Star Trek XI – A Purist Has Been Reformed

Great interview with James Cawley – executive producer of the New Voyages.

http://www.veoh.com/videos/v3299904gWXrExam

Cawley managed to get on the sets to see filming of the new movie and he was blown away by what he saw. He’s an obvious purist and it is extremely gratifying to see his total buy in to the vision that JJ Abrams has for Star Trek.

The Last Lecture – Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

Dr. Randy Pausch is a highly respected and honored professor of Computer Science and co-founder of the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA.

In September, 2007 Dr. Pausch gave a lecture titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” which was part of what is called “The Last Lecture” series. The series is designed for top lecturers around the country to impart what they feel are their most important life lessons, as if it were their last. What made Dr. Paush’s lecture special was that it really was his last. A year before his lecture Dr. Paush was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. But to see Professor Pausch’s humor-filled talk one would never know that he has been told that he only has months to live. The inspirational lecture was given to just 400 students, but it quickly went ‘viral’ on the Internet. Soon Dr. Paush was getting world-wide media coverage including The Today Show, ABC News, and even Oprah.

Just stumbled over a new show that I feel deserves mention because it is so original in concept and execution.

After more than 5 years the CSI/Forensic type of series lost its appeal for me. There are only so many ways lab work can be watched and keep my interest. Further to that, the lack of character development further dimmed my interest so that I have not watched a CSI episode – never got into Law & Order for the same reason ie lack of characterization – of any of the series in a good two or three years.

Showtime has a series which has made forensics fun again. The episodes are chock full of interesting characters and character moments. First and foremost is the title character – Dexter played by Michael C. Hall of Six Feet Under fame.

Dexter is a damaged goods person. He is a serial killer. But here is the kicker – by day he works as a blood spatter expert for the Miami Police department. Off-duty Dexter channels his murderous tendencies into tracking and killing fellow serial killers.

To say this is a unique and unconventional show concept is an understatement. As a viewer you are put in the uncomfortable position of cheering for a serial killer as he puts his deadly abilities to use in ridding the world of fellow psychopaths.

The writing is intelligent, witty and darkly humourous. Double entrendes – of a murderous not sexual kind – abound. You are kept off balance because you are never sure what direction is going to be taken and what Dexter will do. Situations are set up and instead of going left, the show goes right. The show takes a two prong approach. There is a season long story arc plus each episode is self-contained.

The cast is great through out.

The show is on its second season with Showtime and the first season is now out on DVD. At 12 episodes it plays like a chapter book and should be right up the alley of those that enjoy murder mysteries peopled with interesting characters.

To quote Dexter:

“Blood. Sometimes it set my teeth on edge.”

“Other times it helps me control the chaos.”

Let me know if you have caught this awesome show.

Lost in HD and Norm As Your Daddy

Due to an unexpected bonus I ended up with the BluRay version of Lost Season 3! Watched the first episode and Wow – I was blown away by the HD presentation of the show. The SD releases have always garnered high marks technically but this HD release is amazing.

The variety of shades of green and blue is jaw dropping. There are moments where I felt like I was part of the action instead of watching a picture. The three dimensional field of depth brings out the best in detail and allows for all those little nuances in makeup, body language of the actors, set dressing etc to all become part of the mosaic.

All that plus improved audio and extra special features. Highly recommended.

Here is a link to a recent DVD Masters of Horror – Family. Who wouldn’t want Norm – George Wendt of Cheers fame as part of their family? Well, think again in:

http://www.eyecravedvd.com/dvd/dvdReview.php?dvdID=1246

Ghosts on the Road

Here are the Ghosts

Finished 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill. Great collection, despite the hype exceeding my expectations. Some great stories – with a couple out of the box – Pop Art in particular.

Here is The Road

Zipped through The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I think if an author of lessor reputation or a relative newbie had tried to write a book in the same style – short, terse paragraphs with no dialogue punctuation – the book would have been dismissed outright as a gimmick.

Once acclimatized to the style it lent itself well to the starkness of the post-apocolyptic world and the existence of the survivors, in this case a father and his boy. It is a dark story that focuses solely on the relationship between father and son and makes no attempt to address the larger issues of why and how civilization collapsed.

The book is definitely worth reading as the relationship is so expertly explored and there are some amazing descriptive passages. But beyond a small ray of hope at the end, the big questions are left open and that sense of incompleteness diminishes the impact of the story to a degree, in my humble opinion.

Up next – Axis – Robert Charles Wilson’s sequel to his Hugo Award winning novel – Spin.

The Water Horse

Took my 8 year old to see The Water Horse. The critics have been indifferent to this one but we both enjoyed it. For me it was the beauty of the Scottish landscape around Loch Ness and the Scottish accents. The ‘Water Horse’ was mostly well done effects wise.

The only time it stumbled was when the boy rode on the creature’s back. That’s one effect shot that has yet to be pulled off seamlessly. From Legolas on the back of the Cave Troll to Anakin riding the cow creature in Attack of the Clones to this movie, mixing a live actor with a CGI one just doesn’t jell.

And what 8 year old wouldn’t want their own special pet?

Lost – Bring On Season 4!

Wolfed down the Season 3 boxset of Lost. Season 3 really rocked watched it in marathon session mode. This season gets my nod as the best one so far. The twist done with flashbacks in the series finale was an excellent one – even though I caught it right off the bat when the episode first aired. One of the few times I have been on the ball in my life! Its a bold step and as the series finale title – Through the Looking Glass – suggests, a new dynamic will be in place for the remaining three seasons.

Nearly done Joe Hill’s short story collection – 20th Century Ghosts. An excellent collection of stories with some so original that it is taking me some time to process them properly. At the head of that list is Pop Art. It scans as ludicrous in parts yet always manages to pull you back because it is so poignant and touching. A helluva of a balancing act by Joe Hill.