed wrestling, comparable to the first time people saw The Beatles, changing music forever. The first time people saw "Star Wars," changing movie forever. The first time we saw the moon landing. I understand, it is extreme to call these similar events, it's impact on the culture at large. But to those whose lives were changed, that is how they felt. That is what I'm trying to get across. Nirvana, The Simpsons, the Theory of Relativity. Cornerstones of culture. Things we universally can see the change before and after. The apex of a certain thing. The movement to a new era. I make these outlandish comparisons to emphasize his importance in his field. Know that.
What else did he do? Slim Jim commercials, beloved by all. Spider-Man. We all remember, he was perfect. Space Ghost Coast to Coast, as Leonard Ghostal, Rad's Badass Gandfather. We all know him. We all regard his accomplishments in the highest. He had bad times, but let those wash away for now. We will remember everything great he did. His impact on me, cemented for the rest of my life. Randy Poffo, the man that changed wrestling forever.

Confessions of a Noir Addict: Review of L.A. Noire

film noir - noun; a motion picture with an often grim urban setting, photographed in somber tones and permeated by a feeling of disillusionment, pessimism, and despair.
                                                                           --, based on the Random House Dictionary

Noir is a state of mind. It is a cinematic style. It is a literary style. It encompasses a diverse grouping of indicators, genres, and treatments. Noir is hard to define, but easy to recognize. It is L.A. Noire.

On May 17th, 2011, Team Bondi and Rockstar Games released, for the PS3 and Xbox 360, L.A. Noire. And the gaming world will, or at least should, never be the same again.

First, a little background of where I'm coming from.

I love the noir style. From films such as The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, and The Third Man to The Big Lebowski, L.A. Confidental, The Black Dhalia and Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, I love the films that show the seedier side of the world. So, too, do I love the books and short stories many of these movies are based from, as well as the plethora of fantastic, hardboiled crime fiction that has yet to be captured on the big screen. Ever since, as a child, I watched The Third Man with my father, I have been drawn to this cinematic schadenfreude.

Then, in 2004, I heard rumors of an adventure game encapsulating this style coming to consoles. It was being funded by Sony Computer Entertainment America. It then got pushed back into the then "next generation" of consoles. That sealed it. I vowed that, by the time this game came out, I would own a PS3. Later, February of 2010 to be exact, it was announced for the Xbox 360. Nevertheless, it was always a PS3 game, so deep down I wanted it for that system. And at 12:10 am, on May 17th, 2011, I bought the PS3 version of L.A. Noire.

Now, as many of you may know, since late April, the PlayStation Network has been down. Unfortunately, since I bought the PS3 version of the game, I can't speak to the extra missions or outfits that were given away at launch during this playthrough. They won't be accessible until, as all reports are leaning towards, May 24th. When that happens, I will play it again, shooting for 100% completion. Until then, know that this finished playthrough focused on completing the main storyline of 21 cases and collecting all 13 newspaper flashbacks (more on that later). I did not explore overmuch. But I did immerse myself in the story being told, and what a ride that was.

L.A. Noire takes place in 1947 Los Angeles, amid reassimilating GIs from WWII, the burgeoning Hollywood film industry, and the booming land development of the area. The gameplay style takes influence from open-world, sandbox type games such as Rockstar's own Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead series, and mixes adventure gaming tropes throughout. The primary protagonist is Cole Phelps, a returning veteran from the Pacific Theater of WWII, decorated with a Silver Star and reassuming his role as a beat cop in the Los Angeles Police Department. He is determined to "right the wrongs" committed during the war, and is a strict, by-the-books cop who closes cases with alarming alacrity.

Traveling through the, almost magically, faithfully recreated city, you must help Phelps investigate and solve numerous crimes; first a support for the detectives of the LAPD, then as one. You move through Traffic, Homicide, Ad Vice and Arson as the story progresses, taking on the various crimes assigned to your department.


The controls are almost identical to other Rockstar-published games. The left analog stick controls movement, the right controls the camera. The directional pad scrolls through choices, while the face buttons are situational. Very familiar controls for familiar gameplay styles. As you interrogate, each face button serves as your reaction to the previous statement: Truth (you believe them), Doubt (you don't feel like they are telling the whole truth, but have no proof) or Lie (you have proof to back up your doubts). Streamlined, seamless and familiar.
RATING: 10/10


The writers at Team Bondi better win an award. The plot of the game starts off almost banal, your stereotypical "police procedural." It presents you with the common stereotypes of the genre, normal settings, prerequisite voice-over ... and then tips it all on its side. The character development, even early on, is mind-blowing. The cases, at first, seem common enough ... until you keep seeing the many-faceted conspiracy unfolding.  As you progress through the cases, you are treated to the present day (gameplay), what happens in the shadows (in a clever "behind the headlines" style as you pick up various newspapers), and what happened in the past (WWII flashbacks between each case). The story unfolds masterfully, keeping your interest piqued while always leaving you wanting to know more. Even minor characters feel like fleshed-out humans, enough so that one can only imagine what the games design Bible must look like. By grounding it all in the reality if 1947 Los Angeles, it presents an uncanny window into that era. And it does it exceptionally.
RATING: 11/10


You can thank a company called Depth Analysis and their MotionScan technology for this category being called "Acting" instead of "Voice Work." By using state-of-the art motion capture technology alongside 32 surrounding cameras, not only do the actors bring their voices into the game, but their very faces. Having not watched Mad Men (yet), I can't accurately judge how well Aaron Staton has been presented as the main character of Cole Phelps. But when I saw, instead of heard, two actors I am familiar with in the game, it impressed upon me how truly amazing this technology was. While investigating a murder, I began to interrogate a Person of Interest named Hugo Moller. I hadn't really been paying attention when he showed up on scene, and when I looked back to a facial close-up of the character, I was staring right at Greg Grunberg, of Heroes and Alias fame. It was eerie. The mannerisms, the small facial tics ... spot on. Later, you meet with wealthy land developer Leland Monroe, portrayed by none other than John Noble, of Fringe and The Lord of the Rings fame. And wow. It was almost like watching an episode of Fringe set in 1947 Los Angeles. The sheer number of credited cast is mind-boggling for a video game (over 300 credited in the game manual). And they were all in the game.
RATING: 10/10


Andrew Hale (of the band Sade) has composed a masterful score, filled with jazzy horns and somber pianos. I am, in fact, listening to the soundtrack as I write this, to keep in the mood. As amazing as the score is, complementing it is the licensed music, authentic to the era, that plays on the car radio (which unfortunately you could not change stations on) and throughout the city on public radios in shops. Not only that, but there are actual clips from The Jack Benny Program, The Charlie McCarthy Show, and The Bickersons (starring a young Don Ameche). Rounding that out are commercials and news broadcasts headed up by Lazlow, of GTA fame.
RATING: 10/10


Not only are there 21 main cases to solve (where you can get from 1 to 5 stars, depending on your effectiveness while solving the cases) and 13 newspapers to read for the main storyline, but there are 95 different authentic cars to drive, 50 golden film reels to discover, 30 landmarks to visit, 40 street crimes to aid in stopping/resolving, numerous weapons to fire, and a "boatload" (pun is intentional, but you'll only get it after playing the game) of DLC containing 20 police badges to help level you up quicker and extra outfits, weapons and cases. There is also "Black and White" mode to play with, placing a monochrome filter on the game for the added noir feel. And plenty of trophies/achievements for those who are into such things. There will also be added content through the Rockstar Social club. Plenty to keep you coming back for more noir. Oh, and stick around post-credits ... it's worth it.
RATING: 10/10


This game is easily one of my favorites of recent times. It may grow to be my favorite single game of all time, on repeated playthroughs. Only time will tell. But I will say that this should be considered a frontrunner for any "Game of the Year" discussions. Between solid, tried-and-true gameplay interspersed  with unique adventure game mechanics and a revolutionary new motion capture technique, not only with this game turn heads at film festivals (such as the Tribeca Film Festival, where it was shown as a 60 minute film) but also gaming awards worldwide.
RATING: 10.5/10

Hopefully Team Bondi and Rockstar will grace us with plenty more "Noire" in the future, but for now ... do yourself a favor. Go out and get a copy of L.A. Noire. Don't get left in the dark. (Subtle pun there, as noir = black ... heh.)

See ya next Punday! -- Michael

*All images are PSP sized wallpapers from Rockstar's official L.A. Noire site.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

UPDATE! The Price Arrrrrr Alright: Pirates Edition. Box Office Results for May 20-22, 2011.

Since we won't be recording before the weekend, here is a written edition of our box office prediction game. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Don't expect a repeat of this once powerful franchise. But some power... On to our extreme guessing!

Marshall: 75 million
Richard: 82 million
Michael: 95 million
Chris: 75 million
Jaysun: 88 million

Let's how far off we are!

Pirates is looking like it may open at 89million given it's opening day of 35million (including midnights) and similar trends of weekends. Worldwide is doing more business than the previous films, so that could be enough for 2 more.

Kristen Wiig has some amazing legs. I mean her film Bridesmaids! Come on now! Only dipping 25 percent on Friday to Friday grosses, and may look for only a 15% drop for the whole weekend to 22 million. That's quite incredible. That "Hangover for women" tag it was saddled with finally is making sense...for box office that is.

By Priest 3D...may only do 4 million. Thor's not doing bad, may hit 17 million.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

3 more things I'm dying to have on Blu-ray even though I have no time to watch anything

Did you really think I was only going to do 5 picks for a list like this? I hope not because otherwise I have no clue what I'd be doing in order to silence the seething madness which takes over whenever I'm not working myself to death.

Justify my grief by viewing the first part of this list!

Anyway, here's some more stuff I want to see because it's the best way for me to focus all of that vicious self-persecution into something vaguely positive

6.) The Rocketeer (1991) Walt Disney Pictures
I'm still not prepared to confront how this movie is 20 years old
I'm just amazed that this hasn't been announced by now as all the timing is right for a great media tie-in with Captain America: you've got the same director, similar subject matter and Disney even owns the Marvel characters (along with part of the distribution for Cap). It's practically a license to print money and an easier fit than a lot of other promotions I've seen in recent memory.

So what's great about this movie that isn't an amazing promotional opportunity? I probably don't have to tell you guys that! Joe Johnston's adaptation of the late Dave Steven's character stands out as a superlative early example of comic books as film. The whole movie is like a checklist of every pop culture thing the internet loves, excusing zombies and goofy cat pictures. Plus it's not terrible for both society and your mental state the way Sucker Punch is!

Oh wait. Not liking Sucker Punch is my fault. Guess I'll have to remember that when someone puts together a hodgepodge of things I'm supposed to enjoy, my subjective opinion of an artistic work is irrelevant; it was designed from the ground up to mechanically embody every aspect of entertainment that's supposed to appeal to me and for that reason I should adore it, ignoring all the uncomfortable aspects it may be stereotyping me with.

Tangential rant over.

This movie, along with Terminator 2, is one of the movies from when I was really young that I remember extremely well because of how I saw it. My Mom actually took me and my Brother to see this during a weekday matinee while my Dad was at work; this probably wasn't the first time I'd been to a matinee, but I was thrilled to notice that the theater was not swamped the way it would often be on weekends when we normally came. Also, my Mom going out of her way to take us to a movie was pretty rare so the memories stick in my mind years later. In fact, I'm still not entirely positive my Dad ever ended up seeing it though its doubtless he heard about since me and my Brother must have rented the NES game 30 times that summer. Such great music in that game despite it being even harder than Kemco's Batman, one of the two NES cartridges we actually owned.

So Rocketeer never really got a great DVD release, having special features limited to a trailer. As nice as it was to be able to see it in widescreen again that's pretty lacking for a movie that had a 'making of' TV special I remember pretty clearly. This wasn't the monster hit that Disney wanted it to be back in the day but that doesn't mean they can't make crazy bank off of it now with all the anticipation for Cap's movie. They go hand in hand and this already has a pretty big cult following. Awareness of this character is so high and talk isn't cheap Disney; pull together a spectacular blu-ray for any release of Captain America and you'll be looking at some nice profit. There's a reason that the releases from IDW of Dave Stevens' work have been pretty popular with fans and the press; that complete deluxe edition hardcover is absolutely to die for. Cliff's even got some new adventures coming your way with Rocketeer Adventures, an anthology series with work by top tier talent like Kurt Busiek and Mike Allred. It's out now for those interested...

People know what's up

7.) UHF (1989) Released by Orion Pictures, Rights held by MGM with home video releases being distributed by 20th Century Fox or possibly Sony

We miss you Orion pictures

Isn't it fun looking at the whirlwind of distribution deals that have made up MGM and their catalog over the years? Its like legal hopscotch because I still can't properly figure out who has the rights to make a Blu-ray of the only film which can claim the illustrious quality of starring Weird Al.

Back in the time before Comedy Central reran nothing but those goofy direct-to-video National Lampoon movies, they used to show this classic with a frequency to rival that of USA and their adoration of Tremors. As you can imagine, with so much of the early 1990's spent by me waiting in the Doctor's Lounge for my Dad to come back and help with my math homework, I saw this movie hundreds of times. The tale of George fighting against the corrupt R.J. Fletcher is the pinnacle of 80's comedy nostalgia even if people are unaware the movie exists (for now). Aren't the 80's always a big thing with the internet? Of course they are, otherwise custom T-shirt stores would have nothing to mash-up for an easy sell!

Is it for everyone? I have no clue. But I do know it's for me. I remember when the original MGM DVD came out, me and Jaysun went specially down to Best Buy on our day off to get it. I think they only had 3 copies and we had to get help to find them but it was worth it. Of all the discs put out by MGM at a budget, this was one of the best; it had commentary, deleted scenes, live menus, the works. Were they 'film school in a box' the way David Fincher releases are? No, but they gave you pretty much everything you could hope for from a movie that went head to head with Batman back in 1989. The test screening of UHF is well known to be one of the most well-received ever so that faith was justified and now we have a chance to see it repeated. Al's going to be game for any fun new thing you want to try so you know you'll have something new to put on there. Heck, why not go all legal like and make it a double pack with a collection of all his music videos?

There's a demand for this title out there and I don't doubt that whoever holds the rights could make a pretty penny off of it. Especially if they found some more of the deleted scenes or had a printable script option... C'mon Fox/Sony, don't make us drink from the firehose!

8.) Princess Mononoke (1997) Toho Co., Ltd and domestically licensed by Disney/Miramax
Maybe they can finally do some decent localized boxart for it too; the DVD looked ok...
Princess Mononoke has an interesting history in the US. Initially brought over by Miramax, it ended up being one of the first movies released as part of the Disney Tokuma deal made in 1996. After a theatrical release, it almost came to DVD with just English audio; fan protest convinced Miramax to put subtitles and original Japanese audio on the disc but not much else.

The way the deal has evolved over time has stipulated that Disney can't put anything out in the US that isn't already on Blu-ray in Japan so the release of this is likely going to be glacial. Japan is going in pseudo-chronological order and we're behind even that since Castle in the Sky has yet to be announced. I'm hoping Disney takes advantage of the whole library even though really only people like me are going to be buying stuff like Whisper of the Heart.

Why yes, I am still frustrated that we don't have anything resembling a release of Only Yesterday.

Anyway, that's a tangent.

I picked Mononoke because Miramax's original DVD was really lackluster as far as features go; all Ghibli DVD's had 2nd discs with the entire film in storyboard form, something I greatly enjoyed back in the age of real free time (namely the summer between graduating high school and entering college). The domestic release lacked even that, but in light of it being really early in the DVD life cycle, we understood. Besides, they can make up for it now by putting the storyboard version on the Blu-ray as well as the 6 hour and 20 minute long making of documentary that's out there. I think that would make up for it pretty nicely.

Also, this is arguably my favorite Ghibli movie. It's a dead heat with Castle in the Sky but it's easier to get people to scream at me over this one for some reason and we all know I love getting into arguments about stuff I care about. Don't you want to fuel the fires of my passion?

I really hope that Ghibli gets to Mononoke sooner than later, despite their seeming adherence to releases based on chronological order; the only joy I get out of that is seeing all the people have to wait for the over appreciated Howl's Moving Castle to come out last since Ponyo already made it. Do me a solid guys and get to working on the domestic released this film has always deserved as I'm sick of waiting for it.

There you have it guys. Because my thoughts always seem to be a work in progress, I'll probably be adding to this list in the future. In the meantime, feel free to tell me how awesome (or dumb) I am for liking UHF (or disliking Howl's Moving Castle) on Twitter, leave a comment here or even buy some fancy stuff from one of our sponsors!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday News Cheap Thrills

[Source: NASA]
I've had a pretty busy day already, what with getting up to watch Endeavour launch for the last time and helping with some errands (as well as sneak a peek at the new Transformers 3 and Captain America toys); as a result, I've only been able to go through some (mostly) movie news so you're gonna have to deal.

The first trailer for the Fright Night remake is out and it's got a surprising amount of emphasis on the horror but not the comedy. Strange to me, in light of how I think of the old movie as being more funny than I do scary but I guess we won't really know until it hits in August, bravely battling it out for screens with Spy Kids 4 and Conan the Barbarian during a weekend I can only think of as being 3D-MAGEDDON(TM)! You get a good look at everybody excusing David Tennant as Peter Vincent; the focus is mostly on Anton Yelchin and Collin Farrel as the new Jerry Dandridge (or as my brother used to call him, Disco Dracula) [Source:]

In exciting poster news for movies I deeply hope do not turn out awful despite some questionable production choices, the first one-sheets for The Muppets and The Adventures of Tintin: the Secret of the Unicorn have appeared, part of the theater businesses continual attempt to lure me into hanging around forever. The former is ok I guess; I'm not blown away with evocative imagery but it does show the characters well which will hopefully get kids asking their parents about them. I find it funny that the only picture anyone's got of it has that lens flare as people are mistaking it as part of the poster; I already have some on the way to work so I'm amazed that no one else has a better image yet since we usually get stuff last (if at all). As for Tintin, I'm already highly covetous of both versions though I admittedly prefer the international version, pictured below.  The US is getting really screwed over as the international Thor posters were a damn sight better than the domestic final, something I will never let go. The domestic version is here though ignore Harry's commentary as he's an idiot. I'm really excited to see anything from Tintin despite disliking the majority of it's cast (yeah you heard that right) and being iffy on how the characters have translated from those pictures in Empire last year. Still, everyone's talking about the Tintin posters on most of the sites I've seen with varying levels of accuracy/excitement. A special credit goes to Nordling at AICN for actually admitting he knows nothing about the source material. I appreciate your honesty! [Source:  Ain't it Cool News]

Cool... sure wish I got a shot at one Paramount

Speaking of cool stuff that totally relates to the movies that I never get to see despite working at a theater, here's a look at one of the SHIELD Field Agent Test Kits that Marvel and Acura were using to promote Thor. Sure, it comes as part of a story about how it was mistaken for a bomb but that's a little cathartic for me since I'll never have one. [Source: Comics Alliance]

Takara announced what the 10th Masterpiece Transformer was going to be: a new mold of Optimus Prime, trailer included this time and meant to better fit the scale of MP Rodimus and Starscream. Where that leaves MP Megatron and Grimlock, I'm not sure; if they want to redo Megs though I'm definitely not going to protest as mine has the tarnishing issue on top of how he's the weakest of the Masterpiece TFs. In the meantime, I'm hoping Hasbro gets their act together and puts out the MP Rodimus and Thundercracker, all features intact; not looking forward to springing $200 on the new Rodimus 2.0 that was just released. Anyway, the irony of how this comes out after the original MP-01 Prime mold was highly touted as being retired is not lost on anyone. One thing's for sure though: I'll be glad to finally have an Optimus with a trailer! I may even import him so I can have my highly illegal long smokestacks... [Source:]

Ruminating on ridiculous US toy regulations aside, I'm done for now; I have to catch up on the sadly canceled The Chicago Code before trying to squeeze some enjoyment from my precious, precious day off. Don't worry though: I'm sure some jackass will send me into a rage at work tomorrow for your guys future enjoyment on the show.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

UPDATED! The Prices Are Alright: ORCCA Box Office Results Week Two, and Top Ten for May 13-15, 2011

     So begins another week of 20/20 hindsight. Starting last week, we began a new game with rules in the link provided. Now, come on the next paragraph to see who is winning. Marshall started late, and in error, I said he would have a +5 handicap for starting late. He should have a -5, as he is starting more fresh than we are. But, I will instead start him at 1000 because of my error, and will have an asterisk. UPDATE: Marshall will start 15 points below the rest, taking automatic penalty for not making a guess on last week's round. First the Top Ten, then our scores.

1. THOR- $34.7 million. -47.2% drop. We see a decent drop for week two. Considering drop for most action movies is usually sizable , this is a great number for the God of Thunder. Cumulative domestic stands at $115 million, and has a similar depreciation to the first Iron Man. The movie is doing pretty well, much better than The Incredible Hulk, so Marvel/Paramount/Disney should be pleased. I expect $180-190 final. Though, if it has a similar box office life to Iron Man, the total would be projected at $220 million. Though, Iron Man had more appeal to older audiences than Thor can provide.

2. BRIDESMAIDS- $26.2 million. NEW. Great opening weekend (better final!) for an all female lead cast, and being an original property. The Apatow name helps, but this would have hit without that marketing push. Bridesmaids has appeal to young male AND female audiences, and has an ambitious attitude. Congratulations to Kristen Wiig for this, she deserves all the success she can muster. Marketing was top notch, and reviews are scorching for this. Very good Per Theater Average of over $8,000. Pink was a bold marketing choice, as it can easily scare off males. This opening show that did not happen. Most of Hollywood was expecting a mid-teens launch. Universal believed in their film, and it hit a little more than they hoped (around 21 million). Expect decent legs for this, as it is all alone in appeal this summer.

3. FAST FIVE- $20.4 million. -37% drop. Amazing hold for one of the oddities in American Franchise growth. This was not unexpected by me, but this is truly surprising many, many people. A final tally of over $200 million is nearly a lock. Maybe it will hit right at $200 million. Could make it the highest grossing movie for all the stars not named Tyrese Gibson. This is a defining moment for Universal, who has cranked out bombs and money losers for so very long now.

4. PRIEST- $14.9 million. NEW. Well, the divergent estimates may take this much lower than this number. But it rose on Saturday, from its Friday gross. This usually means a movie will have great legs over the summer, meaning it will drop low amounts each week. Highly unusual. Most horror movies, action movies, and 3-D movies experience big drop from day one to day two. This is all three, but defied all trends. Maybe that is the key? Maybe all movies should be horror-action-3D spectacles "based on a graphic novel." What a world that would be...very depressing...but Sony Pictures/Columbia could make money this way!

5. RIO- $8.2 million. -2.7% drop. Wow, amazing, amazing hold. Virtually the same as last week. Good for Fox, they really need this to make money. I can't say I can see a final number from this, as this is an oddity for a drop. I'll say maybe $155 total. Kung-Fu Panda 2 will be the end of this movie. 

6. JUMPING THE BROOM- $7 million. -53.6% drop. This and Something Borrowed opened pretty similar and are dropping pretty similar. After it's surprising opening, Broom is dropping pretty much in line with most movies. Nothing to see here. Move on.

7. SOMETHING BORROWED- $6.8 million. -50.7% drop. See above. Funny that there are 3 wedding themed (and titled) movies. Fared better from week to week drops than Broom.

8. WATER FOR ELEPHANTS- $4.2 million. -30.8% drop. Still doing pretty decently. Robert Pattinson can't draw, so it is time to stop trying. Witherspoon is nearing the point that she cannot, as this has made it on her back. $60 million will be the most it can reach.

9. MADEA'S BIG HAPPY FAMILY- $2.2 million. -47% drop. Tyler Perry is taking time to star in the next Alex Cross film, not as a director. This is a good idea for him. Maybe getting into something new will help his longevity. If Madea movies are starting to fall, try something else. That was his default.

10. SOUL SURFER- $1.8 million. -20.8% drop. Still hanging in there, though this will be its final appearance in the Top Ten. This will probably have a great video and television run. Good for this movie.

There is the Top Ten for this week, next week comes the once mighty Jack Sparrow to swindle the top spot. It will be interesting to see how much the public can forgive At World's End, and if they believe in the franchise. Monday will be the day for updates and adjusted scores, so check back then.

2 Biggest Winners for the Week: Wedding movies, Fox.
2 Biggest Losers for the Week: Madea, Robert Pattinson.
My agent said young girls LOVE period films.!

Opening Points:
Jaysun- 985
Richard- 975
Chris- 975
Michael- 962
Marshal- 985

Bridesmaids: 26 million 
Jaysun- 24 million: -2 points
Richard- 32 million: -12
Chris- 37 million: -22
Michael- 23 million: -3
Marshall- 22 million: -4

Priest: 15 million
Jaysun- 13 million: -2
Richard- 16 million: -2
Chris- 18 million: -6
Michael- 10 million: -5
Marshall- 15 million: +5

New Scores and Rankings:
Marshall - 986
Jaysun- 981
Richard- 961
Michael- 954
Chris- 947

Jaysun and Richard hold steady for now. Michael pops up a spot and Chris takes a big dip, thanks to overestimating Bridesmaids. I am looking at adjusting Marshall's score to be more fair for the rest of us, and so he doesn't have an asterisk next to his name this summer. Because asterisks are a mark of SHAME! UPDATE: Marshall takes the lead with his new penalty starting score.

 Check for us on Twitter for more updates, and check out Michael and Richard's entries to the blogosphere from this week.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Episode #50: I Can't Believe It's Not An Anniversary Special! (AKA SECRET ORIGINS OF THE ORCCACAST!)

With the release of Thor behind us, the summer has officially started and we can get back to a regular episode. What's that you say? Our 50th episode? Well that is kind of a big deal but after the spectacular summer spectacular 2, we thought it might be a good time for a little reflection about what brought us to do the show in the first place; it also sounds like a perfect time to announce our future plans for the show so you'll be behind everyone else if you don't listen! C'moooooooon! Would I be this desperate to fill space if there wasn't some awesome stuff in the episode I didn't want to spoil?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My History with Paronomasia, pt. 1: The Spider Bite

Hi, I'm Michael, and I am afflicted with paronomasia. Some call it a disease that needs to be stomped out. I consider it a condition; some find it interesting, others are repulsed by it. Look it up, and make your own decisions on how you feel about it. Here, a link: Paronomasia.


So, to begin again. If you are reading this blog, you (hopefully) listen to the show. And, you've heard my puns. Some of you love them, some of you hate them. But you all notice them. And, I'm gonna keep at it. So, you might as well learn my history with puns. I've not always been a punster. Oh, I'd probably used them most of my life, but never knew what they were, or the conscious act of creating them. But three writers made me understand the art form of the pun. This series of posts will talk about the books of these authors, my relationship with their books, and their influence on my punful nature.

Spider Robinson (image from the author's website) is an American-born Canadian science-fiction author. He has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (1974), three Hugo awards (1977, 1978, and 1983), a Nebula Award (1977) and the Robert A. Heinlein Award for Lifetime Achievement (2008). So he's not just a chump. I came across his writings through a Robert A. Heinlein book, in which he did a cover blurb for a new printing. So, being a massive bibliophile, I picked up one of his books. Thus did I discover "The Callahan Chronicals."

Now, a little background. The Callahan Chronicals isn't a single book, it's a collection of three. And each book isn't even a single story, it's a collection of short stories. But they all center around Callahan's Place, a bar located somewhere in New York. The bar is tended my a jolly Irishman named Mike Callahan ... who has a bit of a secret. And the bar isn't your standard fare. Imagine Cheers mixed with the Mos Eisley Cantina.

People gravitate to there, who need to be there. Usually, they aren't your normal bar patrons, though, One is a herald to an intergalactic race of planet eaters. One is an alien shapeshifter whose people have guided humanity to act as cattle. He took the guise of an Austrian named Adolph Hitler (he wasn't asked to stay). There is a talking dog and his mute human. It's a ... motley crew.

One of the traditions of Callahan's is a contest called Punday Night. The winner has his entire tab erased, so tradition holds that heavy drinking is necessary (and, of course, alcohol makes the punning more bearable). And these puns, both good and bad, began my sordid affair with paronomasia. Some examples, you say? Sure! The following have been collected from numerous Callahan books, not just the three in The Callahan Chronicals. Enjoy (or beware).

 --  Far away in the tropical waters of the Caribbean, there are two prawns, one named Justin and the other named Christian. The prawns are constantly being threatened by sharks.
One day Justin says to Christian, "I wish I was a shark, then I wouldn't have any worries about being eaten." A mysterious cod then appears, and says, "Your wish is granted."
Lo and behold, Justin turns into a shark. Horrified, Christian immediately swims away, afraid of being eaten by his old friend. In time, Justin the shark finds himself becoming bored and lonely. All his old friends swim away whenever he comes close to them, afraid of his menacing appearance.
     One day, Justin sees the mysterious cod again and begs to be changed back into a prawn. His wish is granted. Justin swims back to his old friends and buys them all a cocktail. He searches in vain for Christian, and is told that his old pal is at home, distraught that his best friend has gone over to the enemy and become a shark.
     So Justin sets off for Christian's house. He opens the coral gate and, banging on the door, calls, "It's me. It's Justin, your old friend. Come out and see me again."
Christian replies, "No way, man. You'll eat me. You're a shark, the enemy, and I'll not be tricked."
     Justin cries back, "No I'm not. That was the old me. I've changed. I've found cod. I'm a prawn again, Christian."

 --  The symphony orchestra was performing Beethoven's Ninth. In the piece, there's a long passage, about 20 minutes, during which the bass violinists have nothing to do.
Rather than sit around that whole time looking stupid, some bassists decided to sneak offstage and go to the tavern next door for a quick one.
     After slamming several beers in quick succession, one of them looked at his watch and said, "Hey! We need to get back!"
     "No need to panic," said a fellow bassist. "I thought we might need some extra time, so I tied the last few pages of the conductor's score together with string. It'll take him a few minutes to get it untangled."
     A few moments later they staggered back to the concert hall and took their places in the orchestra. About this time, a member of the audience noticed the conductor seemed a bit edgy and said as much to her companion.
     "Well, of course," said her companion. "Don't you see? It's the bottom of the Ninth, the score is tied, and the bassists are loaded."

 --  A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them is adopted by a family in Egypt and is named "Amal." The other goes to a family in Spain, they name him "Juan."
     Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his mom. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Amal.
     Her husband responds, "But they are twins - if you've seen Juan, you've seen Amal!"

 --  A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. The frog sees from the name plate that the teller's name is Paddy Whack. So the frog says, "Mr. Whack, I'd like a loan to buy a boat."
     Paddy Whack looks at the frog in disbelief and asks how much he wants to borrow. The frog says 30,000 dollars. The teller asks his name and the frog says his name is Kermit Jagger and that he knows the bank's manager.
     Paddy explains that 30,000 dollars is a lot of money, that the frog must secure some collateral against the loan and asks if he has any collateral. The frog says, "Sure. I have this" and the frog produces a tiny pink elephant, about half an inch tall, bright pink and perfectly formed.
     Confused, Paddy explains that he must consult with the manager and disappears into a back office. Whack finds the manager and says, "There's a frog out front named "Kermit Jagger" who says he know you and wants to borrow 30 grand. And he wants to use this as collateral." Whack holds up the tiny pink elephant. "I mean, what is this?"
     The bank manager replies, "It's a knick-knack, Paddy Whack! Give the frog a loan! His old man's a Rolling Stone!"

 --  There were three Medieval kingdoms on the shores of a lake. There was an island in the middle of the lake, which the kingdoms had been fighting over for years. Finally, the three kings decided that they would send their knights out to do battle, and the winner would take the island.
     The night before the battle, the knights and their squires pitched camp and readied themselves for the fight.
     The first kingdom had 12 knights, and each knight had 5 squires, all of whom were busily polishing armor, brushing horses, and cooking food.
     The second kingdom had 20 knights, and each knight had 10 squires. Everyone at that camp was also busy preparing for battle.
     At the camp of the third kingdom, there was only one knight, with his squire. This squire took a large pot and hung it from a looped rope in a tall tree. He busied himself preparing the meal, while the knight polished his own armor.
     When the hour of the battle came, the three knights sent their squires out to fight (this was too trivial a matter for the knights to join in). The battle raged, and when the dust cleared, the only person left was the lone squire from the third kingdom, having defeated the squires from the other two kingdoms.
     This just proved that the squire of the high pot and noose is equal to the sum of the squires of the other two sides.

And so on, and so forth. So, not only are puns funny, but they can be smart, too.

So that's how I got bit by the Spider. And you can too!

Search for Spider Robinson on Amazon and focus on the Callahan books. There are quite a few of them. In fact, just to show you how nice a guy I am, I'll give you the quick rundown. Callahan and Company: The Compleat Chronicles of the Crosstime Saloon

  1. The Callahan Chronicals (Collecting Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, Time Traverlers Strictly Cash, and Callahan's Secret)
  2. Callahan's Lady (Think Callahan's Bar, except a brothel)
  3. Lady Slings the Booze
  4. The Callahan Touch
  5. Callahan's Legacy
  6. Callahan's Key
  7. Callahan's Con

If you like humanistic science fiction, I can't recommend these books enough to you. They may be a bit hard to find, as some have gone in and out of print through the years, but it's worth it.

And who knows, you might begin to find me funny!

See ya next Punday!