Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Review of Famous Dave’s

Posted in Reviewson Oct 22, 2009

Last Tuesday, Sandy and I went to the newly opened Famous Dave’s restaurant in Fort Collins.  My general impression was that the food was good, but perhaps a little expensive.  However, the service screamed “we’ve only been doing this for a day.”
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I recently viewed the premier for the new SyFy Channel series, Stargate Universe.  While I generally felt pretty excited about it, I’m cautiously reserved because I think the new series has potential to disappoint–however, I hope I never see that disappointment.

I’ve come up with 5 things that Stargate Universe must do in order to avoid disappointment.
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Review of Fringe

Posted in Reviewson Sep 17, 2009

Imagine a modernized version of The X-Files with a little bit of CSI, Alias, Eureka, and Lost. What is in your imagination mixer might be similar to the Fox television series, Fringe, beginning its second season tonight.

In Fringe, a team composed of FBI agents, a mad scientist, and his son, investigate weirdphenomena categorized as both fringe science and terrorist activity.  Whether the team investigates weird paranormal activity, reads the mind of a dead person,  or hunt down people who can pass through solid walls, Fringe is a weird but intriguing mix of science, fiction, and crime drama.  Following the pattern of other J. J. Abrams television series, there are season long plots and unanswered questions, always haunting the viewer to watch more.  While a common complaint of Lost was that it was too complicated requiring full viewership, Fringe has a good balance of single-episode-resolution and series-long-mystery.

Peter Bishop talking with Phillip Broyles

Peter Bishop talking with Phillip Broyles

From season one, we learn there is a series of weird activity happening over the globe referred to as The Pattern.  We learned that the bio terrorist group, ZFT, seems to be responsible for the strange occurrence, but their zealous attitudes have viewers questioning if they are really the good or bad guys.

Last summer I was traveling through Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada when I walked by some filming of Fringe on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  Filming of Fringe moved to Vancouver for season two as a cost cutting measure.  I’ll be watching Fringe this season very closely to see if I can identify the scene of which I saw the filming.

The filming of Fringe behind me

The filming of Fringe behind me

You can buy the first season of Fringe at the Square Galaxy store.

Review of The Tale of Despereaux

Posted in Reviewson Jun 8, 2009

I recently viewed the animated film, The Tale of Despereaux.  The movie trailer made me think the movie explored the comical challenges and character growth of a mouse who was atypically unafraid of anything.  However, after watching the film, I’m not sure what it was really about (a serious problem if you know less about the plot of the movie after watching it.)

Major film elements such as plot, character development, and dialog were all seriously lacking.  The visual effects were adequate for an animated film.

The first few minutes of the film were so boring, that I threatened to turn it off if it didn’t get better.  About about 15 minutes, it did get better as they introduced the main character, but the movie never got good.

I don’t recommend seeing The Tale of Despereaux. Spend your time on a more interesting fairy tale.

I don’t recommend Knowing

Posted in Reviewson Mar 22, 2009

I recently saw the latest Nicolas Cage movie, Knowing, and it was one of the worst movies that I have ever seen. It was so bad I’m fact, that I’m going to break one of the main rules in writing movie reviews and tell you how it ends. I would rather you spend thirty seconds here reading about how aweful this movie is than have you come to the same conclusion after two hours of misery.

Nicolas Cage’s son gets a list of numbers from his school’s time capsule, which turns out have predicted major disasters for the last 50 years, with the last world ending disaster on the list just a few days away. It turns out that the world does end, and the only ones to survive are Cage’s son and this other little girl who are saved by aliens who take them to repopulate another planet.

I did enjoy going to the drive in theater to see this movie, because I was able to make fun of the movie with bothering the restvof the theater.

So, if you do go see this movie, you may want to bring some sort of alternate entertainment or some good ET jokes.

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Sci-Fi show, Stargate Atlantis, endured 5 seasons before it was canceled. While I felt slightly empty after its predecessor, Stargate SG-1, got canceled after 10 seasons, my reaction to the end of Atlantis was much more subdued. I never felt like Atlantis really got going as an excellent Sci-Fi series.

Much of the problems behind the show’s failure was that it seemed like the producers were trying to follow a Sci-Fi formula rather than breaking free and creating something original. I believe originality and exploration of new ideas is one of the attractive features drawing fans to Science-Fiction television. With various technologies, episode plots, and series developments, Stargate Atlantis followed more than it lead.

Another major problem was an inconsistency of cast. Of the 10 main characters listed on Wikipedia, only 3 of which were cast for all 5 seasons. The series saw two doctors, three commanders, and a replacement of one of the main military guys. Such cast turnover prevented fans from building a long relationship with the characters. Additionally, a few of the characters who transferred to Atlantis after the SG-1 series was canceled had major personality changes–again causing character inconsistencies.

Stargate Atlantis at times seemed to be “Science-Fiction, minus the Science.” One of Sci-Fi’s appeals is that it allows writers and viewers to imaginatively explore new ideas and concepts by setting the show in some technologically advanced state. Atlantis disappointed in this respect because rather than reasonably using technology to explore new ideas, the writers simply invented new technology or unrealistic events simply because they thought it would make the plot more interesting. For example, in the very last episode, the crew used a never-aforementioned “Wormhole Drive” to jump across the galaxy in a second to save the day.

Stargate Atlantis, while at times was interesting and many episodes illustrated great Sci-Fi drama, the series as a whole slowly failed itself into cancellation because they forgot what it takes to be a great TV show, and what it takes to be a great Sci-Fi series.

Clarification: Some point out that a show that makes it 5 seasons isn’t a failure, which is probably right. I should have said something like, “Stargate Atlantis failed to make my list of all-time great Sci-Fi shows,” or “Stargate Atlantis failed to be as great as Stargate SG-1.”

According to the Coloradoan, drunk driving arrests during the New Years holiday this year were up, again, in Colorado.  569 people were arrested for drunk driving across Colorado, with 44 arrested in Larimer County, where I live.

569 arrests is a new record since state agencies started state-wide crackdown efforts in 1998.  For the previous three years, arrests have been climbing from 407, 449, and 473.

I haven’t decided if that means that more people are driving drunk, or that law enforcement agencies are better at catching and arresting drunk drivers.  Hopefully the latter.