Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Hangover, Part III review

I'll bet you a quatloo (See Star Trek "The Gamesters of Triskelion") that when they made the first The Hangover (2009), nobody was thinking a trilogy. But then it made a gazillion bucks and that in Hollywood screams sequel. Thus came The Hangover Part II. (2011) Of course, that made a gazillion bucks and you know what that means. The Hangover Part III.

The Wolfpack is back in The Hangover Part III. In case you don't know who the Wolfpack is, they are the shallow and handsome Phil (Bradley Cooper); the frequently humiliated dentist Stu (Ed Helms) and the mentally ill, man child Alan. (Zach Galifianakis) Big time crook Marshall (John Goodman) kidnaps Alan's brother in law, Doug (Justin Bartha) to force the Wolfpack to find their Chinese criminal buddy, Chow (Ken Jeong), who is a guy willing to expose his um... well, I'll just say humble privates in front of millions of moviegoers. You see Chow has stolen a lot of gold that was previously illegally taken by Marshall from a sheikh.

Let me digress a little here and make some news. I found Jeong's performance to be funny in the first two Hangover movies. He later devolves into the Chinese geeky male that angry white guys think all Chinese men act like. You know, like out of tune nerdy Chinese singer William Hung of American Idol fame. So today, I announce the Hung Test, it's like The Bechdel Test. To pass the test, a movie must feature a geeky Chinese guy, with an Asian accent, and the guy must do a full frontal showing off his um... humble stuff. And The Hangover III passes the Hung Test. On a more sincere note, I'm a Chinese American and at the pub, I get from drunk white guys requests to act like William Hung. She Bangs, my ass.

Okay, back to the review. Since the first two Hangover movies were comedies you would think that The Hangover Part III would also be a comedy. But Director Todd Philips and Craig Mazin have written a movie that is more crime drama than a tentpole comedy. There's an ugliness to the characters particularly with Chow. None of the main characters have any appeal. Couple that with the paucity of jokes, The Hangover Part III is one unfunny movie. What can I say when the funniest part of the movie is the end credits scene.

If you must see The Hangover Part III to finish the trilogy, save your money and rent it when it comes to pay per view. It's an unfunny conclusion to the story of the Wolfpack. The grade is C+.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alice Eve's underwear sets the Internet on fire

Radical feminists and the PC police (political correctness police) have had their panties in a bunch over Alice Eve's underwear scene in Star Trek Into Darkness. (STID) Recently, STID co-writer Damon Lindelof through Twitter apologized for the scene which he deemed gratuitous. This has started more controversy on the Internet as radical feminists and the PC police have rallied to the cause that naughty pictures are bad. Thanks Damon. It's bad enough you brought us season six of Lost but now you've reignited a controversy that shouldn't exist.

Star Trek Into Sexiness

I wrote about this controversy earlier this month but thanks to Damon Lindelof, actress Alice Eve's underwear or bikini has set the radicals who hate naughty pictures on fire. First, we need to look and see if the naughty scene in STID is something out of the norm  for Star Trek.   The answer is no. Star Trek as a science fiction franchise had a bunch of sexy scenes going all the way back to the original series. I mean who can forget actress Sherry Jackson's barely there strips of clothing  in "What are Little Girls Made Of?" to the sexual nature of smearing decontamination gel on T'Pol's (Jolene Blalock) scantily clad body in the last series, Enterprise . (Episode "Broken Bow") And the eye candy wasn't confined to woman. Men were also scantily clad in Star Trek. See how many times that Kirk (William Shatner) had his shirt ripped off. That was  a  big joke in the Star Trek parody, Galaxy Quest. (1999)

But why all this sexiness? Look, let's not be naive. Part of it is to appeal to a male audience. But that's too simple an answer for Star Trek. One of Star Trek's biggest themes is the human condition. And part of being human is the act of sex. It's a powerful force. It can be ugly when sex is the result of coercion. It can also be beautiful.     It can be the expression of love between two people. It is also how we were brought to this world.

Spoiler Ahead. But was the scene of Alice Eve in her underwear gratuitous? (Pictured.) Well, the answer is yes and no. Alice Eve plays Dr. Carol Marcus. In the Star Trek universe, she will be Kirk's lover and bear his child. (Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, 1982) In Star Trek Into Darkness, Dr. Marcus and Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) enter a shuttle so Marcus can prepare to land on a moon and  open up a mysterious torpedo safely. She changes  from her mini-dress into a jump suit. Now this is important. Kirk doesn't order her to change into her jump suit. She voluntarily strips in his presence. So, no sexual harassment here. But is this shot necessary? Not really. Probably, designed to appeal to teenage males who are the main audience of summer tentpole movies. But is it totally gratuitous? No. In a short, playful scene, Kirk gives Marcus the once over. The scene shows that Kirk is sexually attracted to Marcus. And it's likely going to lead to a future sexual encounter between the two. I mean how do you think, that Kirk's son David is going to be created?

No Man's Land.

If you get a chance to read the Internet comments on articles about Alice Eve's underwear, you will get a dose of radical feminism. First, let me say I'm no conservative, I'm a liberal who believes in the Lilly Ledbetter Act, a woman's right to choose, pay equity for women etc. But some of these radical feminists want to force their vision on art. They like to submit their movies to the Bechdel test. For a film to pass the test, there must be a scene with two women who have a conversation and the conversation must be about something other than a man. Kind of sucks the fun out of a movie doesn't it?

But what does it say about radical feminism? They hate men. Since men are eliminated from the conversation, half of humanity are removed from the human condition. And the test would eliminate conversations that are not just about a woman's relationship with a men. It would eliminate a conversation about a men that has nothing to do with a personal relationship between the women. For example, if Uhura and Marcus wanted to talk about how they can rescue Kirk, then the conversation would not pass the test. Men don't exist. It's a form of censorship. It forces ideas on writers that don't belong to them.

I find the scene of Alice Eve in her underwear to be appealing. She's a beautiful woman. So, sue me. Alice Eve is a human being who has feelings, and aspirations. There is nothing wrong for any person to find the scene pleasing. Just don't take that paintbrush to label those people who find her attractive as sexist. Unless you know the person, you can't tell whether he or she is a sexist.

Trailer with the naughty scene.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkess IMAX Review; Star Trek Into Darkness 3D Review

I've seen Star Trek Into Darkness in IMAX 3D and regular 3D. This review will cover both. So, in the words of the movie's antagonist, John Harrison, "Shall we begin."

Star Trek Into Darkness is the sequel to the 2009 successful reboot of the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek. J.J. Abrams who directed the 2009 movie is again brought on to direct. The 2009 writers Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci also return to create the screenplay with Damon Lindelof. I'll admit that I'm a Trekker and liked the 2009 movie but found it light in terms of being Star Trek. So I'm a harder critic of the Star Trek films.

Star Trek Into Darkness starts out with the crew of the Enterprise working to stop a volcano from erupting on the planet Nibiru. The Enterprise is hidden underwater so it won't be exposed to the primitive population. Such contamination would violate the Prime Directive which prohibits interference with native populations. Spock (Zachery Quinto) gets stranded in the volcano. Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) decides to expose the Enterprise to rescue Spock. Back on earth, Kirk is punished for violating the Prime Directive and he loses command of the Enterprise to Admiral Christopher Pike. (Bruce Greenwood) While accompanying Pike to a meeting of senior command, the conference is interrupted by an attack from John Harrison. (Benedict Cumberbatch) He's a member of Starfleet who recently bombed a London Starfleet archive. He flees to the Klingon home world of Kronos. Admiral Alexander Marcus (Peter Weller) sends the Enterprise back under the command of Captain Kirk to kill Harrison.

Kirk is portrayed here as an older but not wiser Kirk. In the first movie, he's confident but kind of an arrogant jerk. Chris Pine gives him that swagger. But it's the beginning of the evolution to a more mature Kirk that is on display here. Pine's Kirk shows insecurity, doubt and finally humility. Zachery Quinto's Spock is a wonder here. There's a line where Quinto's Spock acknowledges that he displays multiple attitudes at once. You see Quinto plays a Vulcan, a member of a race that suppresses emotions. It's remarkable that Quinto displays emotion in a cool and collected manner. Zoe Saldana is Uhura. She's not given much to do but when she is on the screen, she loves her man (Spock) and is a bold, take charge woman. Karl Urban comes back as Dr. Leonard McCoy. He's pitch perfect. His McCoy is not an imitation of DeForest Kelley who originally played him. It's a performance that captures the passionate doctor of the sixties show. Peter Weller gives Marcus a regal and commanding vibe. But it's Benedict Cumberbatch as Harrison who nearly steals the film. He's a chameleon when it comes to his motivations. He manipulates. He's vicious. It's a magnetic performance.

Director J.J. Abrams doesn't doesn't ditch his trademark style for Star Trek Into Darkness. It's a visual style that has a rich color palette. There are epic scenes. He handles action sequences well but has bad tendency to keep the camera moving at warp speed. This leads to confusion. That happens when there's a battle between Kirk's squad and Klingons. It makes me want to say to Abrams that it's a movie not a documentary. Fortunately, 3D filmmaking prohibits aggressive camera movement since that would make the audience sick. So Abrams is a little more restrained here. But there's still his love of the editing technique of fast cutting. While Abrams use of it adds to the excitement, it can come off as an appeal to teenagers with ADHD. Still, Abrams does a much better job of balancing dialogue with the action by breaking up the action set pieces. This movie breathes better than the 2009 movie. Abrams also has a great rhythm when it comes to getting out the emotion and humor in a scene.

But a good movie starts with a good screenplay. And Star Trek Into Darkness' has a good screenplay. As actor Leonard Nimoy likes to say, Star Trek works on multiple levels. There's adventure. There's emotion. And there are ideas. Scientific or philosophical. Star Trek Into Darkness explores many ideas. The Prime Directive. War. The war on terror. Revenge. Death. Yet the film flies between all these ideas with grace and humor. And the humor works better this time. It's not forced but flows from the situation. Still, this is a summer tentpole. And the action pieces are all logically connected smartly by various plot devices. A tribble makes a innocuous appearance here and turns into an important plot point later. Excellent stuff. There are very few miscues. I'm not a big fan of the literal references to an earlier Star Trek movie but I'll just accept that maybe it's the new timeline trying to correct to the old one. (You have to watch the first movie and get the reference to "alternate reality.")

As for the which version of Star Trek Into Darkness, you should see, let me start first with what kind of 3D film it is. It's a 3D conversion from 2D. The process of converting a 2D movie into a 3D movie is like creating a cinematic pop up book. Don't expect to see nooks and crannies, light and shadow that a 3D camera rig will pick up. As the late film critic Roger Ebert likes to say, you cannot make a 2D movie into a 3D movie.

Someday, say in the twenty third century, the technology to convert a 2D movie into a movie that looks like it was filmed in 3D may exist. But as of 2013, we don't have that capability. Paramount forced 3D on director J.J. Abrams. So, one can argue it's a cash grab. But Abrams does something different here. He filmed empty sets to help in the conversion process. Did it work? No. Both the IMAX and 3D versions lack pop, and depth. Neither version made me say "wow." There were many times I questioned whether the movie was released in 3D. While the IMAX version has 30 minutes specifically shot for the format, it's not special enough from the regular 3D version. IMAX does have the better resolution and consequently it had better 3D effects. So if you must see Star Trek Into Darkness in 3D choose IMAX. Otherwise choose the 2D version.

Star Trek Into Darkness is an exciting, funny, smart film. The best compliment I can give to any Star Trek production is that they made Star Trek. In Star Trek Into Darkness, they made Star Trek. The grade is A.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Stephen Colbert's Threat Down looks at Gay Marriage, online Viagra, and addicted bears

Last night, Stephen Colbert did another Threat Down piece where he "freaks" out as a fake conservative over news items. In his piece, he covers gay marriage, online Viagra and junkie bears. Check it out. Funny stuff.

Stephen Colbert takes on the Benghazi "scandal"

Okay, Fox News has been trying to make the tragic attacks on American consulates in Benghazi to be a new Watergate. Yep, they really hate President Obama. Well, after last weeks's inert congressional hearings on Benghazi, Stephen Colbert takes a look at the all the fuss. And by the way Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) acts of terror are the same as terrorist attacks. Yeesh. And Happy Birthday Stephen Colbert!

Stephen Colbert takes on the IRS scandal

Okay, it's wrong for the IRS to single out conservative groups for special treatment when it comes to applying for tax exempt status. But Stephen Colbert takes a look at it and explains it is more complicated than it looks. Check out his funny piece.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Reds' Brandon Phillips fantastic double play

Did you see this Cinicnnati Reds highlight? Against the Milwaukee Brewers in the seventh, the Reds were clinging to a 3-2 lead. There were two on for the Brewers at first and second. A Brewer hits the ball up the middle towards second base. Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips grabs the ball with a bare hand and starts to fall on second. He steps on second and flings the ball across his body for an inning ending double play. Look you have to watch the astounding video below. He also blasted a home run in the bottom of the inning to give the Reds four runs. By the way the Reds ended up winning the game, 4-3.

I've been following Brandon Phillips since he came to the Reds in 2006. He's been making great plays in the field every month. I will say he's the best fielding second baseman the Reds have ever had. Yes, Hall of Famer Joe Morgan was great at second base but he didn't have the range that Phillips does. My favorite Phillips fielding play happened in 2007 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He races into right field to field a single and whips around. He throws a strike to the catcher for the final out at home plate. Reds win. Watch Brandon Phillips regularly and you will get a great play every month.

Stephen Colbert on "Promposals"

Okay, this goes to the "you've got to be kidding" category. It's prom season and there's a trend for teenagers to hire event planners to help them to figure out how to ask your date to the prom. Really? Some of the charges for the plan, cost more than the freaking prom! Stephen Colbert looks at this trend and gets poet Robert Pinsky to deliver his "promposal." Funny satire.

Happy Mother's Day from Saturday Night Live

It's Mother's Day. So Happy Mother's Day. Here's a funny Saturday Night Live take off on the those flower ads with a funny dig at family.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Stephen Colbert looks at the Bullet Conspiracy

There's a NRA Convention in Houston, Texas. And there's a Bullet Conspiracy as the Department of Homeland Security has bought 1.6 rounds of ammunition. Fodder for the far right and comic fodder for my favorite satirist Stephen Colbert.

The Daily Show on the NRA 2013 Convention

Jon Stewart of the Daily Show takes on the 2012 NRA Convention. Those right-wingers in the NRA are one group of paranoid nuts and unintentionally funny.

The plot twist to Iron Man 3 sucks

The plot twist in Iron Man 3 is a travesty to the legend of Iron Man. Any fan of Iron Man comics or superheroes in general should be appalled at their treatment by Iron Man 3. The plot twist takes place after about two thirds of the movie has run. I've complained about the tone of the movie and have judged this movie with a negative review. Recently, I've noticed the positive reviews of Iron Man 3 and a defense of the plot twist. I don't want to put down fellow critics but their rationale makes me ask whether if they have ever been a fan of a comic book, or had any knowledge of the Iron Man story. I'm so surprised by the positive reaction that a feeling of paranoia creeps in. I mean were these writers paid by Disney? Okay, there's no proof of that but that's how stunned I feel.

So let's discus the plot twist in Iron Man 3 and go over why it stinks. Major spoilers ahead. So you've been warned.


Before I discuss the plot twist to Iron Man 3, we need to go over some background information. The plot twist deals with the classic Iron Man villain, The Mandarin. Let's go to Wikipedia for a little history of The Mandarin. He was "born in China before the Communist revolution, to a wealthy Chinese father and an English aristocratic mother, both of whom died when he was very young. He is characterised as a megalomaniac, attempting to conquer the world on several occasions, yet also possessing a strong sense of honor." He's also " portrayed as a genius scientist and a superhumanly skilled martial artist." "[H]s primary sources of power are ten power rings that he adapted from the alien technology of a crashed space ship. Each ring has a different power and is worn on a specific finger." So, this is one bad ass in the Iron Man mythos. As a kid, I wasn't the biggest Iron Man fan but I thought he was cool. And part of being a cool superhero is also the adversaries she or he would face. They had to be as cool as the superhero or else we couldn't take the superhero seriously.

So what is the plot twist in Iron Man 3? The Mandarin (pictured ) is not a bad ass villain and terrorist. Nope. He's an actor named Trevor Slattery. (Ben Kingsley) You see the real bad guy is Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) who is using him like a puppet to manipulate the public into buying his biologically created super-soldiers. So what is the problem you ask? Slattery is a beer guzzling drunkard who has a penchant for prostitutes. We meet him coming out of the bathroom warning his hooker friends about the smell he created. Yes, The Mandarin is played for comedy. Not very legendary is it?

By portraying The Mandarin, one of Iron Man's greatest nemesis, as a clown, trashes the mythos of Iron Man. I admitted that I laughed when Slattery is on the screen then I groaned every time. It's as if in The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader says to Luke, "I am your father" and then removes his helmet to reveal the face of Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman. We can no longer take the movie or Iron Man seriously anymore.

Look, I'm for complex villains and will support surprises about them if the story is making sense. For example, in Spider-Man 2 (2004), one of the best superhero movies of all time, villain Dr. Octavius is a good man searching to create energy for mankind. After an accident where mechanical arms influence him to become bad, he begins a career of crime. But at the end of the movie, he dies heroically saving the city because he remembers who he was. That's a surprise but one that makes sense. And it's not outside the realm of the comic books since he's been a tragic character. But taking a classic villain like The Mandarin and making him a clown turns the Iron Man movies into parody.

Film, comic book critics and the fawning media need to get some courage. Stop being afraid of Disney's big bad wolf media empire. Call Iron Man 3 for what it is. A sarcastic movie that spits in the face of Iron Man fans. They should join with fans of Iron Man and demand a reboot of the film franchise. This time take Iron Man's story seriously. In the meantime, fans should cling to the wonderful first Iron Man (2008) film and ignore the sequels.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Stephen Colbert goes over summer's movies and Ben Kingsley interview.

Hooray for Hollywood. Stephen Colbert takes on this summer's tentpole movies in his segment, "Movies That Are Destroying America." Got to love PC folks at Disney and Marvel for changing the bad guy's name Mandarin for its Chinese version. The new name? Man Daren. Also included is an interview of Ben Kingsley. I'll be frank. I've slammed Iron Man 3 for its ludicrous plot twist but at least Colbert makes talking about it really funny. Video below.

Why Iron Men fans should protest Iron Man 3

Look, I've seen Iron Man 3 and am kind of pissed off at it. If you're an Iron Man fan and haven't seen Iron Man 3, let me give you a heads up. There's a plot twist in the last third of the movie that should have you throwing your popcorn at the screen. And there are other major things wrong with this movie that should have any fan of the comic book or fan of any comic book, reaching for his repulsor ray looking to fire at director-writer Shane Black. I've reviewed this movie without spoilers but I can't complain about the film without disclosing them so don't read if you don't want to know anything about this movie should you see it.


1. The 3D conversion. This film was a 3D conversion from 2D. Remember that the process is like making a cinematic pop up book. It's too dark. Case in point, the scene where gunships attack Tony Stark's house. It's so dark you have a hard time telling what's happening. Additionally there's no pop or depth. Nothing special here. It's not worth your extra bucks, it's just a cash grab by Marvel and Disney.

2. The sarcastic tone. Yeah, I know Tony Stark is a sarcastic man. But this movie takes that attitude and makes it the tone of the movie. It makes the audience feel like the story is one big joke. There's a couple of scenes that show this.

The TV van scene. Stark is in a TV news van. He meets the engineer who's a big fan of Tony Stark. The scene has jokes about the engineer's fawning love for Stark who has a tattoo of Stark on his arm. I hope this is not a metaphor because if feels like a shot at fans of comic books.

Iron Man saves Air Force One passengers. This starts out to be a great scene in a superhero movie. I mean Stark as Iron Man flies up to Air Force One and saves a group of passengers who have been flung out of the plane. After Iron Man drops them safely in the water, he flies into a truck. The truck destroys Iron Man. Nope. It's Iron Man's suit. You see Stark was operating the suit remotely. Ha, ha. What could have been a great heroic moment for Iron Man turns out to be another joke.

3. The Identity of The Mandarin. First, a little background before we discuss the true identity of The Mandarin. According to Wikipedia, The Mandarin is the "archenemy of Iron Man" and is "a genius scientist and a superhumanly skilled martial artist." "He is characterized as a megalomaniac, attempting to conquer the world on several occasions, yet also possessing a strong sense of honor." Wikipedia article on The Mandarin. So there's a legacy to this character. If you love comic books, you respect this antagonist.

In the movie, Iron Man 3, the Mandarin is an actor Trevor Slattery. (Ben Kingsley) You see Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is using him to play a terrorist so he can coerce governments to hire him to make super soldiers to fight him. So what's the problem? In the movie, Slattery is portrayed as a beer guzzling drunkard with a penchant for prostitutes. He's a buffoon. That's not the legendary villain portrayed in the comics.

Iron Man 3 takes a beloved bad guy and trashes him. It's like taking Darth Vader and making him to be really a clown under the helmet. Look, I like bold and complex story telling as much as the next guy. But it has to be sincere. The Iron Man franchise is not comedy. And when you take a character that fans have loved for years and make him into parody, you spit in the face of your fans.

One wonders if this change of The Mandarin has anything to do with the movie market. It's huge. For China, the character's name of The Mandarin has been translated as Man Daren. Huh? Could that be so Disney and Marvel don't upset the Chinese? I hope not.

It's clear that the Iron Man franchise needs a reboot. The next time, make a film with a serious Mandarin. In the meantime, just watch the great 2008 film and ignore the last two movies.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Iron Man 3 3D review

Iron Man 3's director and writer Shane Black has worked with the star of the movie, Robert Downey Jr., before. The film was called Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. (2005) That movie was a modern film noir with a sarcastic take on Hollywood filmmaking. And you get a similar snarky vibe on the Iron Man mythos with Black's screenplay co-written by Drew Pearce.

Iron Man 3 takes place after the events in The Avengers. (2012) Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Tony Stark) is having trouble adjusting after the battle of New York with the aliens. Stark is more involved with his Iron Man suits than running his company which he leaves to his lover Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) The problems that Stark is having is that he is suffering from anxiety attacks as a result of the New York battle. Meanwhile, the world is inflicted with horrible terrorist attacks ordered by a Bin Laden type villain in The Mandarin. (Ben Kingsley) When Stark's assistant and friend Happy Hogan (Jon Favreau) is seriously hurt by a Mandarin bombing, Stark announces that he will get him and begins his pursuit.

This movie has severe problems. First, we can't take Stark's anxiety attacks seriously because there's little in exposition to show it. Plus, Black's direction is tone deaf when it comes to depicting him. Stark is always confident. This dichotomy saps the dramatic energy from the first half hour of the film. Like Iron Man 2's (2010) party of the stars movie this one continues the trend of not taking the material seriously. There's a major plot twist which is so ludicrous that if you're a fan of the Iron Man comics, you might throw your popcorn at the screen. Then there's a scene where Iron Man does a heroic act only to have the result literally ripped apart by a plot surprise. Look, I'm for bold storytelling but when you take a beloved superhero, show contempt for him, you're going to devolve to camp.

It's hard to review the performances in this movie. That's because the screenplay is responsible for the sarcastic performances. Robert Downey Jr. is very snarky as Tony Stark. His character seems to have contempt for those who idolize him as demonstrated by a funny but sarcastic scene with a TV engineer who is also a Stark fan. If this is a metaphor for Iron Man fans then Black and company just slapped their audience. Gwyneth Paltrow as Potts is the only one who can be taken seriously here since her character was written without sarcasm. Ben Kingsley should stop playing villains. He's a great actor but you can't take him seriously in some of his bad guy roles. See A Sound of Thunder (2005) and Prince of Persia (2010). It's like he can detect the camp in the character. As the Mandarin, he lacks menace but has a tinge of camp.

Iron Man 3 is a 3D conversion from 2D. And it shows. It suffers from all the bad things about 3D conversion. First, the movie is too dark. Case in point, the scene where gunships attack Stark's home. It's too dark for all the debris thrown around the screen. Visual mud. I would bet a quatloo that Black was not thinking 3D when filming. There's no pop or depth. I can't think of a scene made me say "wow." If you're going to see Iron Man 3, watch it in 2D.

While Iron Man 3 is not boring, it's a major disappointment. The ridiculous plot twists and sarcastic tone sinks the movie. Stay through the credits for a funny end scene. The grade is C Plus.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Power of Alice Eve's Underwear

I'm a Trekker or Trekkie. In case you didn't know, that means fan of the science fiction franchise known as Star Trek. There's a new movie coming out on May 17 called Star Trek Into Darkness. And when the trailers came out, I watched them all. But there's a scene in one of the trailers that is creating controversy. The scene is of actress Alice Eve who plays Dr. Carol Marcus in her bikini underwear. Video below. It's caused some Trekkies to get their panties in a bunch. Why? You see some of the radical feminists and PC crowd are saying if you're a heterosexual man and you enjoy the image that you're a sexist who objectifies women. And they do that without even asking the man how he feels about women. That's a big paint brush and not very Star Trek which after all celebrates tolerance and open minds.

Look, the history of Star Trek is full of sexuality. And I mean for both sexes. You start with the original series to the last TV series, Enterprise to the 2009 Star Trek movie. You go from the original series with women in sexy outfits like Andrea (Sherry Jackson) in "What are Little Girls Made Of?" to smearing decontamination gel on a nude T'Pol's (Jolene Blalock) body in Enterprise. Of course, women get their share of eye candy too. In the original series, Kirk always had his shirt ripped or it was removed. So much so that it was a joke in the Star Trek parody Galaxy Quest. (1999)

But why all the sexuality? Let's not be naïve. Some of it is to draw a young male audience. However, Star Trek has always been about the human condition. And sexuality for better or worse is part of being human. We're created by sex. It's pleasurable. It's an act that can define feelings of love and affection. It's a driving force in human behavior. Yes, there are negatives also. Nonconsenual sex and deviant forms are immoral. But consensual sex between two adults can be beautiful. And let's face it. Heterosexual men are attracted to images of beautiful women. Does that make them sexist? Not all of them. I mean you would have to examine each man to determine his feelings about women. Some me will come off as objectifiers while others will have respect for women. You can't take a brush and paint all men who love the image of Alice Eve in her underwear or bikini as sexist or objectifiers.

I find the image of Alice Eve to be beautiful. Sue me. But before you label me, ask me how I feel about women. If you read this blog you know I support women's rights. I support the Lilly Ledbetter act, a woman's right to equal pay for equal work. I support a women's right to choose. I want government out of a women's body. I was appalled by Virginia's attempt to force pregnant women seeking abortions to have trans-vaginal ultrasounds. I believe that we will soon have a woman president and support the idea that women can do the same jobs that are dominated by men. But do I see Alice Eve as an object? No. She's a human being with emotions and aspirations. So don't take that brush and label me.

There's power in Alice Eve's underwear. Its' the power of sex. It's the power of a woman.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jon Stewart skewers the Bush Library

Look, I think George W. Bush was the worst president in American history. The Iraq War, handling Hurricane Katrina, the 2008 financial crisis, etc. So just recently he opened up a presidential library. Oy.

Thank goodness for Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. They examine how a place can celebrate the worst president in history. And you'll laugh with pain at the exhibit that asks whether you should go to war in Iraq.