Welcome to a 9alaxy far, far 4way

Another fan, another fan blog

8.30.2007

Battlestar Galactica season 3 reruns again in September

Cross posted at FRAK

Not many people may know that Battlestar's season 3 has been rerun late nights on the Sci Fi Channel ever since the actual season finale this past spring. The show time has consistently been at 2:00 am EST on Saturday mornings (or Friday nights, depending on your lifestyle - read below for notes on Sci Fi's schedule-bot scheduling), with some exceptions. The exception this week will be a Stargate marathon. However, on September 7/8 the Battlestar reruns will continue with part 1 of the season finale Crossroads, followed by part 2 the following week on September 14/15.

The good news is that the Sci Fi channel will start right back up at the beginning of season 3 with the season premiere The Occupation, the very next week; September 21/22 at 2am EST, then continuing on with the rest of season 3 once again, same time as usual.

That's plenty of time to get some blank VHS tapes, DVD-RAM, or to clean out the good ol' DVR. Of course we could make every Friday night a Frak party, and stay up until the wee hours watching each episode. Of course what I think we're all waiting for is the DVD release of season 3, but who knows when the hack that will be.

Notes on Sci Fi's schedule-bot:

- It's a good idea (in my geeky opinion at least) to bookmark Sci Fi schedule-bot main index page in your browser so every time you open it, the schedule for that day will come up. The daily scheduling is listed from 6:00 am to 5:00 am the following morning. You'll see the listings for Battlestar when you click on Fridays (in the monthly calendars at the bottom of the page), even though it's actually scheduled for 2am on Saturdays. Set your recording devices accordingly, and lock s-foils in attack position. :D

Don't forget the webisodes!

Before starting watching season 3 from the beginning again, don't forget to first watch the 10 part series of short webisodes titled Resistance. These minis cover what happened on NC right before the first episode of season 3 begins. They can be viewed here on the Sci Fi Pulse site, as well as all together in one cut here.

The link to Battlestar Wiki's season 3 episode guide is now available in the sidebar (at FRAK) as well.

8.29.2007

Blade Runner: The Final Cut - DVD specs


Sooo, I was probably jumping the gun in my last brief Blade Runner: The Final Cut entry (let's dub it BRTFC) when I said we would see the new DVD release as well as a theater release this September. It looks like it's all happening in December instead, although who can blame me? I had read elsewhere that it would be in September, and "Coming fall 2007" means any month before December in my calendar-book.

Earlier this month, the specs on the DVD release started to trickle in, and now it looks like it's official - We have the choice of SEVEN different DVD sets of BRTFC. That includes two different options on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray, and another three on good old fashioned standard DVD. In my opinion, there should be eight options, in which I will state my argument later. I want it all I guess.

First, here's the break down on what you will be able to get on December 18, 2007, as listed on amazon.com - read all the details there, or see my following break down. Amazon listed prices noted:

STANDARD DEF DVD:
1. BRTFC 2 Disc Special Edition $14.49:
- Disc 1: The newly remastered, re-cut, and extended feature of Blade Runner: The Final Cut. Includes several commentaries, subtitles, audio options, etc.
- Disc 2: The documentary Dangerous Days: The Making of Blade Runner

2. Blade Runner 4 Disc Collector's Edition $24.49:
- Disc 1: Same as Disc 1 above
- Disc 2: Same as Disc 2 above
- Disc 3: Includes three more versions of the film: 1982 Original US Theatrical Version, 1982 International Version, 1992 Director's Cut
- Disc 4: Bonus Disc: "Enhancement Archive" - Tons of rare footage, deleted scenes, archives, etc.

3. Blade Runner 5 Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition $54.99:
- Discs 1 through 4: Same as above
- Disc 5: Workprint Version - Unlike any other cut of Blade Runner, includes commentary and featurette
- All this comes packaged in a limited numbered collector's "Deckard briefcase", along with some other cool collectible loot and including a signed letter from Sir Ridley

BLU-RAY:
4. Blade Runner 5 Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition $69.95:
- Everything in the standard def version, including the briefcase. All versions of the film in Blu-ray format 1080p res*

5. Blade Runner 5 Disc Complete Collector's Edition $27.95:
- All the disc content of the 5 disc sets, but no briefcase. All versions of the film in Blu-ray format 1080p res*

HD DVD:
6. Blade Runner 5 Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition $69.95:
- Everything in the standard def version, including the briefcase. All versions of the film in HD DVD format 1080p res*

7. Blade Runner 5 Disc Complete Collector's Edition $27.95:
- All the disc content of the 5 disc sets, but no briefcase. All versions of the film in HD DVD format 1080p res*

* Check out this article about these releases in both HD DVD and Blu-ray. Apparently, each version of the film is remastered in 1080p, but the bonus content like featurettes, interviews and documentaries will be in standard def.

For people without hi-def screens and players (Blu-ray or HD DVD), they'll have to fork out a lot more cash to have access to the workprint version on DVD, since that's only available in the "Ultimate" edition with Deckard's case for standard-def. Otherwise, any version of the hi-def formats have all the versions of the film, and all the bonus material.

So, that's a whopping FIVE versions of the actual film, if you include the workprint.

The theatrical release of BRTFC: Ever since the trailer came out almost two months ago, and the excitement surrounding the news, the chatter about the theatrical release seems to have settled down to almost nothing. It's all about what we'll be getting on DVD for the moment. I'm on the lookout for some dates on the theater run, which will hopefully precede the December 18th DVD releases by a good week or more... but I'm hoping for a couple of months before.

8.28.2007

A chat with David Ankrum - aka the voice of Wedge


I've recently discovered the awesomeness going on at the Jedi-Masters Blog (as I browsed the articles for the holo story below), and a little up-close and personal with David Ankrum, voice talent for the character Wedge Antilles in A New Hope, over there. It's short but sweet. Adding Jedi-Masters to links...

8.27.2007

Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. I'm on your cell phone.

Real holos are in the works, and there are plans to make this somehow work with cell phone hand sets. I dunno... it still looks a little bulky at this stage.

Japan will figure out somehow though, I'm sure.

Luke's lightsaber is space bound!

Look for some footage and news in the next couple of days as the prop used as Luke's lightsaber (as opposed to the real one ;) in the original Star Wars makes it's journey from Skywalker Ranch to NASA 's Houston Space Center. As part of the 30th anniversary celebration, the original saber will be blasted off into outer space on the next flight of the space shuttle Discovery in October.

The journey begins August 28th (tomorrow!), and will include a full escort for the trip with Chewie, a troop of stormies, and more of our Star Wars friends who will usher the lightsaber over to the hands of NASA at a ceremony to be held at the Oakland International Airport.

KEWL!

Linkies:
Sci Fi Wire
TFN

Edit - Look for coverage by the official starwars.com blog, and on starwars.com tomorrow.

..and for the true space geek in you, check out NASA TV! Awesome live video from space.
__________________________________

Also... recent Battlestar Galactica news at FRAK

8.24.2007

I live in San Fransisco. I'm not part of the film industry.

George Lucas speaks! I actually posted the highlights from this up-close and personal with George this spring, highlights which pertained mostly to his discussion of the new digital technology being developed for next-next gen gaming for Lucasarts. This was all a product of George's appearance at The Wall Street Journal's D: All things Digital annual tech and media conference for 2007.

*clicky* Now, that appearance is available to view in all it's glorious 54 minutes, as archived by the D website *clicky*.

George talks about much more than his recent digital revolution. This one is long but really, really, really, really worth the view. Heck, some of the other attendees of the conference are prolly worth a watch too (Jobs and Gates together for example), but I'm still busy absorbing George's words :)

There's no embed function for that video - you'll have to watch via the provided link, so instead I bring you a fat cat playing Jabba, who can't spell wookiee
BTW - This is some random internet cat and it ain't mine. If it were, my wookiee, Thunder, would've taken care of it long ago :p

8.23.2007

Random news o' the day/week...

After all, what would a proper fan blog be without random news?

~ This one really caught my mind's eye: What if David Lynch directed ROTJ? (Thanks TFN) There would have probably been more bunnies involved... and it would have been much, much weirder.

~ The true meaning(s) of the Force.

~ An inspiring tale of a fan, a camera, and a journey. We're next Neil, except I'll stay in Tunisia while you head up to Finland ;)

~ Everything the tech geek in you wanted to know about LFL/ILM, and then some (Thanks Club Jade). No, this article doesn't tell you how to build a real lightsaber :(

~ Anyone who has any interest in this has probably already read the chat with Sue Rostoni over at The EU Cantina, but I'll post it anyway. This is a second hand post thanks to Thrawn's Expanded Universe blog.


~ Natalie and Hayden are voted to have the worst on-screen chemistry (Thanks Google News and everyone else who already blogged this). Yup. It made me cringe too. I still wish I were in Natalie Portman's shoes, but not the black leather number - nor about half of her other costumes. Still cringing.


~ I've been meaning to get the TPB edition of the Star Wars: Legacy first story arc Broken, but truthfully I'm less interested in actually reading it than I am in the discussions surrounding canon issues (really, I am too chicken that someone is going to kill off Luke, Leia and Han somewhere along the line, and reveal it in Legacy). But since one of my all time favorites, Obi-Wan, is being featured in issue #16, I'll probably pick up just this single issue. The question of Krayt should be answered!





~ Ian Anthony Assembles a Galaxy in Toronto. More collectors should show off their lewt this way IMO.






Did all you starwars.com members check your email and take the survey?

That's all I got for now.

I survived "On the Lot"

After reading a few other online reviews of the season finale of On the Lot, I'm feeling a little better about the whole ordeal. I really wanted to love this series. I wanted to believe it was rising above all other reality TV, if not primarily because it was a Spielberg project - then at least for the hope that it was a contest like we've never seen on TV before. And it was something near and dear to my heart: film-craft.

So I watched. I never really voted, since I caught most of the episodes posted on the (above linked) website after the voting was closed. But I voted in my mind... sort of. Some of the lingering thoughts I had throughout the duration were how the outcome of this process will translate in the real world - Could the winner of this show really succeed even under the wing of Spielberg?.., and that since Zach Lipovsky was obviously already the winner - how they were going to play out the events leading up to his win convincingly and stretch it out over multiple episodes. The other thought was that I wished the host, Adrianna Costa, could have also been voted off the show.

But Carrie Fisher's involvement is really what kept me coming back week after week. Maybe that's a no-brainer. The critiques from all of the judges and guest judges were invaluable to me. I also wanted to see how Zach's films were continuously miles in caliber above any of the other contestant's best work each week.

As each week went on, the show seemed to become more like what a friend of mine referred to as "American Idol for filmmaking", and I couldn't help but to agree even though I kept watching. It was an almost painful process to see this thing through to the end, especially for two major reasons - Zach was voted off several steps before the finals, and Jason Epperson came in second place. Every single film Jason created either bored me, embarrassed me (by the lack of craft being displayed for the world to see... and even worse - they voted for it!), and mostly offended me. I was also sad to see Adam get booted from the finals first.

Since the real judges of this show were supposedly the viewers, who could vote via the internet, text message, or call it in, one has to wonder how effective this kind of voting process is in determining who is worthy of a meeeellion dollar (Dr. Evil pronunciation) contract with Dream Works. To me, this seems about as random as winning the Pepsi Challenge from a bottle cap. Plus, internet voting wasn't even working for the finals. These thoughts actually comfort me considering the outcome of the contest.

Don't get me wrong. Will Bigham certainly seems a worthy winner. He seems talented, intelligent, and humble enough, and those watery puppy dog eyes certainly pull a song of sympathy from the heart strings. In my perfect world, Zach, Adam, and Will were the final three. Jason was voted off instantly with his disgrace to mentally handicapped people everywhere. Andrew, Phil, and Sam (well, Sam made it pretty far anyway) all made it to the second to last final round. Jess and Claudia got over themselves and actually made good films, since they really seemed to have the potential to do so (but maybe not under the contest conditions) and because it really would have been great to have a couple of females up there. In fact, Jess came in second place to Zach in my perfect world. In reality, she looked really pissed during the finals sitting there in the audience.

So I don't know who really voted for this thing, but I have the feeling Jason has a very large extended family and perhaps everyone in Kentucky (maybe they're all one big family) put in a call in vote for him - not because they liked his movies.

In the very end, the prize for the audience, or at least for me, was the glimpse of Steven Spielberg congratulating the winner (my prize for each episode was hearing primarily what Carrie had to say, but also the other judges) - and even that just didn't seem comfortable or right. Now my imagination is running wild filling in what really happened after the cameras cut while Steven and Will walked into the perfectly white balanced sunset of Spielberg Ranch. I also like to imagine how different the show would have been if the judges were the actual judges of the contest, along with other guest industry professionals.

As it turns out, mostly everyone who had anything to say about this show felt almost exactly the same as I. Some prime examples:

'On the Lot' goes out with a whimper by Daniel Fienberg

The foreign directors, the female directors, the minority directors and the few semi-experimental directors were weeded out by the halfway point. Instead, the contest came down to a group of young white men with unremarkable mainstream sensibilities.

Jason got off to an absolutely atrocious start with Getta Rhoom, possibly the season's worst project

no studio head in their right mind would (or should) hand any of them a million bucks based on this body of work.

in one of the most awkwardly staged moments in the history of television (or at least since Celine Dion did her duet with Zombie Elvis), Will hopped in a car and was taken to the DreamWorks lot, where he got to meet Spielberg, inconveniently on leave from Indiana Jones 4. Spielberg gave Will a big hug, claimed he loved all of his films and presented him with the key to his broom closet.

Somehow, Zach still should have won. Now, though, he won't need to wear the uneasy On the Lot Winner crown on his head for the rest of his career.
I agree with just about everything else Fienberg mentions except the crack at Carrie's cleavage.

On The Lot: Series Finale by JJ Hawkins

It's been painful in every nearly respect and I'm glad to finally be put out of my misery.
The part we didn't see is where Spielberg yanked the key back, called security, and had them forcefully escort Will off of Dreamwork's property.
Spielberg could be heard yelling, "Check out my IMDB page sometime. I've got more talent in my beard than you have in your entire body. America got it wrong."
Zach then pulled up in a second limousine, Spielberg handed him the key to the office, and nudged him toward a treasure chest filled with gold bullion.
That behind the scenes didn't really happen, but it should have!

On the Lot: Finale Recap by Oscar Dahl

... Mr. Dahl is much more forgiving, perhaps because he is a senior writer. I think we can fill in the blanks though ;)

Just read the above the reviews, even if you have been a casual On the Lot follower. You can always speed through the episodes at your leisure at the On the Lot website. (Note: Link brings you to the most recent episode first, so to watch from the beginning, scroll down in the right nav bar)... or not.



8.18.2007

The most epic epic in all of epic-dom

I mean aside from the Star Wars saga... and Indiana Jones (speaking of - did you hear Indy IV has 6 titles now? Check out indianajones.com for all the sweet new video they've been adding too). I suppose the Iliad is somewhere up there as well.

No, this most epic of epics that I rant about today is from one of my other fangirl-doms, and that is the world of wuxia (which for the uninformed generally refers to Chinese fantasy/historical martial arts cinema and literature in the context it is discussed here).

In the last year or so, there were rumors followed by quasi-official proclamations that my long time hero and wushu idol, Jet Li, was to retire from "epic martial arts films". The news on this was never very credible or crystal clear, but it still brought great sorrow to my fragile but furious fangirl soul. At one point the misinformation mill churned out something about Li continuing making action films, but for American audiences and in the American style... or something to that effect. This not only brought upon tears of darkness from epic martial arts fans everywhere, but it never really quite sat right. Other stories spoke of Li giving up the violent world of wuxia film to devote his life to the study of Buddhism. I liked that version better. I guess I really wanted to hear an outright political statement from Jet that would confess that he was trying to detach from any ties to the Chinese government and movie industry (of which I still am convinced is hidden between the lines of the recent movie Fearless). I might never know the real story, but I'd love to hear it from Jet Li himself someday... perhaps on neutral soil.

Did I ever tell you about how I was going to stalk screenwriter John Fusco, who is actually local to my neck of the woods (and believe you me, that makes everybody a neighbor in these parts, and therefore fair game), and follow him to China while he researched for his next script? Um, well, something came up... I think they call it work, and I guess school too. In my mind I was going. I was all set to drop everything, find a dog... I mean wookiee sitter, and try to convince my mom that going anywhere not considered "the west" did not equal the third world and therefore the inevitable death of her daughter. I really meant to do that, because I knew what John Fusco was up to, and it was right on the heels of the wuxia underworld chatter of Jet Li's exodus.

And it didn't make sense at all, since John Fusco was developing the script for what was then dubbed the "J and J Project". Then the other news started to seep in. I don't mean news about Tarantino and Rodriguez, since that would have been called the "T and R Project", but that's the kind of movie news most people talked about. The J's of the project were none other than Jet Li and Jackie Chan, who were to join together for the first time ever on film (this is history in the making folks) to make an epic martial arts movie. W00t?

Not too long before this I had rushed to theaters to see the release of Fearless, thinking it was my last chance for Jet in a tunic and a top knot. Not that I'm disappointed in any way. In fact, knowing that Jet was going to give epic-ness another chance left my mind at ease for a bit. So much so that I kind of forgot about it for awhile and moved on to other business, like the plan to stalk my screenwriting teacher and follow him to Vancouver while he visits the set of Battlestar Galactica and the filming of it's final season. That hasn't quite happened... yet (but that rant is for another day, and another blog).

Maybe both Jet and Jackie finally realized what Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon did for their genre in the west. Only since Crouching have we really seen wuxia have an actual solid screening in mainstream theaters across the USA. Before then, and with the exception of Bruce Lee movies which were largely endorsed by western interests anyway, wuxia cinema was pretty much relegated to the likes and tastes of fanboys and girls, comic book enthusiast types, and well... you know what I'm getting at. Don't make me say it!

While wuxia isn't quite a household name in the west like Star Wars or Indy... or Megatron, most people in the west have now seen or at least heard of Crouching Tiger. Most people may not know that films like that have been produced in China for close to a century, but with other films like Hero and House of Flying Daggers making their stand in the west recently, the genre is staking it's claim as an art form rather than a more campy-culty underground geek form. Of course, production values have massively updated for this to happen, and as with anything else successful that makes it's way out of China, it somehow gains national status as part of the Chinese cultural heritage. If Jet Li hangs around just a little longer, I think it will give wuxia that much more of a welcome (by me) boost in the west.. along with more western money, and therefore prettier and prettier martial arts flicks. These are evil thoughts though. We should be trying to make prettier movies cost less money to produce, especially in the west. Right? I think on either side of the globe, extras are still living off a wage of craft services anyway :p

Fast forward then rewind to a few days ago. I often have NPR on in the background during my daily commutes, and I always try to listen to the weather report when it comes on, but my attention span always finds something else that takes precedence... like that dog hair slowly making its way toward the rim of my coffee cup. Oh, and driving. But certain keywords are so deeply embedded in my psyche that they will whip monkey mind right back to the present, and a few days ago that keyword was "Jet Li" screaming out from the monotone chatter of NPR. This was followed by a couple of other words that I was less familiar with, which were "Forbidden Kingdom" and "Hengdian Studios". "Jacki Chan" was in there somewhere too.

I felt like Jason Bourne finally remembering how it all began, but in a good way (another epic and worthy of another entry in itself of course). A title? And even more than that... large-ish scale coverage of the movie and the shooting location in China? I worried for a second that our cheerful NPR reporters might somehow vanish only to have their stories of execution in a remote Chinese prison be told years after the fact. Then I remembered that I'm waaay too American. Where had I been for the last few months since this was known merely as the elusive and not much talked about "J and J Project"? Oh right - obsessing about other stuff.

While my eyes and some part of my mind were driving, my ears eagerly ate up the story and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was the first story of a small series on NPR about the movie and Hengdian Studios with another piece to be aired the following day (which I caught completely by chance, again during my commute). All of it can be read and heard on NPR's website, along with pictures(!):

Martial-Arts Masters Meet in 'Forbidden Kingdom'


Coach Assists Chinese Actress' Hollywood Debut


Ambition and History Meet in China's Hollywood

(Check out the web resources in the right nav bar for links to Hengdian and related sites)

I guess China is now open for business.

As it turns out, Forbidden Kingdom isn't quite the wuxia film you were looking for. Being that it's partially a western endeavor, and will star a modern American teenager with a Time Bandits-esque journey to ancient China, it seems as though Kingdom is going to be a marriage of wuxia's new-found western fame and something akin to the Harry Potter fantasy genre bandwagon, which aside from superheroes and comic book characters seems to be the money making movie theme of the moment.

What else is to come you ask? Maybe you shouldn't.

A complete aside (What? Me? A tangent?)... If you've ever seen clips
(Warning - very inappropriate content!) from the Chinese translations of Star Wars, this news quip should surely make you grin.

This article was largely inspired by my mentor yo, yo, yo, yo, Yodaaah (and my uncanny ability to blog at length when there are other things that really need to be attended to)