Saturday, January 10, 2015

Alien Nation Podcast & More Movies

Today I released episode 31 of my Alien Nation podcast, were my brother and I cover the second part of the fourth TV movie The Enemy Within. My brother and I are still having a fantastic time recording these podcasts. We got one more TV movie and then the actual film they series is based on before we move to comic book and novels.

Download from itunes Listen on Stitcher Radio or Listen/ Get Direct Download  
I continued my watch of Netflix "Gay" Themed movies... first I watch "East is East". George Khan, proud Pakistani and chip shop owner -- Ghengis to his kids -- rules his family with a rod of iron. He thinks he's raising his seven children to be respectable Pakistanis. But this is Salford in the North of England, in 1971. Much as George's English wife, Ella, loves and tries to honor her husband, she also wants her kids to be happy. The children, caught between bell-bottoms and arranged marriages, simply want to be citizens of the modern world.
This was labeled on Netflix as a Gay Comedy... well it's neither gay themed or a comedy. It wasn't a bad movie and one of the kids winds up being gay but it's not the focus of the movie. This a super dramatic movie, this father hits his kids and wife. He's horrible to his family and so set in his ways that he almost tears his family apart. I also wasn't happy with ending as his battered wife takes him back and they act like nothing happened.. back to their happy life in England. I give East is East a C, I enjoyed the movie until the end when I feel like it just wimped out and took the easy route.
The next movie I watched was called "In The Name Of...". Adam, a Roman Catholic priest in rural Poland, knows that he desires men and his embrace of the priesthood has been a flight from his sexuality. When he meets a particular young man, self-imposed abstinence becomes a heavy burden. 
I knew when I started this film that it was going to be heavy and it was. It's a Polish film and subtitled in English. I found this movie a bit odd as there wasn't really much dialogue, just these long scenes of people doing things. They would say something and then the camera would stay on them for a good extra 30 seconds and then move on. The acting was great, especially the main guy. Towards the end of the film he breaks down to his sister over Skype (about being gay and liking the young men.. but she's just horrible to him). He's so distraught that it looked as if he killed himself. They even open up the next scene with what looks like a funeral procession, but soon you find out it's some sort of church ceremony and the priest is at the end of the procession. I enjoyed the film, it's not a happy one but not all of them can be. I give In The Name Of... a pretty solid B

Friday, January 9, 2015

Health Insurance Woes

So my I got a letter in the mail today informing me that my health insurance rates will be going up again. In the past few years (roughly since I've turned 40) my rate has gone from $250 to double that as it's now going to be $508 a month. Up until recently I have been keeping up with the payment (via credit card) as I know my health hasn't been the best in the past few years with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and now being pre-diabetic. But I just can't do it anymore. I'm in debt up to my eye balls because of health insurance but the time has come to drop it. I'm going to try for one of these Obama care health plans and see what comes of it. If nothing comes of it then I'll go without until I can find a steady job and afford insurance again... wish me luck.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Marvel's Agent Carter - My Review

Though it aired a few days ago I was finally able to watch Marvel's Agent Carter. When troops return from fighting abroad, Peggy Carter finds herself marginalized once again by 1940s U.S. society. In the wake of losing her love, Steve Rogers, she struggles to find balance between navigating life as a single woman and working at the covert Strategic Scientific Reserve, with administrative duties and tackling secret missions for an old acquaintance, Howard Stark. Edwin Jarvis, Stark's butler, helps Carter as she risks her life and freedom to complete assignments.

Now Captain America is my favorite of the Marvel movies and I was a huge fan of Peggy Carter from the first movie so when I heard they were going to do a series around her I was excited but wasn't sure what it was going to look like. 

So I watched the double episode tonight with my buddy Erik and I was blown away. The setting, the storyline, the action and the heart this series has is amazing. Within the first five minutes and I was hooked, and after the first episode I was in love and couldn't wait for the second one. Hayley Atwell is perfect, she's portrays Peggy as this strong, hard nosed, smart, sexy, tough independent woman but she's also no afraid to cry when she is hurting. She's a very well rounded character and that was all in just the first two episodes. 

I really liked all the supporting characters.. okay some of the male agents are pigs and horrible to Peggy but that it the way women were treated back then in the 40's. But there are few good guys in that bunch, including fellow agent Daniel Sousa. I'm hoping he will be integrated into Carter's new crew and a possible love interest. And the break out character for me was Jarvis (which is the of the AI for Starks computer) but at this time he's a real person and the elder Starks Butler. He's been tasked with helping Peggy and those two as a duo are amazing, funny and have some great chemistry. I can't say enough about this new series. I'm bummed that it's a limited 8 episodes season. Hopefully it will do well enough in the ratings to be picked up for a second season. 

Five Dances & Going Down in La-La Land

Today I watched a few more "gay" themed movies on Netflix. First was Five Dances, FIVE DANCES is a creatively adventurous narrative feature film set in the New York 'downtown' modern dance world. The story follows the rocky emotional journey of an 18-year old dancer with talent to burn, who must choose between his responsibility to his broken family in the Midwest, and forging a life and career for himself.
This felt like a student film to me. Not really any story or the story there was, was very light. It was more about the amazing dancing and it was pretty amazing. There really wasn't any conflict or stakes. It kind of just started and then it was over. It wasn't bad but it wasn't great. I give Five Dances a C

The second film I watched today was called Going Down in La-La Land.  Based on the novel by Andy Zeffer, "Going Down in LA-LA Land" is a riveting and uncensored look at Hollywood. It is a story that reveals how friendships sustain us and keep us going. It is a tale that reflects our celebrity-obsessed culture. It is a revealing look at some people's desire to be loved, adored, and adulated at any cost. Readers have grown to adore the flawed and imperfect, yet earnest and likable characters of Adam and Candy. Now movie audiences will have the same opportunity to follow their rocky ride through Hollywood, and all the laughs that go along with it.

I enjoyed this movie over all but I really LOVED the ending. It wasn't anything that I didn't already know about the entertainment industry. The first half of the movie is fun and entertaining but my favorite was the second half with the love story involving the "closeted" actor and the main character Adam. It had quite a few laughs, thanks to Adam's best friend Candy, who also wanted to be an actor and famous. Overall I wish the storyline would had been more about the romance but I'd give Going Down in La-La Land a solid B.

Dropping Cable

Today I got a bill from Time Warner Cable and when I looked at it I noticed that my monthly amount went up. So of course in investigated as I didn't receive anything from TWC informing me that this would be happening. Well in the fine print of the bill it mentions the rate increase at the beginning of the new year. Also come to find out that my "promotional" deal when I signed up a year ago is over, hence my bill goes up by $20.

Finances are tough at the moment so I am now considering dropping my cable all together. Yes I know if I call the cable company and threaten to leave they would give me another deal but money is tight and cable isn't a necessity anymore. Of course I'll be keeping TWC internet but losing my TV. I've never been without cable. I have quite a few friends who don't have it and they seems to get along fine but TV is such a huge part of my life that I don't know how that will work. I mean I know I can find most of what I watch "online" but I won't be watching anything live. The question for me is can I live with that. I have until the 19th to decide as that's when I pay for another month of cable.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Finishing Babylon 5 The Series

Since the holidays are over my buddy Robert and I continued our TV night. Tonight it looks like we will finally be finishing Babylon 5 the series. But of course there are still five TV movies and a spin off series if we choose to watch them.

But we started the night with S5 Ep20 "Objects in Motion" As G'Kar plans to leave Babylon 5 with Lyta, the crew avert an assassination attempt on Garibaldi and Lise but then a G'Kar follower tries to kill G'Kar and accidentally shots Lise. Number One talks with Sheridan and they suspect that Earth is trying to provoke a civil war on Mars. Garibaldi forces access to the assassin and takes him to Lyta Alexander, and makes a deal for her to scan him. He finds that he was hired by Edgar Industries. Garibaldi stays by Lise's side in Medlab, and when she awakes he asks her to marry him then and now. She agrees. Number One is the new head of covert intelligence for the Interstellar Alliance. Franklin leaves for Earth. Garibaldi and Lise then leave for Mars. Delenn and Sheridan take a walk from one end of the station to the other.

Lot's of goodbyes in this episode. First G'Kar and Lyte, then the Doctor, and finally Garibaldi. Speaking of Garibaldi he was one of my favorite characters for the first three to four seasons. I'm glad he kind of redeemed himself at the end. It's good to see that he is going to get a happy ending. It was great seeing Number One (Tessa) again, I love that they made her the new intelligence chief for the Alliance.

Then we watched S5 Ep21 "Objects at Rest" Garibaldi forms a new Board of Directors for his company. Ta'Lon becomes the new Narn ambassador. Sheridan and Delenn leave for Mimbar. An accident on board their White Star ship creates doubt/hesitation for Lennier, who fails to act appropriately. He leaves the ship, and tells Delenn he'll come back one day to atone for what he's done. Sheridan and Delenn are greeted by Londo on Mimbar who has a gift for them.

This felt like the final episode of the series. It wrapped up what little story was left. I was shocked at what Lennier did, I actually gave an audible "Oh my God.. he didn't just do that". I liked Garibaldi's interaction with his new board members. It was good to see Londo again, even though he gave Delenn and Sheridan that urn with one of those creators in it. Guess will never see if that story plays out. This was a very emotional ending to this series (yeah I know there is one more episode). I really liked the shot when Sheridan and Delenn leave and the "new crew" of Babylon 5 is standing there and saluting him a farewell... very cool.

And finally the series finale S5 Ep22 "Sleeping in Light" 20 years after he visited Z'Ha'Dum, Sheridan knows his time is short and gathers his old comrades together. Afterwards he takes personalized White Star to Babylon 5 where it's going to be decommissioned shortly. The final leg of his journey takes him to Coriana 6 where they ended the Shadow War, and meets with one last person. The old command staff gather on Babylon 5 to watch its decommissioning.

I knew ahead of time that this episode was actually filmed as the finale of Season 4 but when they got picked up by another network for season 5 they pulled it and saved it for the end of season five. For the most part it worked, most of the storyline made sense. If the last episode made me cry this episode almost killed me. Sheridan dying was bad enough by when he had to say goodbye to Delenn, I lost it. We still don't know what happen to Lennier or if their son opened that urn on his 16th birthday but it was still great to see Susan again.. I miss her character.

So that's it.. it took us almost a year and a half (7/10/13 - 1/7/15) but we finished all 110 episodes of Babylon 5. It's an amazing series, one that I am very happy that I took the time to watch. We still have the five TV movies and the spin off series, if we decide to watch it all. But this was a fantastic series, so many ups and downs, great storylines and characters. Characters that I loved at the beginning and hated at the end and vice versa. This series moved me to tears and then fits of anger, it was so well written and defiantly one of the all time favorite TV series. 

Next up the first TV movie... "Babylon 5: In the Beginning"

Podcasts and Websites

I spent the first few hours working/editing a guest podcast that I'm doing for Treks in Scifi Podcast. In this episode Rico (the host) and I talk about first Harry Potter book and movie. Unfortunately I didn't explain to him how I usually do podcasts and he had not prepared to record his own audio so he kind of did it on the fly and when I listened to his audio it's a bit over blown. I've spent the last few hours trying to normalize it but overblown audio is tough to fix. I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and use what I got. It's still going to be fantastic but if you know me you know I'm a perfectionist, and the little things drive me crazy.

After working on the audio for a few hours I needed a break and moved on to building a new website. I actually have a website that I don't really promote as I'm very unhappy with it and I have been wanting to revamp it for years now. But even more important is that I want to make a website for my Geekyfanboy Productions so I can really start promoting my business.

I asked "social media" which "dummy" web builder I should use as I really don't have a clue how to build a website. Many said word press and since I already have a host and they have a word press app for it I figured I'd give it a go. Of course I built my previous website several years ago with word press but this time around it was like learning it all over again. It feels like when I do simple things it takes me hours to get a result. I didn't really make any progress with the site but I'm in the process of trying to find a "free" template that I like and once I have that I can start to build my new pages. If anyone wants to offer me their assistance in building my site I won't say no :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Charmed, Downton CAH & Ant-Man Trailer

So I caught this episode of Charmed today, first let me say that I watched this entire series back when it first aired and loved it. I've seen episodes now and then but this one introduced Chris (Piper and Leo's second son) and I really enjoyed his storyline so I spent the next five hours popping in my DVD's and watching about five or six episodes with the keypoints of his storyline. Watching those few episodes really made me want to do a re-watch of that entire series. Such an amazing series, so glad I own it all on DVD.

I have several videos that I want to share with you all.. first one is three of the ladies from Downton Abbey, Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael), Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol), and Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) playing a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity.. it's pretty hilarious.

And the second one is a teaser trailer for the next Marvel movie Ant-Man. I don't know much about Ant-Man and he seems like an odd character to base a movie around but with Marvel's track record I'm sure it's going to be pretty awesome so I'm really looking forward to it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Anglophile & New TV

I've always been a huge fan of all things England/British/United Kingdom And Ireland for that matter. I love the people, the cities, the sites, the history, the TV & movies.. I love it all.  And the past few years I've been thinking of moving there for a year or so.

Come to find out that there is a word for people like me. I'm called an Anglophile, it's defined as a person who admires England, its people, and its culture. Its antonym is Anglophobe. The word's roots come from the Latin Angli "the English", and Ancient Greek φίλος - philos, "friend." How cool is that!!

Two tv series are back from the holidays.. Gotham and Scorpion.  I got to watch the new episode of Gotham with my buddy Erik. Tonight we watched S1 Ep 11 "Rouge's Gallery" James Gordon, reassigned to guard duty at Arkham Asylum, investigates attacks on prisoners with the help of Dr. Leslie Thompkins. Gordon asks Harvey Bullock for help with his investigation and Bullock interrogates Arkham's Director Dr. Gerry Lang. Montoya realizes she is "toxic" to Barbara's health and breaks off their relationship. Gordon discovers that Nurse Dorothy Duncan is actually an inmate. Duncan releases the inmates from their cells, but is trampled to death during the chaos. Gordon, Bullock, and Essen discover that the culprit was Jack Gruber, who escapes from Arkham with his associate Aaron Helzinger, after killing two guards and Dr. Lang.

This was a great way to return after the extended time off. We got introduced to a new ally for Gordan, Dr. Thompkins played by the lovely Morena Baccarin. I had heard she was joining the cast so I know she'll be around for a while. I really enjoy the ongoing storylines. I'm still hoping Barbara Gordan dies in some horrible accident (she's just a horrible character and pretty useless). It was great seeing Allyce Beasley again, she played Ms DiPesto, the secretary on Moonlighting (and I loved that show). I'm warming up to Harvey more and more with every episode. He was particularly fun in this one. I look forward to seeing where all these storylines go.

Next up was the return of Scorpion. S1 Ep 13  "Kill Screen" The team tries to help Ralph when he is taken by the FBI for questioning after his web game play unintentionally reveals a CIA safe house's location.

This is my favorite new series of the new TV season so I was really looking forward to this returning. And as always it was another awesome, very tense yet funny and sweet episode. A good learning episode for Walter. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Galavant - My Review

Galavant is a new TV series on ABC. Well it started off as a new TV series with eight episodes produced. They took those eight half hour episodes and made them into four hour long episodes and kind of made it an ABC 4-part "special event" or "comedy extravaganza" as they are calling it. I don't know if this means it's only going to be these four episodes and be a limited-run TV series or if they are just trying to burn off this series and get it over with. Either way ABC has really been promoting this all over the place. It's currently taking the time slot of another fairytale series Once Upon A Time.

I for one was very excited to see this. I was excited when I saw the trailer late last summer and was highly anticipating the premiere. So if you don't know what I'm talking about here's a quick synopsis of Galavant. The series follows the adventures of Galavant, a dashing hero who is determined to reclaim his reputation and his "Happily Ever After" by going after the evil King Richard, who ruined it the moment he stole the love of Galavant's life, Madalena. The episodes chronicle Galavant's journeys (and the twists and turns that go along with them) through musical numbers composed and written by Menken and Slate.

Yep.. it's an offbeat, tongue and cheek musical, It has a sort of Monty Python meets Princess Bride feel to it! As I mentioned the aired the first two episodes back to back and when they were over social media went a bit crazy, you either loved it or hated it. I for one LOVED it. I watched with my buddy Erik via Skype and we both enjoyed it. I loved the music, the songs, the characters and the story. Erik figured out the twist in the first episode before it was revealed but I didn't have a clue. The opening scene is by far my favorite scene/song of the first two episodes. I love that in a two minute song we get the entire storyline and catch up with whats going on. Check it out below... oh and be warned once you hear this song you'll be singing Gaaaalllllaaaaavvvvvvannnnntttttt over and over :)

What is even better the tune was used in all of ABC commercials promoting their other shows. Even the local news weather guy had his own version of the Galavant song... it was pretty awesome.

I can't for next Sunday and two more episodes of this fun new series.