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Monday, February 28, 2011

And the Oscar goes too...(yawn)

Last night was the 83rd Annual Academy Awards...and I was NOT impressed! Let's face it, YES, we Americans are a bit obsessed with celebrities and awards shows and I admit I watched the WHOLE THING! We love movies, I love movies but year after year we have to suffer through long-winded acceptance speeches "Thanks Mom!", tiresome celebrity coupling, bizarre fashions and lackluster nominations. Now, I don't mean to rant but...what am I saying this is my blog, of course I do! So, lets start with this year's hosts: you've got Anne Hathaway: kinda hot, somewhat hyperactive AND James Franco: dull, boring, and possibly high as a kite (he was in Pineapple Express after all, lol)! The beginning sequence featured a parody of Inception starring Alec Baldwin and Morgan Freeman of all people, it seemed like something the MTV Movie Awards would do, and not the Oscars!? Anne Hathaway defintiely stole the show with her quirky remarks and incredibly bad jokes such as: "It's been a great year for Lesbians!" (i.e. The Kids Are Alright) and “It used to be, you get naked, you get nominated...", referring to her last film Love and other Drugs, not to mention her literal "Flub!" while introducing Sandra Bullock. Also her incredibly odd solo number where she poked fun at Hugh Jackman. It was obvious the producers of this years Oscars were leaning to a more "younger" audience especially with this years The Social Network receiving so many nominations (and only 1 win in Film Editing?I wasn't really surprised). It became painfully obvious when James Franco came on stage in DRAG as Marylin Monroe and with Anne's comment: " you look very appealing to a younger demographic as well." (gag!)
Next comes the nominations, there were apparently 10 Nominations for Best Picture, that's right, TEN! Are you kidding me, everything else such as Actor, Actress, and Director gets like 5 nominations at least. Were there really that many great movies this year or were you just trying to make everyone feel better?
It always amazes me of the time taken up with the minor technical awards for Film Editing, Sound Editing and even Sound Mixing and yet there's the whole separate awards for the Science and Technical Awards (not televised). I guarantee those are much more interesting than the awards for Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Animated Short or even Live-Action Short. We don't care!
The most disappointing awards were the nominations for Animated Feature Film, there were only 3? Of course Toy Story 3 and How To Train Your Dragon were on it, but what about Tangled (it got a song nomination) or even Shrek Forever After? Possibly the greatest injustice came from one of my favorites this year being Tron: Legacy, with only 1 nomination for Sound Editing of all things, not even a nomination for Visual Effects, instead Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 gets a nomination! WTF?
I was pleased with the nominations for Inception which deserved every one even though none of it's actors (which were more of an ensemble cast anyway) didn't receive any nominations. And I believe Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech) should have won Best Supporting Actor instead of Christian Bale (The Fighter) who admittedly exclaimed: "...a room a full of talented and inspirational people and what the hell am I doing here?". Well said...I think?
It was pretty obvious when Tom Hooper took Best Director and Colin Firth won Best Actor for The King's Speech what was going to win Best Picture, and I was thoroughly impressed with the film itself. I especially liked the Best Picture montage which revolved around the radio speech scene from The King's Speech while Beethoven's 7th Symphony played. LINK All in all, it seemed like a fairly mediocre Oscar night and I trust neither Anne Hathaway or James Franco will return next year. Unfortunately the final number did little to bring it any prestige with a performance of "Over the Rainbow" by Staten Island's PS 22 Chorus which sounded very dubbed/lip synced? We've definitely had our fill of awards shows this year, with the recent Grammy awards in all it's eccentricitys (i.e. Lady Gaga arriving in a giant egg?!?!) plus the Emmy's, Tony's, Golden Globes and now the Oscars! (And don't forget the Indie Spirit Awards) Enough is Enough!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

DFW Writers' Conference

This weekend is the 3rd Annual DFW Writers' Conference on February 26 & 27 at the American Airlines Training and Conference Center in Ft. Worth, Texas, sponsored by the DFW Writers' Workshop. This year is going to be HUGE! There will be lots of classes, vendors, agents, editors, publishers, everything! This year's keynote speaker will be New York Times Best-Selling author Sandra Brown! If you are an aspiring writer in the North Texas area, you should have already registered for this conference! I have been a member of the workshop for 4 years and currently serve on the board of directors. This year, due to our growing membership we moved the conference to a bigger venue, having held the conference for the last two years at the Grapevine Convention Center in Grapevine, TX. This is going to be a big year for the workshop and this conference is a great chance to help writers of all genres to get some expert advice and information. We at the workshop have worked really hard on this one although it hasn't been without it's obstacles. We hope this years conference will be a great one and we hope anyone not familiar with the workshop to feel free to come and visit us every Wednesday night at 7pm (soon to be at our NEW location) in Euless, TX! Hope to see you there! Follow my Twitter @ChernobogsLair for updates at the conference!


"It isn't easy. Nobody has ever done it consistently. Those who try hardest, scare it off into the woods. Those who turn their backs and saunter along, whistling softly between their teeth, hear it treading quietly behind them, lured by a carefully acquired disdain."
- Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

Monday, February 21, 2011

TOP 10: PRESIDENTS' DAY EDITION

TOP 10: PRESIDENTS' DAY EDITION: TOP 10 BEST MOVIE PRESIDENTS
There have been many movie presidents over the years, some fictitious and some depicting real American presidents of past and present. For Presidents' Day, Chernobog's Blog presents the Top 10 Best Movie Presidents:

#10 President Nixon, Watchmen (2009) - Played by Robert Wisden, whose huge nose seems more like a caricature of the real President.

#9 President Lindburg, The Fifth Element (1997), played by Tomy 'Tiny' Lister Jr., a former wrestler, seemed an unlikely choice but his character actually works in this bizarre depiction of the future.

#8 The President, Superman II (1980) played by E.G. Marshall, a popular war-movie actor he plays the unnamed President who "kneels before Zod!"

#7 President Abraham Lincoln, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989) played by Robert Barron, the modified version of his Gettysburg Address is EXCELLENT! "Party On Dudes!"

#6 President Camacho, Idiocracy (2006) played by Terry Crews, a disturbing look into a possible future where everyone is an idiot and the President of "America" is a flamboyant, foul-mouthed, showboating fool! "Break it down, Camacho!"

#5 President James Marshall, Air Force One (1997) Harrison Ford plays a president who becomes an action hero when Air Force One is taken over by terrorists led by Gary Oldman. "GET OFF MY PLANE!"

#4 President James Dale, Mars Attacks! (1996) Jack Nicholson plays two parts in Tim Burton's Sci-Fi/Comedy masterpiece (based on a 1962 Trading Card series!)!

#3 Dave Kovic/President Bill Mitchell, Dave (1993) Kevin Kline plays two roles both the President and the look-alike who impersonates the president and ends up improving his image.

#2 President Merkin Muffley, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) Peter Sellers plays three parts in this ode to the paranoid Cold War.

#1 President Thomas J. Whitmore, Independence Day (1996) Bill Pullman is the ultimate president, he helps his country through a worldwide alien invasion by jumping in a fighter plane and shooting them down!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A NIGHT @ THE RAIL CLUB, Ft.Worth, TX, 2/11/2011

Last night I went to The Rail Club in Ft. Worth, TX to see my favorite local band URIZEN! This will be my third time seeing them, the first was at Dallas' All-Con and then back in December at Ft. Worth's Ridglea Theater. I truly believe they are one of the few, original Texas local bands who aren't trying to emulate some other Texas bands like Pantera or Drowning Pool. URIZEN is a highly creative, theatrical and original band incorporating the music styling of electronic-influenced avant-garde Heavy Metal. I'd never been to the Rail Club, but I found it a pretty decent club. It has 2 bars, pool tables and darts on the second level balcony. The only disadvantage I could see was the stage was set up in the middle of the club in front of a small dance floor and DJ whereas the tables were set up on either side.


The show was scheduled to start at 8pm but the first band SILVERTONGUEDEVIL didn't get started until about 9:30. They weren't bad, reminded me of Slayer, although a little cliche. The guitarist was pretty good but the vocalist seemed to be trying too hard, he had Judas Priest style studded gloves and wore a pirate skull-like bandanna. They played a pretty good set especially when they did an impressive cover of "Tyrant" by Immortal for Black-Metal Month, during which the vocalist brandished this goth-like metal spear?!

URIZEN
 Next up was URIZEN, and they opened with "A Noiseless Flash", the first track from their Universe album featuring the keyboardists mutant "brother" Danuato playing his keyboard solo, always a fun opening act. They also performed "It Begins to Rain", "A New Revelation", "A Budding Consciousness". In following with the trend Silvertonguedevil started with Black-Metal Month Urizen performed a cover of "Christ Crusher" by Thy Serpent, although I consider myself a big Black Metal fan, I admit I was unfamiliar with this one. Urizen also played their newest single "Boxmen" and then came their epic finale with "The Horror" while Urizen's famous Robot fought a one-eyed blob monster. Recently Urizen has also included with their phenomenal stage show a Spaceman character who shoots smoke rings with an elaborate arm-gun. I believe their set was cut somewhat short by the venue but I believe they had a decent reaction with the crowd. I unfortunately found myself  to be the only fan out on the floor wearing my Urizen Tshirt while most of the attendees merely sat around. This may have not been the best venue for Urizen but I think they put on a great show as always. I look forward to following their career as it prospers.
video

SEDATED
 Next up was SEDATED, a Ramones Tribute Band. The band members actually looked very much like The Ramones, complete with wigs, leather jackets and similar instruments. They played all the classic Ramones hits like "Blitzkrieg Bop", "Teenage Lobotomy", "Beat on the Brat", "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker", "Cretin Hop", "Pinhead", "Rockaway Beach", then finished with "Bonzo Goes To Bitburg" and of course "I Wanna Be Sedated". For the most part Sedated, I think, got the biggest reaction from the crowd and seemed to have a pretty big following. I was thoroughly impressed with their imitation.


Finally, SIK took the stage they had a Pantera/Godsmack style , although they had a surprisingly short set their guitarist had an impressive set-up. Overall, I had a pretty good time, the bar thankfully served Ziegen-Bock one of my favorite local beers, so I was "happy", lol! Too bad, no one could join me but it was a pretty good night!
Later Metalheads!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR! TOP 10: CHOW YUN-FAT MOVIES
Happy Chinese New Year, it's the year of the rabbit and I thought what would would be better to celebrate the Chinese New Year than by posting my Top 10 favorite movies of my favorite Chinese action star: Chow Yun-Fat (or Yun-Fat Chow)! Although he was not born in the year of the rabbit, he WAS born the same Chinese Zodiac year as me and my Dad, the year of the Ram! Awesome! So, here's my list of Top 10 Chow Yun-Fat Movies, Kung Hay Fat Choy!

 #10 Bulletproof Monk (2003) Chow Yun-Fat plays an unnamed Tibetan monk who battles Nazis with a pair of handguns to protect an ancient scroll and there's also Sean William Scott for some reason...
#9 Once A Thief (1991) Chow Yun-Fat is Joe, a part of a trio of international art thieves directed by John Woo.
#8 Hard Boiled (1992) Chow Yun-Fat  is Inspector 'Tequila' Yuen, a cop who teams up with an undercover agent, directed by John Woo.
#7 City on Fire (1987) Chow Yun-Fat is Ko Chow, an undercover cop who infiltrates a jewelry heist.
#6 Curse of the Golden Flower (2006) Chow Yun-Fat  plays Emperor Ping who wears a LOT of gold and sits in steam for most of the movie?
#5 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) Chow Yun-Fat plays the infamous Capt. Sao Feng in the third Pirates film, but unfortunately appears for only a very short time until he is killed by a cannonball! (Also, he's obsessed with steam)
#4 Anna and the King (1999) Chow Yun-Fat  plays King Mongkut, the King of Siam, opposite Jodie Foster as Anna Leonowens in this modern (and non-musical) version of "The King and I".
#3 The Replacement Killers (1998) Chow Yun-Fat stars as John Lee in his first American film directed by John Woo. When a mafia assassin disobeys an order to kill the son of a cop he becomes a target himself! This was the first movie I ever saw Chow Yun-Fat in and soon became a fan of his older Hong Kong action films.
#2 The Killer (1989) Chow Yun-Fat is Ah Jong in John Woo's masterpiece!
#1 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) Chow Yun-Fat  is Kung Fu Master Li Mu Bai in Ang Lee's martial arts masterpiece and remains one of the most popular and highest grossing foreign language films ever!