I always like to highlight the best geeky art I come across in my travels across the Intertubes, and these three pieces by Daniel Murray really caught my eye. Outstanding stuff!
Rather than a continuation of the weirdness that was Prometheus, FOX is going back to basics with its Aliens series. Neil Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium, Chappie) has signed to direct a fifth film in the series that will give Ellen Ripley’s story “a proper ending”. From his words in the Coming Soon article below, it seems like Blomkamp will bypass Aliens 3 and 4, much like Bryan Singer did with The Man of Steel’s series in Superman Returns. I can’t think of a director more suited to getting the Aliens series back on track than Blomkamp. My only disappointment was I was hoping he’d do one of the Star Wars spin-offs, but this certainly isn’t a bad consolation prize. Sigourney Weaver will return to the role and has expressed confidence in Blomkamp’s ability to finish Ripley’s story.
We started this last year and then got a bit off-track, but I’d like to pick up our monthly examination of the Top 250 films on IMDB. To review, so far we’ve looked at:
1. Shawshank Redemption
2. The Godfather
3. The Godfather Part 2
4. The Dark Knight
Which brings us to #5: Pulp Fiction. Now, the first four films in the IMDB 250, I revere. I, quite frankly, don’t think Pulp Fiction is even the fifth best film from 1994, let alone of all-time. I think it’s incredibly overrated. To me, it’s a good film that showed the promise Tarantino would fulfill later with Inglorious Bastards, but not the apex of his career. I think the film has a great beginning and a great end, but the 90 minutes inbetween are largely forgettable (or memorable only for being REALLY disturbing). I think the writing is lazy. Scripts that drop the F-bomb every other word bore me. I don’t hate the film. Whenever we’re with Jules and Vincent, I fricking love it, but again that’s pretty much the first half-hour and last half-hour. I know this is a Holy Grail movie to some people, so I’m going to stop my criticism and single out my favorite scenes . It goes without saying (yet I’m still going to warn) that there is an extreme violence and potty mouth warning on this column.
1. Ezekiel 25:17
Easily the movie’s best scene is Samuel L. Jackson’s hamburger tasting/Bible quoting show of force. This six minutes is worth watching the whole movie. Whatever issues I have with the film as a whole, I could watch this piece a million times and never get bored.
2. Poor Marvin
How big are the squibs Tarantino uses? I have to think they’re like nine times the size of a normal squib. The shoot-out in Django Unchained is like people are sacks of raspberry jam bulging at the seams. This is a shocker the first time you see it and darkly hilarious in subsequent watchings. Poor Marvin, really.
3. Divine Intervention
Jump to the end of the film when Jules and Vincent get stuck in volleyball clothes following Marvin’s…explosion. Jules ponders the meaning behind their survival and concludes it was a case of Divine Intervention.
4. The Gold Watch
This is how good Christopher Walken is. He has, literally, one scene in the entire film and it’s a monologue about how he’s kept a watch up his butt for years and it is MESMERIZING. Definitely a case of tell being better than show. If only that could’ve held true in the pawn shop basement….yeesh.
5. Royale With Cheese
Probably the two most iconic scenes from the film are this one and the dance contest, likely because they’re the easiest scenes in the film to edit for broadcast television. Your introduction to Jules and Vincent, the scene is memorable for a reason even if it’s been repeated and mocked to death.
After last year’s brutal celebrity death fest, I was hoping we’d have a respite, but this one hurts. Actor/Director Leonard Nimoy has passed away at the age of 83. Nimoy will be best remembered for playing Spock in the original Star Trek series and eight films. Nimoy was also an incredible asset to FOX’s Fringe (one of the most underrated series in recent memory). In addition, Nimoy was an accomplished director (Star Treks III & IV & Three Men and a Baby). Nimoy had an exceptional, long, memorable career, and his work will live on in the hearts of fans for generations. See below for a full obit from the New York Times.
Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.
His wife, Susan Bay Nimoy, confirmed his death, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Mr. Nimoy announced that he had the disease last year, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had given up three decades earlier. He had been hospitalized earlier in the week.
His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).
Mr. Nimoy, who was teaching Method acting at his own studio when he was cast in the original “Star Trek” television series in the mid-1960s, relished playing outsiders, and he developed what he later admitted was a mystical identification with Spock, the lone alien on the starship’s bridge.
Yet he also acknowledged ambivalence about being tethered to the character, expressing it most plainly in the titles of two autobiographies: “I Am Not Spock,” published in 1977, and “I Am Spock,” published in 1995.
In the first, he wrote, “In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.”
“Star Trek,” which had its premiere on NBC on Sept. 8, 1966, made Mr. Nimoy a star. Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the franchise, called him “the conscience of ‘Star Trek’ ” — an often earnest, sometimes campy show that employed the distant future (as well as some primitive special effects by today’s standards) to take on social issues of the 1960s.
His stardom would endure. Though the series was canceled after three seasons because of low ratings, a cultlike following — the conference-holding, costume-wearing Trekkies, or Trekkers (the designation Mr. Nimoy preferred) — coalesced soon after “Star Trek” went into syndication.
The fans’ devotion only deepened when “Star Trek” was spun off into an animated show, various new series and an uneven parade of movies starring much of the original television cast, including — besides Mr. Nimoy — William Shatner (as Capt. James T. Kirk), DeForest Kelley (Dr. McCoy), George Takei (the helmsman, Sulu), James Doohan (the chief engineer, Scott), Nichelle Nichols (the chief communications officer, Uhura) and Walter Koenig (the navigator, Chekov).
When the director J. J. Abrams revived the “Star Trek” film franchise in 2009, with an all-new cast — including Zachary Quinto as Spock — he included a cameo part for Mr. Nimoy, as an older version of the same character. Mr. Nimoy also appeared in the 2013 follow-up, “Star Trek Into Darkness.”
His zeal to entertain and enlighten reached beyond “Star Trek” and crossed genres. He had a starring role in the dramatic television series “Mission: Impossible” and frequently performed onstage, notably as Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof.” His poetry was voluminous, and he published books of his photography.
He also directed movies, including two from the “Star Trek” franchise, and television shows. And he made records, singing pop songs as well as original songs about “Star Trek,” and gave spoken-word performances — to the delight of his fans and the bewilderment of critics.
But all that was subsidiary to Mr. Spock, the most complex member of the Enterprise crew, who was both one of the gang and a creature apart engaged at times in a lonely struggle with his warring racial halves.
In one of his most memorable “Star Trek” performances, Mr. Nimoy tried to follow in the tradition of two actors he admired, Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff, who each played a monstrous character — Quasimodo and the Frankenstein monster — who is transformed by love.
In Episode 24, which was first shown on March 2, 1967, Mr. Spock is indeed transformed. Under the influence of aphrodisiacal spores he discovers on the planet Omicron Ceti III, he lets free his human side and announces his love for Leila Kalomi (Jill Ireland), a woman he had once known on Earth. In this episode, Mr. Nimoy brought to Spock’s metamorphosis not only warmth, compassion and playfulness, but also a rarefied concept of alienation.
“I am what I am, Leila,” Mr. Spock declared. “And if there are self-made purgatories, then we all have to live in them. Mine can be no worse than someone else’s.”
Born in Boston on March 26, 1931, Leonard Simon Nimoy was the second son of Max and Dora Nimoy, Ukrainian immigrants and Orthodox Jews. His father worked as a barber.
From the age of 8, Leonard acted in local productions, winning parts at a community college, where he performed through his high school years. In 1949, after taking a summer course at Boston College, he traveled to Hollywood, though it wasn’t until 1951 that he landed small parts in two movies, “Queen for a Day” and “Rhubarb.”