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Tag Archives: film

SciFlix Movie of the Month: Soylent Green

SciFlix Movie of the Month: Soylent Green

Relax. It’s just people.

This month’s film will be the 1973 adaptation of Harry Harrison’s novel, Make Room! Make Room! Charleton Heston plays a 21st-century police detective working the massively overpopulated New York City. A murder sparks an investigation that cuts to the heart of the world’s population problem: How to feed it?

The Soylent Corporation just released its new product, a plankton-based biscuit made from a harvest from the world’s oceans, Soylent Green. Nutritious! Delicious! Friday, February 10th is Soylent Green Day.

Film Starts at 6:30pm

Regnier Auditorium

12610 Quivira Rd., Overland Park, KS 66213

Discussion to follow – What is the role of the government in providing food safety and biosecurity to a growing population? And what ethics govern a runaway population? Come hear Professors from KU and K-State discuss these questions and answer your questions.

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2017 in Education, tv, Uncategorized

 

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The Force Awakens … Tomorrow

This is undoubtedly the best time for a Star Wars fan: one day away from the long-awaited premier of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

A quick open letter to Mr. Abrams:

Our hopes and best wishes are pinned of you, J.J. Abrams.

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You’re not giving us the finger, are you? – on no, that’s just your Johnny Mathis / Mark Greene Pose

The trailers are awesome and still give me chills when the Falcon sails into view spiraling through the sky in combat with Tie Fighters. The story hasn’t been told yet, though we have been teased well enough to know where it’s going. BB-8 doesn’t spout out vaguely(?) racist jibber-jabber.

I heard you on 60 minutes spelling out your strategy of limited CGI and real explosions to re-capture the magic of the original trilogy. Your wife seems to like the film and sounds convincingly like she’s not just towing the line for her hubby.

Bring it home J.J.

-Your fans

Seriously, this is the best of times. There’s no greater joy than that of expectation for something grand. Christmas Eve is always better than Christmas itself.

My family has tickets for the 7:30 showing tomorrow night – we’re not the first showing in the area, but we’ll be safely ensconced in the theater long before the premier’s audience is let out.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 8.23.53 AM.pngI’ve been debating about when to get tickets for a second showing and decided to wait to see if my wife is willing to come along for a repeat within the same weekend (I think there are still tickets available).

Perhaps there are still 1am tickets for Friday morning?

So, here’s to the ghosts of Star Wars past (Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing?), Star Wars Present(Hamil, Ford, and Fisher?), and Star Wars Yet-to-Come(Ridley and Boyega?). I wish all of you the best. See you tomorrow night.

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Miss Scarlett

With the Candlestick

Well, of course I did it, Darling.

In writing a quick post for one of my other blogs I came across the studio of Joanna Katchutas, who made a piece of artwork that I thought worked well with the piece. Check out that post – about the game and film, Clue, here.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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A Pointer to My Post After Watching GATTACA

ImageToday’s post about the film, GATTACA, is just as much a movie review as it is a discussion of eugenics, so I thought I’d post that on my other blog instead. Go on over and check that out. That and my thoughts on an ungodly number of bad movies that I watch all the time. 

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Science on Screen

You know, I’m pretty happy with the present state of science on the small screen. This week, we had the opportunity to choose between three excellent shows with real scientists explaining fundamental principles to a wide audience. These shows are:

Cosmos with Neil Tyson

Your Inner Fish with Neil Shubin

Wonders of Life with Brian Cox

 

ImageOf the three, I think Brian Cox is probably the best spokesperson for science – meaning he has a very casual and unassuming presence and speaks in a slow, measured pace that draws the listener in, eager to hear what’s coming. The camerawork in the Wonders of Life series is also good. It’s more artsy than you would expect from a science show, often putting the Sun behind Dr. Cox’ head to create moments of strong flares that’s muted post-production (I suspect). This technique works wonders when properly utilized. It creates drama and a bit of mystique because it flies in the face of one cardinal rule of photography. In many ways it reminds me of the cooking show Nigella Bites. Besides its production value, the science is solid, well presented and clearly explained. Here Dr. Cox explains the apparent retrograde motion of the planets (wanderers).

 

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Cosmos works well because it is a reprise of a previously well-received series by the much-beloved Carl Sagan. How could it miss? So much is done well. I especially like the simple animations that bring history alive for us. People are hardwired for storytelling, so I firmly believe that science is learned best when it is part of a well-crafted story – and the stories told in Cosmos are right on. And one last word: wow. This is on Fox! Frankly, I’m amazed. Maybe Neil can teach O’Reilly why the tide goes in and out.

 

ImageYour Inner Fish was initially a book that I use every semester I teach General Biology. As a book it functions well, the story is clear and filled with examples – although we do get lost in the details from time to time. Overall, I like it and think it’s a great introduction to scientific thinking. As a series, the same story is told, but with a greater clarity and excellent use of digital effects to complement the story without getting in the way.

 

All three are excellent – and more than anything, I just enjoy knowing that popular television, reaching a wide audience, is seeing a surplus of high quality, entertaining, educational material that is not soft on science.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Welcome back to Fargo, North Dakota.

http://100filmsin100days.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/the-metamorphosis-of-the-tv-series/

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Your Inner Fish on PBS

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Tiktaalik

The HHMI’s Tangled Bank Studios will be airing a three part PBS documentary based on Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin. The documentary, like the book of the same name, asserts that, “It took more than 350 million years for the human body to take shape.” And asks, “How did it become the complicated, quirky, and amazing machine it is today?” Broadcast is scheduled for Spring of 2014.

Perhaps this will be the last semester that we read the book in my General Biology class in favor of watching the film version and adding a new read to accompany the class. There are a lot of books I would like to go with, but here’s the opportunity for you to send your suggestions.

paleomaps

The Earth during the Devonian

While you’re at it, I am also starting to teach an Ecology / Genetics class next semester (offered for the first time at our campus) and would be interested to have your suggestions for a book to read with that class as well. So, please send your ideas for a fun reads (I would love to read The Selfish Gene, but have nixed it for failing in the ‘fun’ department) that you think students of General Biology and Ecology / Genetics should read.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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New Blog to watch – 100 Films in 100 Days

100 films is a brand-spankin’ new blog I’m following. Tonight is night one, so join me and get in on the ground floor as this poor sap tortures himself through 100 consecutive nights of movies.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Both classes have quizzes tomorrow…

The theme of some of my extra credit questions (the non-science ones) is science fiction films.

These two films, released in 1979 and 1982 both begin with the exploration of supposedly dead worlds. In each film, something old and unexpected is awakened, but the similarities end there. I could easily call either of these films a favorite.

Star_Trek_II_The_Wrath_of_Khan_DVD_coverThe Wrath of Kahn has the benefit of using an incredibly clever recollection of an old storyline from the TV series. The original episode, space seed, introduced us to Kahn, a product of genetic engineering in the late 20th century. Kahn fled Earth after his failed attempt at seizing control of the planet for himself and placed himself, along with many of his men and women into cryogenic sleep. They are awakened after drifting through space for hundred of years and no sooner is Kahn recovered from his long sleep, does he take control of the Enterprise. Inexplicably, once Kirk takes back command, he decides to leave Kahn on a nearby planet.

The Film picks up after the federation rediscovers Kahn during a scientific exploration. I don’t want to spoil it or anything, but things went bad on the planet and Kahn is pissed.

Alien, on the other hand is an entirely different film. We are plunged into a very realistic future where a towing unit returning to Earth with a refinery full of ore respond to a strange transmission coming from an unknown planet. There they find some wreckage of a space ship with a mutilated body and some strange eggs. Head and shoulders above the subsequent installments, Alien was something new and unpredictable. A great, unique story, well acted, beautiful to watch and unrelentingly intense.

Alien-poster1979-45162973545

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Titans

imagesI have an inexplicable love for mythology, even bad… very bad retellings of it.

I feel like I needed to open with some sort of explanation for even watching both Clash of the Titans (2010) and Wrath of the Titans (2012). Because these are not good movies. I admit to having loved the original Clash of the Titans (1981). I was young –  It had some of the last stop motion animation by Ray Harryhausen, the man who did all the effects from Jason and the Argonauts (1963), 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), etc. – and, there were some great moments in that film. Admittedly, these great moments are nestled between a lot of terrible acting.

So, there it is, that’s my excuse for even considering watching these films. What did I think? Well, #1 both Clash of the Titans films bastardize a lot of mythology, but frankly, that doesn’t bother me. After all, they’re just stories. People have been reshaping them for hundreds of years in order to make them their own. #2, despite all the money, the 2010 film undermines our concern for the characters by giving us only spectacle. If I did care about a character, it was Hades. A slow moving medusa in the ’81 version draws you in infinitely more than than the lightening swift one in the remake. I don’t have a lot of film-making cred, but I do know that pacing generates tension, and sometimes it’s what you don’t see that is scariest. #3 Thanks for the cameo of Bubo. He was a great device in the first film, but would never have worked twice. All in all, 2010 the remake was watchable if you already knew it wasn’t going to be that good and you just want to spend an evening with your brain off.

Wrath of the titans makes me with that the the world did end in 2012 so I would have died without watching this crap. What the hell was it supposed to be? A buddy movie? Zeus and Hades test their filial bonds over a power struggle and learn that they always did love each other deep in their hearts? Ares and Perseus learn that being half brothers isn’t quite good enough to not want to bash each other’s heads in? And am I supposed to know this bastard whelp of Poseidon? This film fails on so many levels. #1 Everything that was wrong with the 2010 film was more wrong here. #2 this film actually tries to make us care about the characters that they spend about 17 seconds developing. If you budget for special effects and just assume the script will write itself as you film, then don’t even try to have dialog. Just have 90 minutes of action and let us go on our way.

Awesome. Clash of the Titans 3: Revenge of the Titans is in development.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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