Tag Archives: Ro-Bot

100 ReeEEeeally SpoOOooOOOooky Things

You sigh.  At last October: Month of Spooks is over.  You no longer have to worry about SpoOOooOOOOooky things.  Then that all too familiar tinkling of bells sounds.  Echoing footsteps. And somewhere a child laughs at the misery of mankind.  The Month of Spooks isn’t over just yet…

  1. Ghosts without a face
  2. Insect broods
  3. Teddy Bears and their cold, lifeless eyes
  4. Eyeballs wearing hats
  5. Laughing severed heads
  6. Dancing Skeletons!
  7. The Wakeful Dead
  8. Ghouls that feast on flesh in the lands of wind
  9. A murdering crow
  10. Eyeballs wearing bow ties
  11. The Hollow Man, The Stuffed Man, Leant together, headpiece filled with straw.
  12. Bubbling Cauldrons!
  13. You’re not a good person and you live off of misery.
  14. Voodoo curses
  15. The Ancient Unknowables
  16. Goat Eyes
  17. Horse Smiles
  18. Sleepwalking Murderers!
  19. Shadows on the wall
  20. Shadows of the Mind
  21. Hands within hands within hands within claws
  22. Giant Centipedes
  23. Bleeding Baseball bats
  24. Monsters of Clay!
  25. Eyeballs with stringy hair
  26. No matter how many friends you have or how big your family is you are doomed to wander this Earth and die alone.
  27. The Mirror World
  28. Echoing Footsteps
  29. Paintings of Children
  30. Frankenstein’s Monster: Frankenstein!
  31. Skinwalkers
  32. Skineaters
  33. Skinseers
  34. Skinsingers
  35. Skinskinners
  36. Blood-Sucking Vampires!
  37. Eyeballs wearing short pants
  38. Hamstracula
  39. We only tell ourselves that we’re getting more connected but in truth we’re only creating more walls around us.
  40. Veils of webs
  41. Encroaching dust
  42. Scuffling Mummies!
  43. Scabs (Both dried blood and strike breakers!)
  44. Warts
  45. Used Gauze
  46. Teeth with no mouth
  47. Men in suits singing in unison
  48. Magical Circus Freaks!
  49. Eyeballs wearing Hawaiian shirts
  50. The blurred line between man and beast
  51. Snickering Raccoons
  52. Man has permanently changed the geological and climate structure of the Earth for the worse and it is too late to change it back.
  53. The Man with Glowing Skin
  54. Giant Apes!
  55. Eyeballs who are also Fascist
  56. Cannibals
  57. Hive minds
  58. Civet Rinds
  59. Hatred
  60. Peter Lorre as: THE NAZI SCIENTIST!
  61. Eyeballs played by Robert Englund
  62. Underground laboratories
  63. Mind-altering potions
  64. Ancient curses inside new technologies
  65. Every human is on a path of self-destruction and there is no way around it.
  66. Wolfmen and Cat-women: Equal genders, Equal terrors!
  67. Lights from the sky
  68. Unknown breathing
  69. Atomic-powered bone-crushers
  70. Crime scenes
  71. Irregular rhyme schemes
  72. MUTANT MONSTERS FROM MARS: The Alliterative Aliens that Attack Americans!
  73. Robobrain: the brain that is a robot
  74. Dead spacemen
  75. Black holes
  76. Eyeballs sticking out of comets
  77. Exploding suns
  78. The People who aren’t People
  79. Chauvinist pigs
  80. Xenophobic Xenomorphs
  81. The Disillusioned middle-class
  82. The Cynical youth
  83. The cyclical tongue-swallower
  84. Satanists! AAAAAH! SATANISTS!!!
  85. Eyeballs wearing robes
  86. The Cult of Dissociative Personalities
  87. Tranceful dancing
  88. Bleeding thumbnails
  89. Well-defined blood vessels
  90. The Terror from Within
  91. We are like automobiles: Built to break
  92. Vengeance Ghosts
  93. Skipping Video
  94. Parasitic Worms
  95. Spiders in the Brain
  96. The Teen-age Sex Slasher: Sleep and You DIE!!!
  97. Eyeballs with Eyeballs with Eyeballs
  98. The Shadow at the edge of your field of view.
  99. The Nightmare you can’t remember
  100. Shrek 5: Still Shreking

100 Cop Shows

There is no limit to what can be turned into a police procedural now, from Sleepy Hollow to Minority Report to an upcoming Oliver Twist procedural series, and that’s not even going into Dick Wolf’s ever-expanding Chicago universe.  So I’ve taken the liberty of writing up 100 episodes (exactly enough to go into syndication!) of my own Cop Show.  You’re welcome, CBS.

  1. Alan Smirk is a loose cannon who gets the job done in his own way, and Douglas Gambull is a cop who obeys all the rules.  Their worlds collide when Captain Louis Stevenson of the NYPD ask them to become partners!  Will these two be able to reconcile their differences and capture a Jewel Thief?
  2. Yes they will.
  3. Gambull and Smirk attempt to diffuse a hostage situation where one of the hostages… IS GAMBULL’S DAUGHTER! Will they succeed?  Will Gambull be able to tell his daughter that he’s sorry for not coming to her ballet performance last night because he was too busy filing papers? Again: Yes. Yes they will.
  4. Leo “The War Piece” Tolstoy, a notorious criminal and mob boss, goes head-to-head with Gambull and Smirk when their on the case of a murdered shop-owner who refused to pay protection money.  Tolstoy avoids getting into jail this time, but Smirk makes a vow to catch him one of these days.
  5. Captain Stevenson has to work with his least favorite person in the world: Fire Commissioner Oliver Stevenson, his half-brother, when a serial arsonist’s attacks turn deadly.  Gambull and Smirk are put on the case, but they better not screw it up or it’s the Captain’s ass on the line!
  6. Incriminating evidence has been taken from police lockup, and Smirk is the prime suspect!  SPOILER ALERT: It wasn’t Smirk.
  7. Smirk may have just had his heart stolen when he tracks down Victoria Smiles, a beautiful con artist who’s newest mark is guest star famous restauranteur Guy Fieri. It looks like this will be a case that’ll take a “Big Bite” out of New York!  Because Guy Fieri has a show called “Guy’s Big Bite”. It’s about burgers?  Yeah, it’s probably about burgers.
  8. Gambull and Smirk are shocked when Captain Stevenson is implicated in planting a gun on a black man shot dead, specifically because the dead man was Gambull’s childhood friend.  Also, Gambull is black.  We should have said that before.  But when new evidence surfaces, Gambull finds out that maybe he didn’t know his friend as well as he though.  And when even more new evidence surfaces, Gambull and Smirk realize that they don’t know Captain Stevenson as well as they thought. And when even MORE new evidence surfaces Gambull and Smirk realize that maybe they don’t even know… THEMSELVES.
  9. Gambull and Smirk have to protect a Russian Diplomat who’s head is marked for DEATH.
  10. Gambull and Smirk have to solve a case where the prime suspect… IS A TALKING DOG!
  11. Gambull and Smirk run into Smiles again, only this time she claims to be the next victim of dreaded Laserdisc Killer who leaves a single Laserdisc clue at all of his crime scenes.  Though the Laserdisc killer hasn’t been seen since 2001 and was presumably caught and sitting on a life sentence in Sing Sing.  Smirk, Smiles, and Gambull race against the clock to figure out this puzzle and save a potentially innocent life!
  12. Gambull and Smirk search for a murderer at one of Gambull’s daughter’s dance performances.
  13. Gambull and Smirk sort out fact from science fiction when they go to a robotics convention to look for a terrorist.
  14. Gambull and Smirk realize that there may just be more to New York state senator Mike Reinald than meets the eye.  One of those things is that he’s a murderer.  Another one is that he hates the New York Yankees.
  15. Tables are turned when Gambull becomes obsessed with tracking down the person who shot and killed his wife, so obsessed that he doesn’t even file the correct “obsessed cop” paperwork!  Smirk has to tighten up his own cannon to keep Gambull from going over the edge.  SURPRISE TWIST: GAMBULL’S WIFE WAS NEVER SHOT!
  16. Gambull and Smirk have to rely on the help of an eccentric IT worker when a hacker threatens to shut down New York City’s power grid!
  17. “The War Piece” returns!  This time Tolstoy’s been running an illegal boxing ring, and the worst part is that it looks like Captain Stevenson might just be involved!
  18. A death at a steel mill causes Smirk to go undercover!
  19. Gambull and Smirk think that a well-known newspaper journalist’s death by jumping from the Brooklyn Bridge may not have been an accident!  You’ll never guess, though, who the evidence points to being the murderer!
  20. Captain Louis Stevenson was the murderer from the last episode. He sets the entire NYPD against Gambull and Smirk as they try and prove it.
  21. In the thrilling conclusion to the two-part season finale, Gambull and Smirk go up against the two foes who have been secretly pulling their strings all this time: Stevenson and Tolstoy!  But the deeper our two cop friends go the more they realize that Stevenson and Tolstoy were only the lackeys for the true criminal mastermind: returning guest star famous restauranteur Guy Fieri!
  22. As Season 2 premiers and the dust from Season one clears, Gambull and Smirk have quit the NYPD and moved to the sunny shores of Los Angeles to become private eyes!  Their past immediately comes back to haunt them when the DVD Slayer, son of the deadly Laserdisc Killer, returns and is out for blood against his old foes: Gambull and Smirk.  Will they be able to catch the DVD Slayer this time?  Will their past as gritty New York cops keep coming back to haunt them?  Has Guy Fieri’s reign of terror truly ended?  Will Gambull be able to live without doing paperwork?
  23. Mostly no.  Except that their past as gritty New York cops will continuously come back to haunt them.
  24. What at first seems like just another string of race-related murders becomes something much more deadly when Gambull and Smirk team up with a helicopter pilot to solve… THE CASE OF THE BIRDS EYE.
  25. Detective Guitierrez of the LAPD comes to Gambull and Smirk for their help: He’s afraid that a corrupt cop may be about to incite another round of race riots at a fundraising ice cream social, and that corrupt cop has a familiar name: Stevenson!  SPOILER ALERT: Stevenson is guilty, but of no relation to the former Police Captain Louis Stevenson.  Gambull and Smirk have to learn that people can have the same last name.
  26. Gambull and Smirk find out just how strange the world is when their prime suspect has been dead for 50 years!
  27. Fact becomes fiction when Gambull and Smirk go to the set of CORRUPT, a movie based on their adventures last year to find out that the actor who is playing Captain Stevenson has been shot dead, and all evidence points to Smirk!
  28. Gambull and Smirk investigate a string of robberies at a Hollywood Hotel, only to run into a familiar face: Victoria Smiles!
  29. The owner of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is shot down in a drive-by shooting.  As Gambull and Smirk Dive in, they realize that this may be the fiery work of their deadliest foe: Returning guest star famed restauranteur Guy Fieri!
  30. Gambull and Smirk head out to Martha’s Vineyard for a weekend of wine… AND MURDER.
  31. Gambull and Smirk go see a movie at Mann’s Chinese Theater for a night of silver screens… AND SILVER SCREAMS.
  32. Detective Guitierrez comes to Gambull and Smirk for help in tracking down a group of bank robbers before they rob a shipment of Iranian gold and incite international conflict!
  33. Smirk wakes up to a terrifying discovery: A DVD.  He thinks this could only be the work of the DVD Slayer, Gambull thinks he’s overreacting.  Will this break up our dynamic duo? No. Will the DVD Slayer return? Yes.
  34. Smirk has to face his overwhelming fear of Dinosaurs when a body is found at the LaBrea Tar Pits.
  35. A former cop is killed after he eats an avocado, and Gambull and Smirk are put on… THE CASE OF THE HASS-LER!
  36. Hank David “The Walden of West Los Angeles” Thoreau, a notorious LA gangster, has his sights put on Gambull and Smirk after he is released from prison.  The reason? HE’S THE COUSIN OF LEO “THE WAR PIECE” TOLSTOY!
  37. While hiding out from “The Walden of West Los Angeles”, Gambull and Smirk recount their favorite memories of working together.
  38. Detective Guitierrez needs Gambull and Smirk’s help in tracking down a magician who’s disappearing act seems real!
  39. As temperatures rise so do racial tensions in LA as a death ignites hatred against a poor Latino family on the outskirts of Santa Monica.  Evidence points to Luis, the youngest, but Gambull knows for a fact that Luis is innocent as he was playing basketball with him at the time and also he knows that Luis is a good kid!  Also also, Gambull is Latino.  that should have been said earlier.  Anyhoo, it turns out the mayor of LA is corrupt.
  40. An investigation into a birthday party where all the guests were beaten to death leads Gambull and Smirk to think that the crime may have been drug-related, and you’ll never guess WHO is the leader of the drug ring.  SPOILER ALERT: It’s returning guest star famed restauranteur Guy Fieri!
  41. Guy Fieri’s Burger Bombs have been set all around LA, and Gambull, Smirk, and Guitierrez have to race against the clock to make sure they don’t explode!  Meanwhile, Fieri has nefarious plans for that empty LA Mayor’s seat.
  42. Gambull and Smirk have to protect mayor-elect former Detective Guitierrez from being assassinated by none other than Hank David “The Walden of West Los Angeles” Thoreau (which would, by LA law, mean that he’d take over as Mayor).  Meanwhile, Victoria Smiles gets in over her head trying to implicate Guy Fieri in conspiracy to commit murder.  As this season draws to a close, you’ll never guess who dies in the action!  Spoiler Alert: It’s Gambull!
  43. Season 3 begins with Smirk at his most loose-canon-y as he’s on the war path to track down Guy Fieri across the US.  Gambull is dead… or so he thinks!  In truth, Gambull’s body was sent to a secret NASA facility in Miami where his brain is being put into a ROBOT!  Smirk finds this out and meets up with his old partner in Miami, where they join the Miami Experimental Crimes Unit!
  44. Uh Oh Spaghetti-O!  The DVD slayer is back! Gambul1 uses his new-found robot vision to look into the DVD code to try and catch the slayer before he kills his next victim,  but will he get too far into the Slayer’s head only to become the next DVD Slayer?  No. No he won’t.
  45. G4mbull sees a murder take place with his x-ray eyes, but no one believes him when the victim is seen walking around unharmed the next day!  Could G4mbull’s new robot brain be fallible, or is there a crazy conspiracy at foot?
  46. 6ambull, Smirk, and the people at MECU go up against their greatest foe yet: A super-intelligent dolphin who’s trained to kill!
  47. A hot Miami nightclub gets even hotter when it’s burnt down.  Gamb0ll and Smirk are shocked to learn that the nightclub’s owner was MECU head Shellonius Monk’s Brother!  Now- more than ever- they have to track down the arsonist!
  48. Gam8ull is rushed to MECU with a nail in his eye!  While Gerhardt the Robot Scientist works on repairs, Smirk and Monk look at the video footage of the past day when a worker at the Villa Vicaya was found murdered with a nail gun!
  49. The Miami Dolphins need the help of MECU, as it seems like their best players are getting murdered one-by-one by a crazed Atlanta Falcons fan!  It’s a good thing Gambu11’s a robot, because otherwise this could end up bad!
  50. G4mbu1l and Smirk rush back to where this all started: New York, when their old, corrupt Police captain Louis Stevenson is let out of prison early!  Stevenson’s got his sights on getting revenge against G4mbu1l and Smirk, and he’s got a secret weapon to help him out: a prototype police robot that issues the death penalty… FOR EVERYTHING!
  51. The thrilling conclusion to the return to New York!  Robots fighting Robots!  People fighting People!  The New York Knicks playing the Miami Heat! That’s right: NOW IT’S PERSONAL!
  52. 6a3bull realizes that being a robot is really hard when his body is taken over by a hacker and forced to rob a bank!  Smirk and the rest of MECU have to out-hack the hacker or else Smirk will have to kill his best friend!
  53. Gam80ll and Smirk’s vacation in the Everglades turns deadly when they have to track down an evil oil baron who’s trying to build an illegal oil rig!
  54. Gamb011 and Smirk have to figure out truth from fiction when a string of murders take place in real life that are shockingly similar to those carried out in a video game!
  55. The DVD Slayer walks into MECU: We have to work together, there’s a DVD Copy killer out there!  6am8u1l and Smrik, along with tech genius Gerhardt, look through the past few days and realize it’s true: There’s a Copy Killer on the loose!
  56. G43b0ll and Smirk are put on duty safeguarding punk rocker Jimmy Stabbbs, who is the star witness for the prosecution in the trial of notorious Miami gangster Walt “The Shepard” Raleigh who has put a hit on Stabbbs’ head.
  57. Smirk has to solve a case alone when an evil Building inspector locks the rest of the MECU team inside the Spacedome while 6a3b0ll is having his brain re-nutrialized.
  58. 643bul1 and Smirk are going to Disneyworld!  Only this isn’t for fun, it’s to solve… A MURDER!
  59. Gam8011 and Smirk have to dive into the weird world of competitive MMORPGs when computer genius of MECU Gerhardt goes missing.
  60. G4m8011’s computer brain starts to put together some odd puzzle pieces that never quite fit: The DVD Copy killer, evil dolphins, The Miami Heat playing in New York when they should have had a home game that day.  All evidence points to a singular mastermind at work: Famed restauranteur Guy Fieri!
  61. With Guy Fieri in town for a Famous Restauranteur Conference, Smirk sees his chance to finally take revenge against the gruesome griller.  But 64m8011 thinks otherwise, especially when he’s visited by a mysterious source with ties to the Restauranteur underground: Guest Star Alton Brown!
  62. A Restaurant Conspiracy is unveiled: by working with the Sovereign Dolphin nation and the Secret Evil Government of Cuba, restaurants will take over the US and trap everyone in a soviet hell!  It’s up to G438011, Smirk, Victoria Smiles, and our friends at MECU to stop this from becoming a terrifying reality!
  63. Guest Star Alton Brown leads the march against Guy Fieri and his evil Pastabots as 6438011, Smirk, Smiles, and MECU race to solve a series of nefarious puzzles, or else risk Miami falling into the sea! You’ll never guess how the season ends, so I’ll tell you: Smirk is shot! BY 6438011!
  64. 6438011 is recommissioned for a new assignment: Search for the twisted mastermind who left a newborn baby in duffel bag!  Meanwhile, returning guest star famed restauranteur Guy Fieri begins to plot his escape from Guantanamo Bay, and Smirk wakes up in a University of Chicago laboratory where they’ve done the seemingly impossible: Bring back both Smirk and Smiles… only now they’re the same person!  That’s right, now 6438011 has to figure out how to work with his new partner who’s a woman! Can this robot figure out how to make it work?
  65. Yes. Yes it can. It is a robot. It can do literally anything.
  66. An old case becomes shockingly relevant as the DVD Slayer is transferred to the Cook County Jail as per the request of his kindly old Grandfather.  Only this Grandfather may in fact be Chicago’s most ruthless of unsolved killers: The Betamax Basher!
  67. 6438011 and the new Victoria Smirk adjust to their new life in Chicago as they’re once again gritty street cops, and also as they’re now roommates! They’re about to find that the only thing worse than Chicago crime, is living together!  Also Chicago traffic in festival season is God awful. It’s just terrible.
  68. Victoria Smirk has to put her new life to the test when she gets a new assignment: In the Chicago Vice department!  It’s here where she first meets the next in a long line of dastardly gangsters: Eddy “King of the Urban Jungle” Burroughs.  Meanwhile, 6438011 find out the hard streets of Chicago are even harder for a NASA robot.
  69. 6438011 and Smirk’s worlds collide when they encounter… MURDER AT THE BEAN.
  70. The King of the Urban Jungle is trying to spread his gang business into another Chicago Gangster’s territory.  Burroughs sends his best hitman to take out this rival gang, along with none other than Victoria Smirk!  Meanwhile, 6438011 tries to remember what a hot dog is.
  71. Tech Genius Gerhardt from MECU moves to Chicago to join the elite crime force, and just in time too because 6438011 has run out of batteries WHILE PURSUING A KILLER!
  72.  6438011 is away testifying in court, and so Gritty Chicago Police Chief Stephano Roix asks for Smirk and Gerhardt to team up with his best cop, a gritty Chicago street kid named U, to track down a group of thieves who stole $40K worth of gold and are on their way to the National Bank of China- Chicago Branch! Then things get weird.  U finds a dead clown, which Gerhardt is able to identify.  Meanwhile, Roix finds out that all of the thieves have been killed except for one who Smirk takes into protective custody.  Using the fingerprints of the dead clown, U is able to find the gold.  Only Gerhardt then realizes that it’s not gold they’ve found… BUT CHOCOLATE!  Eventually they solve the crime, and 6438011 comes back to a round of applause.
  73. 6438011 and Smirk are on one of their few days off when they get trapped inside a haunted house and have to solve a decades old murder, or else become victims themselves!
  74. Gerhardt, doing routine maintenance on 6438011, mistakenly erases all of 6438011’s memory!  To make matters worse, old foe Louis Stevenson is in Chicago and out for blood- literally!
  75. A casual day of gang activity at the aquarium turns deadly when Smirk comes face to face with THE DOLPHIN!
  76. Special Guest Star Rahm Emanuel asks to the Elite Crime Unit’s help when he gives a speech at the University of Chicago.  Things turn deadly, though, when Emanuel is struck with a deadly virus that could spread through Chicago like a fire, and Gerhardt and Doctor Cassandra Frankenstein race to find a cure.  Oh, Gerhardt’s been having a romantic subplot this whole time.  He and Dr. Frankenstein kiss at the end of the episode. Spoiler alert.
  77. It’s a triple format threat when the Laserdisc Killer, the DVD Slayer, and the Betamax Basher all escape from prison, join forces, and attack their two greatest foes: 6438011 and Smirk.  Only one group will survive the night, and it’ll probably be the series’ protagonists!
  78. Smirk finds herself trapped on a boat in the middle of Lake Michigan with Eddy “King of the Urban Jungle” Burroughs, and what’s worse: She’s starting to think that maybe he’s not evil! Meanwhile, 6438011 tries to remember what pizza is.
  79. A murder occurs where you’d least suspect it: at an active crime scene!  What’s worse? SMIRK’S FINGERPRINTS ARE EVERYWHERE!  Has Smirk turned to the dark side?  Has 6438011 completely lost its humanity?  Will Gerhardt and Frankenstein be Chicago’s newest “it” couple? WHAT’S INSIDE GRITTY POLICE CHIEF ROIX’S DESK?! These questions will be answered…
  80. But not in this episode!  Here, The life of Gerhardt’s mentor and brilliant computer person Toby Turring hangs in the balance when the heart he needs for a transplant is stolen!  Putting everything on hold, they track down the heart.  It turns out it was satanists!
  81. 6438011 confronts Smirk about the fingerprints, and it turns out that Smirk may have turned to the dark side, but that she didn’t kill the person.  Instead her hands were used for latex casts.  Gerhardt tells 6438011 the terrible truth: It is no longer human, and basically just a toaster that solves crimes.  643 would cry if it had emotions. Frankenstein talks to Gerhardt: They are so madly in love that Chicago has awarded them the honor of being the “it” couple.  They now have keys to the city.  Using these keys to the city, they break into Gritty Police Chief Roix’s desk and find a conspiracy that goes straight to the source: The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair!
  82. Smirk is faced with a difficult choice: Get promoted from Vice and become a gritty Chicago detective, or get promoted in the gang world and become The Queen of the Urban Jungle.  Meanwhile, 643 meets a nice chess-playing robot.
  83. 643 and Smirk race against time to stop the city’s water supply from being poisoned in… THE WATER TOWER CRISIS!
  84. A holiday party turns deadly when GPC Roix, Gerhardt, Frankenstein, Smirk, 643, and U get trapped in the Willis tower by The King of the Urban Jungle.  Meanwhile 643 gets a strange message… from returning guest star Alton Brown!  Could the restaurant conspiracy be afoot again?!
  85. In this cliffhanger of a season finale, Smirk reveals that she’s been working as a double agent for the past five episodes and has- indeed- turned to the dark side of crime.  GPC Roix reveals that all the trouble with Satanists and vampires and killer clowns all has one nefarious goal: To bring Chicago into Hell, and the reason he knows this? HE WAS GRANTED IMMORTALITY AT THE 1893 CHICAGO WORLD’S FAIR! Also, Gerhardt and Frankenstein have a fight!  Will they continue to be an “it” couple? Has smirk been lost to Crime?  Will she kill 643? Will 643 ever go into a swimming pool again? Will Hell come to Chicago?
  86. In order: Yes. No. Not really. Yes, and it’s a bad idea. Yes, but then they all fix it.
  87. The dust of THE CONFLUENCE fades.  Smirk has blood and oil on her hands and knows she has to redeem herself.  GPC Roix gave up his life to close the gates of Hell.  Gerhardt and Frankenstein are a really cute couple, even if they’re now a talking dog and an amorphous blob that shoots lasers out of her eyes (respectively).  643 is gone.  Oh, and to make matters worse? THEY’VE GONE BACK IN TIME!
  88. Smirk, Gerhardt, and Frankenstein investigate a murder-arson case while continuing to deal with the aftermath of 643’s death.  Oh, and who could this mysterious murderer-arsonist in 1803 Chicago be?  Why none other than the WAX CYLINDER STABBER who’s a distant relative of the Betamax Basher and, by extension, the DVD Slayer!  Will killing this murderer-arsonist alter the timeline?
  89. Yes, but our fearsome foursome doesn’t care.  Oh, and they’re a foursome now because 643 has returned as the ghost of a robot who insists on being called Doug.
  90. The Wild West is about to get a lot more wilder, as Doug, Smirk, Gerhardt, and Frankenstein find themselves involved in a train robbery!
  91. A killer in a small Swedish village in 1974 gets the attention of The Time Brigade in their Foreversphere.  While investigating, Gerhardt realizes that the killer’s next victim could be… HIS MOTHER!
  92. The Foreversphere gets invaded by a swarm of Time-Bees, which bring out the best and worst memories of all members of the Time Brigade.
  93. 1968: New York City. On these mean streets a killer walks, taking whatever he wants and blowing up buildings.  It’s up to Doug and Smirk (Gerhardt and Frankenstein are off on their honeymoon) to catch this monster before it’s too late.  But do these gritty New York Cops turned Los Angeles Private Investigators turned Miami Special Ops turned gritty Chicago cops turned Time warriors have what it takes to investigate on the gritty streets of New York?  Yes. They do. They now travel through time, finding a killer is remarkably easy for them to do.
  94. Trapped together in a Grain elevator, Smirk apologizes to Doug for getting him killed all those times. And for betraying everyone to a crazed gangster.
  95. Gerhardt the Talking Dog is elected president in the future year 2042, or at least that’s what it seems like.  Only as Frankenstein, Smirk, and Doug investigate further they realize that this future may be more dire than they thought.  It’s more dire because of robot dolphins. They kill people and eat their skin.
  96. The Time Brigade find themselves trapped in a deadly torture maze in Ancient Rome and subjected to the mad whims of none other than Caligula!
  97. The Time Brigade find themselves in 2027, and what’s more they’re face-to-face with their older selves! Gerhardt and Frankenstein have gotten a divorce in this future, Smirk went to prison for her crimes but secretly works with the FBI, and Doug is the Sheriff of a small Virginia town where nothing ever happens until a string of bizarre murders with otherworldly ties rolls in.  Our heroes now must put aside their differences to solve the greatest mystery of all: Friendship. Oh, and at the end of the episode the Foreversphere crashes into Victorian England.
  98. With present Doug dead in the Future (who knew a Robot Ghost could be killed?) and Future Doug alive in the present which is actually the past, Gerhardt no longer being able to talk but just being a regular dog, and Frankenstein lost forever to the streams of time, it’s all up to Victoria Smirk to solve THE CASE OF THE FOGGY STRANGLER.
  99. Smirk and Future Doug- along with their new friend Sherlock Holmes- find themselves in a conundrum: They witness the beginnings of the restaurant conspiracy that has been a thorn in their sides for far too long.  What’s more?  The Cult of the Illeterati’s leader is none other than a distant relative of the DVD Slayer!  And you’ll never guess who’s in the center of all of this knotted mess of time-crime: Returning Guest Star Famous Restauranteur Guy Fieri!
  100. Hell. Time. Crime. Greed. Love. Friendship. Grit. Restaurants. Dolphins. Robots. It’s been one heck of a ride for our two detectives Gambull and Smirk.  But now it all comes to an end.  Now it’s the two of them up against Guy Fieri at the End/Beginning of the Universe.  SPOILER ALERT: Guy Fieri is reduced to simmering blob of hair product, for he can never truly be killed, and Doug decides to keep him as a pet alongside the dog Gerhardt.  Doug moves to Virginia where he settles in and continues in his timeline as a small-town sheriff in over his head.  As for Victoria Smirk? She’s having adventures with the love of her life: Sherlock Holmes in the new spinoff series: Baskerville.

An Unhelpful Guide to the 2015 Blockbusters

2015 is fast becoming the year of the colon, and this punctuational mark’s dominance will only grow in power this summer movie season until we need some kind of team of Punctuation-based superheroes to stop it from tearing the earth in two in order to make the world its colon.  Don’t worry, though, because the subtitle for 2016 is “Semicolon Rising”.

Enough of that, here’s how the colon will gain almost too much power for our team of intrepid heroes this year:

The Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

Tony Stark/ Iron Man makes a robot named “Ultron” but doesn’t think it will become evil. Uh oh, it does.  He calls upon his best friends Thor, Captain America, and Hulk to come and shut down the robot’s mainframe, but it’s too late: The robot has become the internet!  Now they have to team up with Hawkeye (not from M*A*S*H) and the Black Widow (also not from M*A*S*H) to stop this evil robot-internet. BUT OH NO, the evil internet has now taken over a military satellite in space and will soon be blasting a hole in the Earth!  “Shoot, if only I weren’t such a loveable jerk, then maybe I’d have more friends!”, says Tony Stark/ Iron Man. “Ooga Booga” says the Hulk.  This gives Tony Stark/ Iron Man a great idea, and he builds another robot to help stop the other robot that is the internet that is the military satellite and will soon be Skylab.  This robot is Vision. Also, there is a really Quick boy who likes silver and a Witch that’s not a witch but is Scarlet (not to be confused with Scarlett Johansson, because she’s Black Widow, which also shouldn’t be confused with the Green Lantern because the Green Lantern is from the wrong Comic Book universe) and the two of them help the robot become the internet but by the time the robot takes over the time machine they decide to join the Avengers to stop them and be heroes.  Also Samuel L. Jackson shows up with an eyepatch. Also the robot is the guy from the Blacklist. Poor Tony Stark/ Iron Man, this is the worst birthday ever.

Mad Max: Fury Road (May 15)

Max is a guy who’s really tired and just wants to get home and rest, but there’s SO MUCH TRAFFIC. “Ugh, I have so much fury because of this road!”, Max yells at his windshield. He decides to park his car and walk home, because the traffic is moving so slowly.  Well, White Skull, the emperor of the highway, doesn’t like this and decides to send out all of his minions to wear crazy outfits and yell at Max.  Max responds by yelling at them.  Eventually he meets a girl. They probably yell at eachother while White Skull’s minions come and yell at them.  The fury becomes so great, that Samuel L. Jackson wearing an eyepatch has to come in and say “OK, tone it down guys. You just wait 10 minutes. It’s not a big deal. Or you could invest in a monorail system and alleviate this problem while also helping out the environment. I mean, I don’t want to tell you what to do, but investing in clean public transportation really is the responsible thing to do.  OK, well I got to go stop this robot from taking over the ISS with my good friend Black Panther. See you”. Max responds to this by yelling and getting back into his car. He’ll never get home now.

Pitch Perfect 2 (May 15)

The sequel to the movie that introduced us to the “Cup Song”, Pitch Perfect 2 begins where the last movie ended: Auditions for the next school year with Anna Kendrick’s Beca leading The Bellas, an  a cappella group that’s involved in the gangland of competitive singing. Unfortunately for Beca and the Bellas, a nuclear blast goes off during the audition launching the world into an apocalypse.  Lucky for the Bellas, the only survivors are a cappella groups (including the one that only sings songs by Survivor).  Beca now has to unite her new society and try to stop raiders and singing mutants, and worse of all: Samuel L. Jackson wearing an eyepatch is too busy telling that killer robot who is now the Moon how he’d save money and help reverse climate change if he switched to wind and solar.  The robot has none of it, though, the robot wants to destroy the world because he’s evil because he was programmed by that jerk Tony Stark/ Iron Man.  Anyways, Beca finds a way to get the group united again and singing the Cup Song, and soon they unite the disparate singing tribes (including A Tribe Called Quest) through a mashup a cappella jam of Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”, “I Will Survive”, “Eternal Flame”, and “In Your Eyes” (in honor of her boyfriend Jesse who died saving her from a madman singing “Psycho Killer”). In the end, the moon is solar powered and the post-appocappellypse of the Earth is united through song.

Tomorrowland (May 22)

George Clooney is the king of imagination in this upcoming film by The Iron Giant director Brad Bird.  Clooney has to jetpack through a UNIVAC controlled city in order to stop the hit television show Lost from taking over reality, and in order to do so he has to team up with a plucky 20-something who was really into Lost.  Meanwhile the evil David Nix (Hugh Laurie), heir to the vile Nixon throne, has sided with the greatest evil Imaginationland, our world, and UNIVAC-City has ever known: The Blacklist robot who has now incorporated UNIVAC into his systems and has also taken over the imaginary Earth in this imaginary future.  With Samuel L. Jackson in an eyepatch no where to be found, Clooney must rely on his incredibly good looks to keep his magical teleporting imagination pin from falling into the hands of David Nix, because if Nix gets his hands on the imagination pin then he’ll use it to escape the land of imagination and bring forth 100 years of Nixon-darkness upon the world (It was assumed Richard Nixon died in 1994, but in fact he had been banished to the realm of imagination because he was planning on taking the White house by force from Clinton.  Clinton couldn’t allow that, as he had his own plans for the white house that factor into the creation of the UNIVAC jetpack city of the future and allocating fund to Tony Stark/ Iron Man so he can invent the evil Blacklist robot.  This is all explained in flashbacks with Hugh Laurie playing the elder Nixon as well, and Jeff Bridges giving a stirring performance as Clinton). In the end Nix is double crossed by the evil robot, but Clooney defeats everyone because he only watched the first season of Lost and couldn’t really get into it.

Insidious: Chapter 3 (June 5)

Before the spookiness of Insidious chapters 1 and 2 is the story of how a plucky 20-something psychic uses her powers to contact the underworld and save a teenager from being dragged down to an ultimate hell.  The teen, however, has a secret plan for the psychic, though, a plan that can only be described as… INSIDIOUS.  When the plucky psychic makes contact with the underworld (thanks to her sarcastic ghost friend The Man Who Can’t Breathe, played with gusto by Michael Reid MacKay), the teen forces the psychic’s soul to be taken over by a horrible trans-dimensional demon named Carl in exchange for not being targeted for possession and for her to go to prom with the most handsome boy in school.  Now stuck in hell, the psychic (who has only lost some of their pluck, but is able to maintain hope thanks to TMWCB) has to claw her way back to the world of the living by jumping into the body of a teen who is competing against the other teen for Prom Queen.  Carl- who is in the body of the psychic- then uses its evil demon-powers to give the evil teen mind control, and the psychic- who is in the body of a teenager- has to use her wit and psychic powers to win back the prom queen crown and her soul.  The big twist- SPOILER ALERT- comes at the end with the psychic, having banished Carl and the Evil teen to an extra-dimensional wasteland, finds herself trapped in the body of the teen she had to jump into in order to stop Carl who was in her body which is now lost forever.  And this teenager? Well she grows up to be THE BLACK WIDOW,  Avenger and assassin who helps to defeat the evil robot.  And the double-twist? THE ROBOT HAS BEEN WORKING FOR CARL ALL ALONG TO GAIN ACCESS TO THE INFINITY GAUNTLET AND GET REVENGE ON THE PSYCHIC FOR BANISHING HIM TO THE EXTRA-DIMENSIONAL WASTELAND.

Jurassic World (June 12)

SCIENCE? This question starts off young paleontologist Owen Grady on a quest to a remote island where dinosaurs walk and fly. This is Jurassic World. A hologram of park creator says “Welcome… TO JURASSIC [WORLD]” as you walk through the main doors and are greeted by a velociraptor with a clipboard . It screeches.  A translator around its neck, or perhaps just a robotic speaker, says “Please sign this liability contract saying that you will not hold Jurassic World parks and resort responsible for any injury or death acquired on the premises”.  Grady grudgingly agrees and is brought to the park owner: Judy, who (SPOILER ALERT) also happens to be the mother of the plucky 20-something in Tomorrowland (more on that later).  Judy is in a panic. “Owen, I know you and I haven’t seen eye-to-eye since Bangkok”, Judy Begins. “THEY WERE CHILDREN!” replies Owen with the fury of one thousand Samuel L. Jacksons wearing an eyepatch. “They wanted to ride a brontosaurus!  You KNOW the park wouldn’t have allowed that! But enough of the recent past, we need to talk about history. PRE-history”. Owen sombers up: No. No she couldn’t have.  After the events that set back the opening of the park 22 years ago? “You mean…”. “Yes, Owen, we created a dinosaur that combined the most terrible parts of all dinosaurs and now it is loose in the park and eating everyone and we need YOU to stop it”.  “But… WHY ME? I’m just a paleontologist from Ohio. I don’t know anything about hunting dinosaurs”.  “Because you have a long-standing employment contract with Jurassic World and its corporate subsidies which makes you the only person we can call”. Owen nods: “Okay. I’ll do it. But in exchange I want to ride a Brontosaurus”. Judy nods. “WITH, George Clooney”. Judy nods “That’s a given, Owen. Thank you“. “You can thank me after I’ve given you the disproportionally large head of this genetic dinosaur monstrosity. Adios, Judy, don’t let your corporate greed hit you on the way out”.  Owen then hops out the window and onto the back of a brontosaurus. He goes to fight dinosaurs.  Meanwhile, Judy smiles and calls her daughter.  “You can tell George that everything’s on track. We’ll get that prom crown even if it kills us… AGAIN”.

Inside Out (June 19)

Robots. Genetically modified dinosaurs. Superheroes. SO MUCH ANGER.  What is it like to live in a world like this?  What is like to live in a world of so much possibility and horror?  Inside Out takes us into the mind of Quinn Brenner, a plucky 20-something who has lived outside of Tommorrowland for most of her life and just got a decent job at the VHS tape factory.  However Quinn’s world is turned upside down (or should we say Inside Out) when she finds one of the magic teleporting pins and is thrown into our world.  She now has to navigate our world and get used to our customs, like: Why aren’t there large digital clocks showing countdowns everywhere?  What is “blu-ray”? Why aren’t there lens flares when I turn on the light?  As she goes through this, her inner world is in disarray when the embodiment of her Joy and her Sadness get sucked down a memory tube, and she’s only left with Fear, Anger, and Disgust.  That is, until a new emotion rises.  A dangerous emotion. One named Revenge.

The Transporter: Refueled (June 19)

Ed Skrien was just trying to take a truckload of Ben & Jerry’s to a corner store, but traffic became so terrible and everyone started yelling at eachother, and before he knew it he was running low on gas.  Skrien pulls into a gas station in the Outlands and watches as White Skull’s army of oddly dressed minions battle the Avengers who are also battling the horrible yellow monsters from the Despicable Me series.  The giant robotic eye that is the sun look down on Skrien, the gas meter slowly climbs up, and Skrien sighs.  At this point, he’ll never deliver this ice cream in time, and he may just have to eat it all!

Terminator: Genisys (July 1)

The Avengers failed. George Clooney Failed.  The Earth has been taken over by the evil Blacklist robot and its evil robot army, and it will soon be taking over the Milky Way.  There’s only one hope left.  Thanks to the hit television series Lost of centuries ago, a man named John Conner (Justin Clarke) builds a time machine and sends his best friend Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to stop all this horror and cross-universal terror from happening.  Reese travels back to 1904 in Sherman Texas.  Although he over shot his desired year (time travel is tricky that way), he’s still able to set in motion a plan that will hopefully stop the robot revolution and prepare the Avengers for this terror.  It begins with him marrying Lou Birchie Ayers, whom he met in the past first out of obligation but grew to love her, and changing his name to William Jefferson Blythe.  Eventually he and Lou have a child who they would name William Jefferson Blythe Jr.  Kyle gives Bill Jr. a set of instructions, beginning with getting a job in the motor pool during World War II and working on Project: Rebirth before the start of the war.  Here, Kyle tells Bill Jr. that he will meet a man who would become known as Captain America.  It would be important for Bill Jr. to speak to Captain America before April of 1945 and tell him that eventually he will meet someone named Tony Stark/ Iron man, and that no matter what happens Captain America has to stop Tony Stark/ Iron man from making a robot.  Reese, though, also begins several backup plans, mostly in the form of a package to be given to his grandchild in 1978.  That grandchild? William Jefferson Blythe III, also known as Bill Clinton.  In his package to Clinton, Reese outlines the creation of a new initiative called “The Avengers” which is to be headed by a plucky Samuel L. Jackson NOT wearing an eyepatch.  Again: It is important for Tony Stark/ Iron Man not to create a any robots.  Thus, when Tony Stark is shot down and nearly killed by shrapnel, Clinton was going to step in and attempt to stop him from ever creating the Iron Man suit.  This plan, however, is thrown off course when Richard Nixon tries to take over the White House with his secret army.  In the resulting chaos, Samuel L. Jackson gets his eye gouged out, Clinton is unable to stop Tony Stark from creating his first robot suit, and Nixon is banished into the realm of imagination.  Clinton and Fury hope that they can still stop the robot future they fear is coming, but could it be too late?  Jeff Bridges returns as Bill Clinton.

Minions (July 10)

The horrible yellow monsters from Despicable Me are back in their own horrible yellow movie.  Here, they gain access to the time machine from Terminator:Genisys and decide to pull a Time Bandits and go around through time ruining EVERYTHING.  They do this, because they are horrible yellow monsters.  Eventually, Tony Stark/Iron Man and The Avengers have to come in to stop them, as they no longer battling the robot because Bill Clinton was successful in his attempts to fulfill his great-grandfather’s wishes (who was actually the original time-traveler from the Terminator world).  The horrible yellow monsters battle The Avengers, at which point another foe comes through the time stream: Robots. Thousands of them. The yellow monsters look up as the robots swarm out of the time-hole, and join together in a horrified chorus of “Ba-ba-ba. Ba-ba-Na-Na”.  Maybe it’s funny. Mostly, it’s horrible.

Ant-Man (July 17)

Paul Rudd is the Ant-Man: The Hero/Theif/Corporate Saboteur that the Bay Area needs, not the one it deserves.  Using his Ant-mobile which he keeps in his lair: The Ant Hill, he roams the streets at night stopping such memorable villains as: The Jokeman, Mr. Riddles, Sargent Snowstorm, and The Auk.  In this thrilling installment, Ant-Man’s mentor, former Ant-Man Hank Pymm, needs the new Ant-Man Rudd to sneak in and steal some evil documents that could result in Bay City becoming the nexus for World War III. Ant-Man is on the case, and using his super-shrink suit and the power of Ant-mmunication he kicks some ant.  Unfortunately evil corporation Nabisco has hired the merciless Darren Cross, AKA Yellowjacket, to put an end to the Ant-Man once and for all.  Meanwhile, noble district attorney (who has been trying to build up a case against Nabisco for quite some time) gets caught in an acid explosion, goes mad, and becomes the newest in the Ant-Man’s rogues gallery: Most-Face. Also, Meanwhile, it’s revealed that Nabisco has been working with Jurrasic World Parks and Resort’s head Judy in order to fund a High School prom.  Because the item that the Ant-Man and Yellowjacket are fighting over? It’s East Ridge High School’s Prom crown.  As the sun rises and the Ant-Man perches atop the golden gate bridge, he looks over Bay City and thinks to himself: “Thank God I’m not in New York. Those people have crazy robot problems”.

Mission: Impossible 5 (July 31)

Originally titled Mission: Impossible: 5, this one sees our favorite team of superspies going up against their greatest enemy yet: HIGH SCHOOL!  Ethan has to infiltrate East Ridge High School in order to weed out an evil Syndicate that is trying to take over the same way everyone in high school takes over: By becoming Prom Queen. “Ethan: I don’t care how great of a spy you are, you can’t become Prom Queen”, says Simon Pegg’s Benji Dunn. “I can do what I want! I am a golden God!” screams Ethan, mad with power after helping the football team beat state and go to Regionals.  “He’s in too deep!” screams Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye (not from M*A*S*H), over Skype of course because he’s currently in New York helping put the timestream back together and fight evil time-traveling robots and also The Red Baron, who The Minions brought back as a joke but now NO ONE IS LAUGHING.  Its Prom night. Ethan is nervous, he’s been able to get candidacy for Prom Queen and is going with Jimmy St. Horn, the most handsome guy in school!  He hopes his dress isn’t too unflattering for his broad, manly superspy shoulders.  Ethan’s also nervous because he has a biology test in the morning because Mr. Dilley is SO LAME and gave the kids homework on Prom Night. UGH.  It’s then that Ethan gets a superspy telegram: It’s worse than everyone thought. The Syndicate isn’t only out to rule High School, and it’s not out to rule the world, it’s out to rip apart our dimension. Remember Carl and the Evil teen  Well, they’ve escaped from the terror-dimension once again, and with plucky psychic Black Widow helping Hawkeye (still not from M*A*S*H) battle robots, they think there will be no one to stop them from getting the Prom Queen crown this time around.  Well, thinks Ethan, I’m just going to have to be the prettiest girl at the dance then. Will he make it? Will Benji be able to open up another portal into the terror-dimension to send Carl and the Evil Teen back? Will Ethan and Jimmy St. Horn kiss?! These are questions that mustn’t be spoiled.

Fantastic Four (August 7)

The cinematic universe is in upheaval at this point (which is partially good, we want there to be an environment of chaos for Semicolon to rise, and for a Civil War to break out): The Blacklist robot has successfully gotten back from being banished from time and Bill Clinton is too busy with his wife’s presidential campaign to help stop it, The Yellow Monsters have done nothing to fix the time rip, The Red Baron has found out that we’ve turned him into a Pizza Mascot and is now PISSED OFF, evil centuries-old demon Carl and the Evil Teen are close to winning the Prom Crown and fulfilling their evil quest to bring 1000 years of High School to the world, and the Dinosaurs from Jurassic World have hopped on the back of the giant aquatic dinosaur and are now on the mainland eating everything and destroying the ecosystem. Ethan from Mission Impossible can’t help, Owen and Judy (who has since turned good after finding out she was duped by a demon and NOT by corporate stooges who wanted to breed dinosaurs for profit) are doing the best they can but it isn’t enough, even the Avengers and Samuel L. Jackson wearing an Eyepatch can’t help (Also the Ant-Man can try to steal the Prom Crown, but he can’t defeat an entire crazy robot army with dinosaur demons).  The world is short on heroes.  In fact, it is short exactly four heroes.  In wlaks Sir Ben Kingsley “Good Morrow, I may have a solution for your quandary”, says Kingsley with the voice of a God.  Kingsley has created some kind of Dimensional Rift: This can send Carl and the Evil Teen back to Hell where they belong and it can also seal up the time-hole and any problems caused by that.  The dinosaurs?  Well it won’t fix those, but two out of three isn’t bad.  Judy, the most business minded of everyone, says “Okay. Go ahead. Do you need volunteers? I volunteer”. “No Judy, you’re not in this movie”, says Kingsley, but he sounds so good nobody questions it.  Kingsley enlists the help of Skrien, Quinn, George Clooney, and Bella from Pitch Perfect (who stumbled out of her time period into ours via the time portal. Sorry, that was way back in Minions and I forgot to mention it).  Kingsley starts up the Trans-dimensional modulator.  Whirr. Whizz. Bang. Lens flare.  Before dimensions are torn apart, Kingsley smirks “Oh, and I forgot to mention that you’ll each gain superpowers based off of the Four classical elements. Tah”.  Our Four Fantastic heroes are sent through. With the dimension hole opened, the table is set to hopefully stave off the Infinity War until 2018 and 2019. The Four Fantastic heroes come out of the rift.  True to Kingsley’s soothing words, they have been changed: Clooney now has super-stretch powers, Bella can now light herself on fire, Quinn can turn invisible and make forc fields, and Skrien is now a rock. Just a rock. Nothing special.  Now that the Cinematic Universe has enough heroes, it’s time to start eliminating threats.  “Let’s do this like Buddhists” says Kingsley. His voice is heavenly.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E (August 14)

What is the deal with Carl? We get a bit of that answered here.  In the 1960’s two superspies were hired to stop all-out nuclear war by the dashingly handsome Hugh Grant. They called this operation U.N.C.L.E, because we were young and we thought periods were cool in the 60’s.  U.N.C.L.E was successful at the start of the summer and stopped the nuclear war, however thanks to some horrible yellow monsters things went south real quick.  The last hope Hugh Grant had was to send his two top agents, Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Illya Kuryakin (Armie hammer) through time using a prototype of Kingsley’s Dimensional rift (which is itself based off an idea from Lost, the same idea which would lead the ultra-robot future to create the Terminator machine).  Okay, but what does this have to do with Carl?  Well Carl began as an Occultist in Victorian England, fascinated with raising demons and accessing other dimensions in order to let out old Gods and begin a New Old World Order.  Now U.N.C.L.E didn’t land in Carl’s time, but Carl did open his dimensional portal on the exact same day as Grant opened his, and when you’re dealing with trans-dimensional portals that transcend time and space opening things on the same day means you’re pretty much ripping apart the same universe at the exact same time.  Carl was sucked through, and before he could claw his way out Hugh Grant closed the portal in the 60’s because Solo and Kuryakin had been successfully transported back into the 40’s.  Carl was now trapped in Hell, a Hell that existed outside of regular time and so- in fact- he did live there for centuries.  Thousands of years even.  Enough time for Carl to forget about ever being human and to embrace the Demon he had become.  That’s when he hopped a ride and blah, blah, blah Insidious. So what about U.N.C.L.E?  Well, once in the 1940’s they were able to work with the allied powers against the Nazis, nothing huge that would destroy time (because they’re smarter then those horrible yellow monsters) but enough that they caught the eye of one Captain America.  Solo and Kuryakin told the Captain about their mission: That they had to stop a horrible nuclear war that could very well end life on Earth, and that before they were sent through time Hugh Grant told them that he would hide the Nuclear launch diamonds (it was the sixties, we thought hiding secrets in diamonds was cool. We were young and naive) where no one would expect them: In a high school Prom Queen tiara.  So once the Captain, now in present day messy 20:15,  heard about the Prom election at East Ridge High school and all the superspy activity there (because the Mission:Impossible team?  Well that was originally founded by Hugh Grant back in the 70’s) he knew that Nuclear War was imminent.  So Captain America, Black Widow (who, as you remember, was the original psychic who banished Carl and the Evil Teen), the Ant-Man, and George Clooney head over to East Ridge to stop the Prom Queen elections.  In the end, Clooney uses his incredible handsomeness and powers of imagination to defeat Carl and the Evil teen, but also to show each of them their humanity again and give them a second chance, along with Nix, in the world of Tomorrowland. One down.

Straight Outta Compton (August 14)

Dinosaurs are ravaging the western seaboard, and to make matters worse The Red Baron has found a way to control the dinosaurs and create his own Kaiser-saurus army.  Owen and Judy do what they can, but it’s a losing battle.  But then a funky beat comes from Compton, California. It’s Bella and her supergroup NWA.  She saunters up to Owen and Judy. “Hey. I got my ticket for the long way round. Two bottle whiskey for the way. And I srue would like some sweet company, and I’m leaving tomorrow: What do you say?”.  Owen and Judy nod.  Together Owen (Chris Pratt), Bella (Anna Kendrick) and NWA (Keith Stanfield, Aldis Hodge, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jason Mitchell, and Corey Hawkins) all punch dinosaurs while singing a capella versions of NWA’s hits: Because the true way to stop dinosaurs is through song.  Also that’s the only way to stop the Red Baron and send him back to his own time to be shot down by Snoopy.

Hitman: Agent 47 (August 28)

This just leaves us with the original villain:the Blacklist robot.  Since its puppet-master, Carl, had been defeated the Robot had been losing power.  Why, Tony Stark/Iron Man was even able to wipe out half of its evil time-robot army.  Things are bleak.  The Blacklist robot sings a song about it.  That’s when he gets a plan: Hire a hitman to wipe out Samuel L. Jackson wearing an eyepatch and destroy the group unity of The Avengers (The robot finds continuity as confusing as it actually is, and is still mostly concerned about destroying The Avengers, despite the fact that Bill Clinton (Jeff Bridges) and Quinn Brenner (who wants revenge on the Robot for destroying this world and causing so much upheaval in her mind-world).  The Blacklist Robot hires Hitman 47 for the job, the most ruthless destroyer of life there is.  So ruthless is Hitman 47 that it has forsaken its name, gender, its entire identity save for killing. “Ha ha ha! You may have defeated my robot army, but you’ll never defeat this very human single hitman I’ve hired! It’s curtains for you, Tony Stark/Iron Man! Ha ha ha!” cackles the Blacklist robot.  The Hitman approaches Tony Stark/Iron Man from behind: “I am 47, destroyer of worlds. I have no name, I have no life. My only purpose is to kill, and today my purpose is…”. BANG. Tony Stark/Iron Man shoots him. It’s not that Tony Stark/Iron man was listening to 47’s explanation either, he was just really tired that another villain was introduced this late in the summer when we still have no idea what happened to Richard Nixon who was banished in 1994.  Meanwhile, in the Robot’s lair, it tries to piece together a plan. It’s not very good at this, but it’s going to try. It’s a REALLY MEAN robot and a REALLY EVIL VILLAIN.  It’s not that Quinn approaches him. “Hey. You’re a robot”. “Yes, I think that’s obvious”, replies the Robot. “You travelled through time, even crossed into a timeline where you didn’t actually exist, and you did this all because some demon wanted a prom crown?” asks Quinn, vengeance seething inside of her. “Well, it sounds stupid when you say it like that”. Quinn nods.  This is it. This is the moment she’s waited for.  She take Skrein the rock and bashes the robot’s stupid motherboard with it. Again and again. Stupid Robot. Go back to being in The Blacklist. Once the robot is dead, Quinn looks at Skrien the Rock and, for the first time in a long time, smiles: “I was wrong, Skrien. You are something special. Now come on, let’s go watch reruns of Lost on Netflix.  I have a feeling I’m going to like this new dimension”.  And with that the sun sets, the day is saved, and we can safely go into the prestige movie season of the fall.  Oh, and those horrible yellow monsters from Despicable MeLet’s just say that the Hulk smashed them all and made a soup out of them and it wasn’t a very good soup but at least those horrible, horrible yellow things are dead and they will never, ever come back ever again until Despicable Three in 2017. THE END.

Without the T’s: Escape from Tomorrow

The story of Escape from Tomorrow and how it was made precedes the film itself, to the point where many people may not actually recognize the itle: It’s the film tha was shot over a period of about three years inside of Disneyland without Disney’s permission.  Besides the accomplishment of the feat of actually shooting most of the film inside of the park without anyone noticing, there’s also the impressive fact hat Escape from Tomorrow is currently showing in theaers and Disney isn’t doing much to stop it.  As such, this film has garnered quite a lot of focus among guerrilla and independent filmmakers and my greates fear going into the film was hat the story of the making of this film would be beter than the film itself.

I’m happy to say tha fear is unfounded, and in acuality Escape from Tomorrow presents a surprisingly accurate depiction of a family vacation to Disneyland (and I am including the nightmarish ride through “I’s a Small World After All” and being kidnapped by Epcot scientiss).  The story largely follows a father, Jim, and his family as they spend one last day at Disneyland.  Jim’s son, Elliot, desperately wants to go on the Buzz Lighyear ride (and when the ride closes down the son gets into a fit of depression); Jim follows two young French girls through the park and fantasizes about them; He tries unsuccessfully to connec sexually with his wife, Emily; and he experiences a nightmarish fever dream where the park itself seems to be teeming with devil-beasts and mad scienists.  This last part, though, is mostly relegated to he second act and even then only in small doses.  Instead, the focus is on the absolute irritaion hat any family experiences not only at Disneyland, bu on any family trip.

Not every scene was shot on location in Disneyland, as I’m pretty sure a scene in a nurse’s office and a scene in the basement of Epco were both shot off site.  However much of the film was shot during regular Disney business hours, which makes the cinemaography highly impressive.  Mostly the film seems to rely on natural light (which I’m told Florida has lots of), however when non-natural light is used (and I’m not exactly sure how hey were able to bring lights into Disneyland and not raise suspicion) it’s for ableaus that bring everything back to it’s classical Disney roots as everything seems highly saturaed and staged in the most incredible of ways.  There are also plenty of great instances of framing and plenty of fun visual gags, the most memorable one being making an out-of-focus Mickey Balloon look like some sort of demonic monster looking over Jim’s shoulder.

The effects work is also very well done.  Again: this is a surprisingly accurae film, and so the effects work to bring in a feeling of having a nighmarish fever dream.  So we can see some of the strings and where mating and digital face replacement was used, but it’s not a bad thing.  Even in the case of simple distorion that happens on some sort of ride through Dia de los Muertos (I really have no idea what atracions there are in Disneyland), the sound and the simple visual of a large fisheyed screaming face was wonderfully disconcering.

This isn’ a film for acting or for writing, as the actors (while cerainly not being bad) seem to have been more concerned with geting their performances done in a small number of takes instead of giving an ineresting performance.  Much of this also has to do with the material, as a father having marital problems in Disneyland isn’ necessarily new and the screenwriter certainly didn’t approach it differently. But this is a guerrilla film hat proves not only can these ypes of movies be made, they can be made well, they can look fantasic, and they can actually get wide disribution, even if you’re going up against the legal monsers of Disney.  For these reasons, and the reasons above, my arbirary grade for Escape from Omorrow is B+: It’s certainly worth seeing, a well done experiment, and a film where the most nighmarish thing isn’t a demon-possessed touris or a witch-seducress, but rather the ambiance of being surrounded by people in cartoon suits and children screaming with glee.

A "B+" Grade.

The Computer’s Test

In preparing for my upcoming film “Superb Fire Space Laser Blasters” I had to do some per-visualization for what a panicky computer would look like.  Here’s what I have so far:

Computer Test on Henceforth’s YouTube

This project is very much informed by 16-bit arcade shooters and by classical sci-fi from the 1960’s, and I wanted a computerized face that’d reflect that.  I also need a computer that can reflect the panicky nature of it (Within this world, the ship’s computer lives in constant fear of being yelled at. The computer is doing everything it can, but it’s just one computer and it could REALLY USE A BREAK).   I think I still need to make a few tweaks here and there, but It’s still fun to see the process, don’t you think?  Anyhoo, keep at least one eye open to this space, because Superb Fire Space Laser Blasters should be releasing by mid-November, and it’s going to be wacky fun.

My Name is Ward Armstrong and I Travel Through Time

This began as a writing warm-up for the Ministry of Playwriting, and it grew into the most viewed film of mine and perhaps the film I’m most known for.  So, now here it is, re-uploaded on the New Henceblog: My Name is Ward Armstrong and I Travel Through Time:

My Name is Ward Armstrong and I Travel Through Time from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

To clarify: I don’t think this is the best film I’ve ever made (that honor belongs to Lamplight Breakfast on a Burning Kitten), but this is consistently an audience favorite. It’s easy to see why, as it’s a good joke vehicle (wonderful lines/readings that stick out: “I will send you to the dinosaur times”, “Well, you can’t stop the Squid Monster”, and “They have these saws for arms. It’s TERRIBLE”) and the main performance of Leroy Twarogowski is delightfully befuddled.  On another viewing, I feel that the pacing is a bit off, and that I could have done a much better job editing this together (the Mexican standoff scene doesn’t quite pop as much as it should) and I really wish I was able to include the take where Leroy pronounced it “Moo-Tants”, but if memory serves me correctly it just wouldn’t fit in.

An Unhelpful Guide to the Summer Blockbusters of 2013

As the weather begins to get hotter everywhere else except for Colorado (which has been banished to the land of ice), and as all the young kids and adults taking community college classes begin to get out of school our thoughts turn to lemonade, swimming pools, and what movies we can duck into to forget about how the lemonade is too sweet, the pool is too crowded, and it’s too hot outside.  Thankfully, Hollywood has heard our call and answered it, like a certain superhero group, to give us these fine summer entertainments.  Thank you, Hollywood, because without you we’d only have Parcheesi to take our mind off of the skin-melting heat and inevitable wildfires. Aside from a brief synopsis of each story, we also have how many explosions are promised to be in each movie.

Iron Man 3 (Released May 3rd)

America’s favorite Vitamin-themed superhero is back after last summers excursion with The Avenglings, and he’s back telling America about the benefits of a diet high in iron.  This health crusade is interrupted, however, by Sir Ben Kingsley’s Vitamin-C themed super villain The Mandarin Orange.  The Mandarin Orange begins a one-man assault against Iron Man, doing his best to convince the superhero that iron isn’t a necessary supplement. Kingsley gives one of the most menacing performance ever to be captured on screen, and the scene where he leans in close to whisper in Iron Man’s ear “As we go on, we remember, all the time we, spent together” will give viewers nightmares for decades to come.  Though ostensibly a movie about health it will still have a few explosions thrown in (and not just the metaphorical explosion of flavor that the omnipresent mango The Mandarin is eating oozes).

The Great Gatsby (Released May 10th)

Dircetor Baz Luhrmann took a few liberties in the adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.  Firstly, this film doesn’t take place in the roaring twenties, but rather in 1984.  It still features Jay Gatsby (played by Leonardo DiCaprio doing his best New York accent, because real actors do accents) who falls in love with a light bulb at the end of a dock, and Tom Buchanan, now related to Pat (played by Joel Edgerton).  Gatsby decides that enough is enough, I’m going to get that light bulb, and so he hops on a raft and sails down the Mississippi with a former slave named Jim.  Along the way, Gatsby angers Poseidon who send him way off course and he and his crew crash onto a deserted island.  Gatsby tries to build a functional society, but everything eventually devolves into chaos with Nick Carraway (played with spunk by Tobye Maguire) ends up talking to a severd pigs’ head.  Gastby and George Wilson (who is more a mostly-harmless man-child with a love of rabbits in this story) are able to find a way off of the island to a farm in California where they work.  There Gatsby falls in love with a woman from another rival farm, and in trying to woo her heart ends up killing her and going on trial.  Luckily, Gatsby has Atticus Finch as a lawyer (with Gregory Peck reprising his role, they edit around the fact that he’s dead).  Gatsby is released, or rather he runs away from the jail holding him, and tries to find his way home again, running into a former teacher who tries to come on to Gatsby.  This is when Gatsby realizes that life is bullshit and everyone’s a phony. He lives the rest of his life on a farm. An Animal Farm.  Though it’s mostly a coming-of-age story that thinly masks truths about the American Dream, there will still be some scattered explosions (after all, it’s every American’s dream to see an explosion).

Star Trek Into Darkness (Releases May 17th)

Footsteps echo through the halls of Starfleet; it’s Future Spock and he has terrible news for Commander Pike.  Future Spock’s adventures through time have caused a tear in the very fabric of reality itself, causing Starfleet’s #1 Most Wanted, the insane eugenics-obsessed clone Khan, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s master detective Sherlock Holmes, and Leonid Brezhnev (history’s greatest monster) to merge into one unstoppable killer who uses spaceships as weapons.  It’s up to Captain Kirk, the crew of the enterprise, and Future Commander Sulu who Future Spock has pulled from his magic time bag to go on a deadly trek to stop this crazed madman before he can wipe out the galaxy with a Death Star.  Fan favorite Edward James Olmos stars in a side plot as a Starfleet agent who has to makes sure Future Sulu’s allegiance is with the men of Starfleet and not the Machines of Skynet. This movie will only have around twelve explosions, but one of them will be the sun going into Supernova, so it’ll still be worth the ticket price.

The Hangover, Part 3 (Releases May 23rd)

The Hangover, Part 3, From Russia with Beer finds the Wolfpack Gang (a notoriously drunk gang of ne’er-do-wells) back in Las Vegas. Only there’s something wrong: Russia has taken over Las Vegas and turned it into basically the same thing only with a Kremlin-themed casino. Still, the Wolfgang Pack won’t let Socialism take over that easily. So they come up with a plan: everyone knows Las Vegas runs on alcohol, so if they drink all of the alcohol in Las Vegas they’ll successfully defeat the Russians! Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Ken Jeong, and John Goodman star as Wolf Blitzer’s Pals, with Jeff Tambor stepping into the role of Premier Vadislav Niet, the head KGB agent of Las Vegas who is tasked to find and destroy the Wolfblood Wanderers.  The third part promises to be darkest of all the Hangover movies, with a long scene of Galifianakis crying into a bottle of whiskey and talking about how he killed his wife (rumor on the street is that Galifianakis wasn’t acting during this scene), and Ken Jeong walking out of the movie halfway through by saying “Guys, this isn’t funny anymore. I need to leave this circle of self-destruction”.  There will be somewhere around 25 explosions in this movie, but they’re all hidden and the first person to find all 25 will win a trip to Las Vegas to visit the tombs of the Wolf-woof Wiffleballs.

Epic (Releases May 24th)

This movie will surprisingly be about the Edora Pool and Ice Center in Fort Collins, Colorado where I grew up.  I find it as hard to believe as most people that the story of a Northern Coloradoan indoor pool and ice rink would be the subject of a hit summer blockbuster, but it does look like Hollywood will spruce it up a bit.  Firstly, Maxwell P. Edora (played with gravitas by Mark Wahlberg) creates the pool and ice center as a way of covering up a massive Colorado state conspiracy, and every night when the ice rink closes Edora goes to his underground laboratory to try and get to the bottom of it alongside his talking dog (voiced by Parks and Recreation‘s Aziz Ansari).  The conspiracy is as follows: The river that runs through Fort Collins (The Cache le Poudre) was a hiding ground for gun powder for French fur trappers, and it seems as though a group of trappers happened upon not only the motherload of all gunpowder, but also on a hidden cache of gold (This part is told in flashback by Tom Hanks, doing a french accent of course).  In order to make sure no one would find their gunpowder and gold, they set up a series of trap-ridden catacombs in the area surrounding the river.  But wouldn’t you know it, Colonel William O. Collins (Played by Alan Rickman) purposefully set up his military fort near where the trappers were rumored to have their catacombs built.  Collins did this, because he wanted the gold and he was going to use the gunpowder to blow up the fort after he had found the gold so he could retire from the military in peace and not have to fight in the Civil War.  Edora finds out that the city counsel led by Collins’ descendant Anton E. Collins (played by Vince Vaughn in a surprisingly effective performance) are still searching for the underground french catacombs, and more still he finds out that he may have only five days to save the town from complete annihilation.  Based on a true story, and featuring a special appearance of Donald Sutherland as local activist/hero Thomas Sutherland.  As you can imagine, this movie feature plenty of explosions thanks to the heavily feature gunpowder.

Fast & Furious 6 (Releases May 24th)

Fast & Furious 6: Several Tickets and an Anger Management Class Later picks up the ball right where the fifth installment left it: Vin Diesel is tied to a chair, wondering why in God’s name was he cursed to only appear in Car movies (Your last name is “Diesel” and you went into acting, Vin. Don’t worry, I’m only going to appear in bread-based movies).  Suddenly, a grenade is thrown in: EXPLOSION. Dwayne Johnson walks through the smoke and flames and extends an arm to Vin: “Wassup, I’m Dwayne. I’m busting you out of here”. “But Dwayne, we’re surrounded by lasers and dinosaurs and Nazis probably”, “Yeah, well it’s a good thing I brought my helicopter”. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck, goes the helicopter as Dwayne and Vin fly out of Alcatraz in 2068, but that’s not the end, oh no it’s only the beginning.  Gina Carano stars as an FBI agent with a chip on her shoulder and a badass attitude, and Cristoph Waltz plays a Nazi sent by Hitler into the Future to re-grow Hitler’s brain… IN THE BODY OF A T-BIRD.  Vin and Dwayne will have to race against both the HiT-Bird and Time, as a comet is also going to be crashing into Earth that will awaken a Dark Dragon and bring forth 1000 years of terror.  Can they make it? Their muscles say “Yes”.  This movie will be at least 66% explosions, although my money is on 95% (The other 5% will be driving while talking about cars and how they blow up).

After Earth (Releases May 31st)

The shadow of last summers “The Anvenglings” hangs heavy over the newest film by M. Night Shyamalan.  Why? Because After Earth combines EVERY SINGLE SHYAMALAN MOVIE INTO ONE.  Will Smith plays Captain Hobarth Gondola, a man who doesn’t get sick, and real-life son Jada Pinkett Smith plays movie the movie son Cowabunga Gondola, who can see dead people. That part’s obvious from the trailers.  What the trailers don’t tell us is that the Smiths come from a secluded Village in the woods that is the only place that hasn’t been taken over by baseball-hating plant aliens (in order keep people from leaving the Village, the adults tell the children stories about how great baseball used to be. It’s all a lie, though, all a fear-mongering lie).  The first twist comes about a third of the way through the movie when we find out that the aliens have struck up a truce with the Aqua-wolves who are actually what are left of the water-benders.  It seems that the aqua-wolves (formerly grass wolves, but the Lady in the Water drove them to the sea, this is explained in a flashback) are trying to completely destroy the fire-benders who now control a sizable portion of the world (there’s twist number two).  Things get really crazy after that, but I can’t give away any of the other five twists.  Needless to say, Captain Hobarth and Cowabunga are going to have to fight a bear voiced in unison by Steve Buscemi and Chris Tucker. As this movie takes place “After Earth” it’s a part of the movie-world that 33% of the Earth’s atmosphere is now explosions, so I think we all know that there will be plenty of fireballs and water balls and, most important of all, BASEballs.

Now You See Me (Releases May 31st)

Though billed as a magician movie, this is actually going to be the last film of a highly prolific experimental filmmaker known as “The Terrier”.  Terrier has an impressive oeuvre, but unfortunately he has always been plagued by the fact that he’s never gotten a wide theatrical release (though he’s won a number of experimental awards, and was even congratulated on his dedication to the cinematic art by former president Jimmy Carter).  Somehow he managed to get Now You See Me released ans shot in wonderful Hollywood, California.  Fans of Terrier’s past works will be very fond of the floating color forms and the way he uses photographic anomalies as a means of exploring identity and sexuality, however what I found very jarring (and certainly indicative of why Terrie is retiring after this film) is the fact that the entire soundtrack is Terrier saying “Oh, so now you see me? Now? You didn’t see anything I made when I had a festival in Berlin, but now you’re interested that I have Jesse Eisenberg and Common in it? Well thanks. Thanks a lot” and so forth.  Eisenberg and Common are featured, however only briefly and it’s more like a macro shot of these men’s teeth as they eat a carrot.  There aren’t any explosions in the traditional sense, but it’s certainly a worthy experience. Although I suggest turning off the sound (I hear that it synchs up well to “Dark Side of the Moon”, though).

The Purge (Releases June 7th)

In the second of this summer’s Vitamin-themed movies, the Purge follows the rivalry between two dieticians: One who claims that high fiber is the key to eliminating excess chemicals and fats, the other who claims that it’s a diet rich in anti-oxidants. The rivalry grows, much like the one in “The Prestige”, and eventually the two dieticians take the rivalry too far. The Fiber Dietician asks help from Dr. Atkins in order to create a machine that will measure diet effectiveness.  While the ending is being kept a secret for now (as it should, it’s quite a doozy. Or should I say “Juice-y”?), needless to say David Bowie’s cameo as Dr. Atkins will be nominated for at least three Oscars.  The movie promises to have two, possibly four explosions.  Don’t worry, though, because they’re going to be good explosions.

Man of Steel (Releases June 14th)

This movie will be about the 1952 Steel Strike, as told from the perspective of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, President Harry Truman, and of course the group of dedicated and underpaid steel workers.  As the story goes, the United Steelworkers of America wanted to go on strike against U.S Steel for a wage increase (as they thought that their wages were help intentionally low during World War II in an attempt for their employers to make more money).  President Truman quickly tried to nationalize the steel industry (which would mean that the workers wouldn’t be able to go on strike), however the steelworkers sued the government and took the case to the Supreme court. Surprisingly enough, the steelworkers won and were allowed to go on strike and get their wage increase (much to the chagrin of Sen. McCarthy, as this was early in the era of McCarthyism and we were only ankle-deep in the next Red Scare).  For those of you who may fear that this movie will get too political, though, don’t worry because Director Zack Snyder has made a few changes to the historical account: President Truman is now a muscle-bound pro wrestler, Sen. McCarthy is a giant robot, and the Steelworkers are a group of sexy teens with a devil-may-care attitude.  Also, instead of working in a steel mill, everyone works at an Explosion factory.  It’s still history, just sexier and more exciting.

Monsters University (Releases June 21st)

In this sequel to the hit 2001 film “Monster’s Ball” starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry, we find Leticia Musgrove alive and kicking and teaching at Yale (she’s teaching French literature, of course).  Things get complicated when Hank Grotowski shows up with a devastating bit of news: The affair they had some twelve years ago resulted in a child (Musgrove was pretty out of it, because she was in a bullet-wound induced coma for all those nine months), and that this child was a genius and is now ready to enroll in college.  Grotowski wants only whats best for his son, as he wants you Hank Jr. to become a doctor and not be stuck in the horrible family tradition of prison guarding. Musgrove is shocked: Does she really want this terrible part of her past walking into her life again, but at the same time can she say no to her own genius son?  While Musgrove and Grotowski go through their personal drama and sort out their pasts and prejudices, Hank Jr. gets involved in some whacky college hijinks (it’s obviously comedic relief, and the performance of Burn Gorman as Hank Jr. who just doesn’t have the presence for slapstick college humor, plus he pronounces “Frat” wrong).  To just make matter all sort of worse, Mos Def’s Ryrus Cooper shows up in the last third of the movie demanding “The Money”. Who is Cooper talking to? What money? Is Hank Jr. really who he says he is, or is actually an escaped convict? These are all questions that Grotowski and Musgrove will have to answer in Monsters University.  There will be no explosions in this movie, though, and I think we’re all a bit disappointed in that.

World War Z (Releases June 21st)

ZOMBIES! Oh No! And this time they’re like ants and they can climb on top of each other and there’s SO MANY ZOMBIES! Who’s going to kill these zombies? Brad Pitt, that’s who! “Wait a second, doesn’t Brad Pitt have a family?” I hear you ask. YES. Yes he does, but he has to leave his family behind because of zombies.  Meanwhile the zombies are EVERYWHERE and they’re eating EVERYTHING and turning it into MORE ZOMBIES. Lucky for Brad Pitt, zombies are allergic to explosions. So Brad Pitt kills the zombies by exploding them. THE END. Oh, and Brad Pitt looses a wife but gains a daughter or… something like that.

White House Down (Releases June 28th)

In this HILARIOUS Stoner comedy, an Aide to President Obama tries to get the President to loosen up a bit with a wild night on the town.  “Come on, Prezy-O, this is your last night of freedom before the next filibuster from Congress. Let’s go KAH-RAZY!” says the Aide (played by an always-welcome James Franco).  President Obama (who will be playing himself) shrugs and says “Yeah, okay. The White House is Down with that”.  What follows it a mix of “Dude Where’s My Car?” and “An American President” as Obama learns the true meaning of America (Parties) and why exactly he loves his wife Michelle (Because of parties).  Anheiser-Busch has made a beer specifically for this film called the “Bar-Hop O’Bama” which will be sold in super markets for as long as the film is in theaters. Also, the release date will be a national holiday, because Obama is a socialist dictator akin to Kim-Jong Il.  Unlike Kim Jong-Il’s hundreds of thousands of movies about him, though, this one promises to have the White House blow up at least eight times, only two of which will be in dream sequences (directed by David Lynch, of course).

The Lone Ranger (Releases July 3rd)

The year is 1949. People are happy that World War II is over, unhappy that the Korean War is about to begin, and generally scared of everything.  Also: Televisions are starting to be a thing.  This proves to be vital in uniting our troubled nation, as one television producer hears a radio show and decides to turn it into a television show: The Lone Ranger.  We follow the ups and downs of the shows near-decade on air as the producer, Jack Chertok (played by Mark Ruffalo), struggles to cast a horse for Silver (They ended up going through thirteen different horses during the shows run, prompting the television industry to call such a show plagued by horse death as having “Silver’s Curse”), fend off rabid Lone Ranger fans (there was a sizable group of fans who were actually rabid, it was in the California newspapers), and has to put up with Jay Silverheels (played by Johnny Depp) who had the ridiculous idea to have Tonto wear a crazy hat.  The casting of Johnny Depp in the role of Silverheels is proving to bring up quite the discussion of race and native culture in cinema, but the choice is sound because Depp is 1/16th Cherokee.  Oh, and I almost forgot: Chernok also had to deal with lead actor Clayton Moore’s obsession with dynamite and blowing up any hotel he stayed in (Eventually Chernok had to replace Moore’s dynamite collection with chocolate, leading to Moore gaining a great deal of weight).

Pacific Rim (Releases July 12th)

In Pacific Rim a crazed AI has broken out of it’s computoral prison in Black Mesa and taken over an army of gigantic robots.  These robots begin destroying all of civilization, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them or the crazed AI, when suddenly a rumble comes from the ground: It’s Godzilla! Godzilla does his best to fight the robots, and he almost succeeds with the help of Ghidora and even King Ceasar (It’s a huge step for Godzilla lore, I know, but it’s a dire circumstance)! Then the AI laughs: You didn’t think I’d let you win that easily, did you Godzilla? Mechagodzilla, controlled by the AI, rears its ugly head. Things look bad, really bad. Then a robot steps on Monster Island, and that can only mean that it’s incurred the wrath of its winged insect-like protector.  As the Mothra, Godzilla, Ghidora, etc. fight the evil robots the humans below scream and get crushed.  One team of scientists tries to figure out a way to stop the robo-threat, but they kind of figure Godzilla has it covered. Also, they get crushed by a falling building.  This movie actually won’t have many explosions (it’s by Guillermo del Toro, after all, so it does have a touch of class), instead it focuses mainly on knock-out brawling between giants.  Plus, when you’re the size of a skyscraper there is no difference between an explosion and a firefly.

Grown Ups 2 (Releases July 12th)

Grown Ups 2: Sorry Guys We Weren’t Actually Grown Up the First Time, Adam Sandler (played by golf legend Happy Gilmore) hangs out with three of his friends (one of whom is black, because Adam Sandler isn’t racist).  He might go to a pool, mostly they just hang out and drink beer. Fart? They fart too. Honestly, this movie is mostly just padding for Gilmore’s Oscar reel.  It still promises to have one explosion. One poop-Explosion.  Also, despite evidence to the contrary, Rob Schneider will show up playing a Dutch Midget. It’s going to be HILARIOUS.

The Wolverine (Releases July 26th)

This wonderful nature documentary follows one little wolverine pup as it grows up in Alaskan wilderness.  It faces a particularly difficult winter, hot-headed hunters (Spoiler Alert, the wolverine’s mother dies early, but it is able to find it’s father again. Which is nice), and a riveting section where our little wolverine gets trapped in an ice drift.  The documentary will be narrated by Hugh Jackman. Fun Fact: Jackman had no idea he was narrating a documentary when he entered the studio for every day of recording.  Even more fun fact: Jackman has never actually seen a wolverine, and spends most of the documentary talking about wolves and tangerines (as you can imagine, Jackman gets incredibly excited when the Wolverine sneezes at a Tangerine while being chased by a wolf).  This movie has one explosion at an oil factory, but most of the focus is on the wolverine scavenging for food in the snow. It’s adorable, and will certainly take your mind off of the hellish inferno outside.

Elysium (Releases August 9th)

So, something like 10,000 years ago there was a race of alien super-beings called the “Forerunners” who destroyed all of the life in the universe by using a series of gigantic space halos. These halos continued to exist, and many centuries later humanity happens upon one of these halos and colonizes it.  This Halo becomes home to the wealthy upper-class who live a life of excess that crosses a dimensional barrier and angers a race of beings known as Vortigaunts.  The Vortigaunts escape through a dimensional rift into our world and begin to go on a killing spree, destroying life on the halo and moving outwards to other human colonies.  The films hero, Samus Shepard (played by Matt Damon), sets forth on his starship Ishimura to get to the center of Vortigaunt “Hive-Brain”, which controls all of the Vortigaunts and is rumored to be a centuries-old Forerunner who now wishes to destroy humanity (which it sees as a heretical parasite) by turning all of mankind into it’s undead necromorphic slaves.  Shepard blasts through asteroid fields, Vortigaunt battle fleets, and former Forerunner defense drones to get to the center of all this madness: The Penal colony on Mars.  It seems as though this is all tied to the opening of a portal to hell that was all fostered by a rogue AI and a fleet of centuries old machine-beings who also want to destroy humanity and saw the Covenant of the Vortigaunt as a prime way to do it.  It’s very complicated, and the movie decides that it would be better to have Damon shoot things instead of trying to let us understand what’s happening.  This generally works, and there are plenty of cool outer-space explosions, and zombies, and robots, and there’s even a bit with Mars-Nazi’s who are trying to capture the essence of hell and put it into a an Ark. Plus, Damon’s spaceship is populated by sexy women and sexier androids.

Kick Ass 2 (Releases August 16th)

Kick Ass 2: Ass Harder, based off of the novel “Push” by Sapphire will be surprisingly divergent from both the first movie and the novel it’s based off of, as it will primarily follow Jim Carrey, not as the character of Sargent Stars and Stripes, mind you, but as himself.  The film promises to be a combination of Being John Malkovich and JCVD, following Carrey as he lives a tormented life doomed to constantly make funny faces while in his heart he feels only darkness and sorrow.  Carrey’s struggle with manic depression and his own thoughts on the devolution of comedic form all inter-mingle in one of the most fascinating films of the summer, and needless to say Carrey gives a tour-de-force performance.  Also, Hit Girl has been replaced with a fat black girl from the ghetto who can’t read because they needed something to cut to in between Carrey’s personality breakdowns.  There will be no explosions in this movie, which is certainly a downside and will limit its theatrical showings, but this may be the closest thing we’ll ever get to a sequel of The Mask (and that includes Son of the Mask).

The World’s End (Releases August 23rd)

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright return for another delightful romp through the English pub scene.  There’s only one problem: They’re in Detroit!  Desperate to find at least on good pub in Detroit, Pegg, Frost, and newcomers Martin Freeman (fresh off his role as famed short person and sexual pun Bilbo Baggins) and Rosamund Pike (fresh off of her role in Wrath of the Titans) travel for weeks, searching for the perfect pub. “I swear to bloody God if I don’t find some good Bangers and Mash soon I’m going to sodding flip a bilke!” yells Pegg in the middle of Robocop stadium (there’s only a Robocop-themed bar there, it’s terrible) with Frost and Freeman being too scared to tell him that they have no idea what a “bilke” is.  As the movie goes on the situation becomes more and more desperate, the characters pushed to their pub limits. Before the last scene, most of the characters will die in delightfully English ways (Freeman gets suffocated with a bowler hat by a man in a gorilla suit, before dying he utters “Oh bother”).  Wright tried his best to keep to the English “No explosions, guv’na” policy, but it’s difficult to avoid them in the lawless city of Detroit. So keep your eyes on the background and I’m sure you’ll see plenty.

100 Science Fictions

  1. Space Crisis on Planet Helmar

  2. Greygax the Horrible

  3. It Came from 5 Places

  4. Don’t Look at It!

  5. I Have Space-Sickies

  6. Robot with Mallet

  7. The Monster from Pluto’s Moon

  8. Urion

  9. Capricia

  10. The Lowest Point

  11. Stanley Spaceman: Man in SPACE!

  12. Mars is Puce

  13. Hyraxi!

  14. Uh-Oh, Asteroid

  15. The Stock Crash of Fortuna

  16. Planet Without a Face

  17. The Saddest Belt

  18. Mantis!

  19. Remus V: Planet of Wretch

  20. KRAAG

  21. C.C.C.X

  22. Stanley Spaceman in Jungle Trouble… IN SPACE!

  23. His Eyes Were Gone

  24. Lof the Greedy

  25. Zzzzzappp

  26. Zapf: Dingbat from Space

  27. The Tromper of Delubina

  28. Justise

  29. Tortoise of Terror

  30. GIF, GIF, GIF!

  31. The Incredible Moron

  32. Death Isn’t on the Moon

  33. Stanely Spaceman and the Case of the Martian Mirror

  34. Ghosts of Yesterday’s Past

  35. A City of Unrest

  36. The Jewel of Forever

  37. Not This Time

  38. Fear of Stars

  39. A.R.C.S and L.E.A.D

  40. The Forgotten Workday

  41. If the Moon Could Dance

  42. Hitler was a Space Robot from Saturn’s Past

  43. #ROBOTOHNOOHPLEASE

  44. Stanely Spaceman Can’t Find It.

  45. Cybermonday

  46. “The Goo”, It Said

  47. Martian Ragweed

  48. Tyler is Gone

  49. IT DOESN’T WORK

  50. The Giant Reef Monster

  51. Nibbles the Unrelenting

  52. Iron Cast

  53. The Looming Cloud

  54. The Twin of Janus

  55. A Bead of Six: A Stanley Spaceman Tale

  56. Error of Infinity

  57. Not Again This Time

  58. *See Appendix

  59. The Fire of 1000 Suns

  60. “I Can See the Future, Captain”

  61. I FORGOT THE KEYS!

  62. Curiosity’s Folly

  63. It Was Right There

  64. You Won’t Like It

  65. The Longest 10

  66. Stanley Spaceman has a Problem

  67. Steam-Powered Monster Brains Attack the Pentagon!

  68. The Creeping Time

  69. But, Why?

  70. The Look of Galf

  71. The Year of Ice

  72. There’s too Many!

  73. Yesterday’s Tomorrow

  74. It Sneezes

  75. The Cats of Forever

  76. Green Gooses!

  77. Stanley Spaceman Makes a Friend

  78. Crazy Enough

  79. Lorem: The Always Planet

  80. Lights of Mars

  81. Samuel?

  82.  /ERROR/

  83. The Monster Needs to Eat

  84. Unidentified but See-Through

  85. Zeron: Element of the Void

  86. Woman of Sad Eternities

  87. Horrible Things

  88. Stanley Spaceman’s Space-Egg from Outer Space!

  89. I Can’t Hear It

  90. Don’t Look Now, But It’s Here

  91. Robot Needs an Outlet

  92. Anger of Deos

  93. Beige and Marooned: Lisa in Space

  94. Helmets of Crius VI

  95. Steel Heart, Living Lungs

  96. The Green Also Grows

  97. K.O.R.P.S.Es

  98. The Gears of the Martian Revolution

  99. The Death of Stanley Spaceman: An Earthling’s Tale

  100. “It Can’t Be”, Said the Moon.

Life on Mars

Here it is.  About a year and a half in the making: Life on Mars.

Life on Mars from Vvinni Gagnepain on Vimeo.

I decided to try my hand at animation again, as now that I’m out of school I no longer have access to a room full of equipment and another room full of crew members.  So, around October of 2010 I wrote this script (also thinking to myself that I won’t be able to make many Sci-Fi films for a while) and I figured I could get it up by Thanksgiving.  I was wrong. Very, very wrong.  Granted, I’ve been taking long periods off of working on this project, but between character design, audio recording, and actually animating this project took much, much longer than I would have wanted it to.

This being said, though, I think the final product is about the same amount of quality that I expected from the project. I had a bit of trouble figuring out the exact dimensionality of the space the rovers are in, so I’m not sure how well the turn-around shot of the sun figures into everything (but it’s far too beautiful to leave out), and during audio recording there was a bit of a mix-up in the day we were recording (also, half of the voice actors weren’t in the same state as I was).  There’s also a very noticeable editing blip, which I tried to get around but mostly this was the best choice.  So is it perfect? Oh my no. But it’s finished. And, although I’m not an animator, I feel I’ve crafted together a good enough animation that certainly helped me hone my After Effects skills.

Existence is Invalid

We take a quick break from re-uploading old information to the Henceblog for this: An animation test for my upcoming animated short “Life on Mars”.

I wanted to see a few things: 1) If the “twinkling” of the stars, the “atmosphere” of Mars, the Solar flares, and the rover animation would be too much when put together; 2) If the pixellation of the Rover eye would factor well into everything; and 3) To figure out a decent workflow with After Effect/Final Cut.  I believe everything worked out well, and you can all look forward to “Life on Mars” this Valentine’s Day.