Monday, July 28, 2008

5 Comic Book Characters That Shouldn't Get A Movie

With the success of superhero/supervillain movies expanding, directors should and are looking to jump on the bandwagon and find a great character to base a movie on. Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, X-men, and Iron Man were the easy choices...most people had heard of them before the movies came out because they are some of the most popular. The bigger challenge is finding the villains or other heroes to include in the movie - The Joker is obviously proving to be one of the better choices.

Here are some superheroes and villains that probably should not go to the movies:
  • Squirrel Girl - I don't really need to elaborate on this one but I will. She was introduced alongside Iron Man in the comics. First, she tries to impress Iron Man so he will team up with her but fails in doing so (big surprise), but then Dr. Doom comes out of nowhere, captures Iron Man in a large ship, and Squirrel Girl summons the deadly force of every squirrel in the area to attack the ship until Dr. Doom concedes. I admit that a controlled pack of hundreds of squirrels coming at me would scare the hell out of me, but the "coolness" factor of squirrels is pretty low.
  • Calculator - I know, I know...the mere name makes me shake in my boots too. I'll cut some slack to DC Comics considering this character was created soon after the pocket calculator was created, but I don't see any evil iPhone supervillains popping up nowadays. The ability of this character is pretty impressive: through a computer in his suit, he can predict the actions of anyone or anything. The downfall: his suit looks like a giant calculator. Nerd Alert! Unsurprisingly, when he made a small comeback in 2004, his suit had been retired.
  • Looter - The stupidity of this character has to be intentional. An unsuccessful scientist, Norton G. Fester stumbled upon a meteor that had crashed into earth, and after studying the meteor, a pocket of meteor gas gave him his super-strength. It wasn't a constant power though - he needed to find more meteor gas in order to keep his powers. First of all, I'm pretty sure "meteor gas" doesn't exist. Second of all, basing your powers on being able to find something as rare as "meteor gas" is bound to fail - it's like driving a plutonium-powered time machine.
  • Aquaman - If you're a fan of the show Entourage, you probably know that Vince lands a role playing Aquaman in a film. The intent was that they could portray him as an actor landing a hit role in a superhero film...without showing the actual film. Because I don't care if you're Brad ain't lookin' cool in a mer-man costume.
  • Ruckus - The only cool things about this guy are that one of his partners in crime was called Ramrod and his song could be "Bring da Ruckus" by Wu-Tang Clan. Other than that, he'd just be really annoying because his power is the ability to absorb surrounding sound waves and send them back with force. A guy that yells so loud that it hurts...nobody wants to watch that.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Advertisers Are Watching You!

Have you ever looked at the technology that surrounds us and think The Jetsons isn't really as "futuristic" as it used to be? I'm amazed at some of the developments that many of us quickly adapt to and take for granted as the present-day norms.

Yesterday, I posted about a clever Oreo advertisement that, I think, is able to stick out to the common consumer who is constantly clouded by advertising these days. An article I read today, however, takes "target marketing" to a whole new level in order to grab people's scary George Orwell, "Big Brother is Watching" level. And it's happening where else? an IT multinational called NEC.

Basically it's a large (50 inch) plasma display that shows commercials, most likely located at high-traffic walking areas such as shopping malls. Big deal right? The kicker is that there is a camera located on the top of the display that, through some magically Japanese-developed technology, is able to detect the gender and age range of the person standing in front of the display. Through this detection, advertisers are able to program commercials geared toward gender and age-specified demographics in order to truly target their consumers.

The goal, obviously, is that the person in front of the display will tune in to whatever commercial is aimed at them...and through an RFID (radiofrequency identification) reader, that person can hold up their cell phone which will scan a URL for a coupon/information on the particular product/service.

Many questions popped into my head: what if multiple people, of different demographics, are standing in front of it? What if people are constantly just walking by it rather than stopping in front of it (the likely outcome) - how long does it take for the camera to process the demographics for the commercial to appear?

Questions aside, I think this is one of those "wow!" developments that really makes you think where technology could go...not in the distant the near future.

P.S. Thanks to Wired, CrunchGear, and DVICE for their articles on this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Oreo Elevator Ad

Thanks to Street Attack for this one:

Very cool. Advertising is everywhere around us nowadays and often times the only exposure that people get to it is the second when walking by it, clicking by it, or driving by it. For someone to actually stop and look at an advertisement, even if just for a few seconds (hopefully not when driving), it has to immediately grab their attention. Creativity is key, and something like this can get people's attention, make them smile, and make them remember it.

After watching the video, the related videos reminded me of the funny ads that were running for Domino's Oreo Pizza. I liked the original best but this one is good too:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Scalping Dark Knight Tickets

So remember how I posted about The Dark Knight last week, and hoped that scalpers wouldn't turn to the movie theater? Well, they did:

Scalpers Hawk Dark Knight Tickets on eBay, Craigslist


Don't let these "entrepreneurs" make money off of you!

Friday, July 18, 2008

No TV/Internet/Video Games

So long story short, I'm living in an apartment with no TV, Internet access, or video games for the next couple of weeks. Admittedly, there is still a TV in my parents room with cable access (which I peeked into to watch Jeopardy the other night). But it's been an experience the past couple of nights without these sources of entertainment.

Constant entertainment is becoming a standard throughout the country. Notice where you see televisions in places where you wait - the gas station, the supermarket checkout, etc. And some people even put TV's in their bathroom - it makes me think of Back to the Future, when Marty's at dinner at his mom's house (in the past):

Lorraine: "Our first television set...Dad just picked it up you have a television?"
Marty: "Well yeah, you know, we have...two of them"
Wayne from The Wonder Years: "Wow, you must be rich!"
Lorraine's Mom: "Oh honey, he's just teasing you...nobody has two television sets"

Try going home one night and not turning on the TV. Or the computer. Or the video game system. It's easy for me right now because I don't have the option - I challenge you to do it when you do have the option.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Batman: The Dark Knight

I'd be curious to know how many people are going to be "sick" next Friday, July 18th, opening day of easily the most buzzed about movie this year, if not in the past few as well. NY Times wrote an article about theaters already selling out of the midnight showings, in addition to the 3 am screenings. This has led to theaters across the country scheduling 6 AM shows...6 freakin' AM! These movie theaters better consider selling breakfast food - "Bacon N' Batman" would sell to me.

I remember going to see a midnight screening of Star Wars: Episode III. Thankfully, other people were willing to save us seats far in advance, but people had been sitting in that theater all day with laptops, running a Star Wars DVD marathon. There's no doubt people are planning on watching every Batman movie before going to the theater for this one - personally, I watched the most recent Batman Begins a couple of nights ago. And I could go for the first two - Tim Burton did an awesome job with those. But Joel Schumacher did a half-ass job with the 3rd and 4th ones, even though Arnold is hilarious:

It's incredible how a superhero franchise can include films with that nonsense and the one that will be coming out next week. It's also incredible how film releases are capable of creating buzz and selling nowadays. With online sales of tickets, weeks in advance of a release, films are becoming like concerts. Demand has grown for certain releases like this to be seen immediately. Let's hope the scalpers stay away.

Nike Football Ads

I love the last couple of Nike Football advertisements that I've seen. And football in this sense is the "football" that most associate with outside of the United States. [Not American Football] Who was behind the naming of all of these sports anyways?

One of these commercials came out a while ago and I first saw it online, but also saw it during some of the UEFA Euro Cup games on TV. It's a cool first-person view of being a player and it can definitely extend the boundaries internationally considering soccer/football is watched all over the world. It just might annoy the haters of Club Arsenal considering that team is the focus:

The other one that I just saw, I'm guessing, is being televised in Italy considering it's an Italian player (both nationally and as a club player for AC Milan): Andrea Pirlo. It's another one of those "is this real or what" kinds of sports ads (I'm leaning toward the "what") but either way, it's amusing:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Scalpers Strike Again

One topic that I touched upon that probably stirred up the biggest debate on this blog to date was scalping tickets. Arguments were made on my behalf that scalpers often take away opportunities for true fans and that they make an unearned profit on those able to afford the hiked up prices, the ultimate goal of their venture. On the other side, arguments were made that scalpers, or "ticket brokers," actually help bands to fill the seats, and ultimately break even most of the time when you consider the balance between small shows and large ones, considering they have to resort to selling tickets to large shows cheaper than face value.

The break-even analysis, I think, is the downfall of ticket scalping - it's an excuse. I've never heard of a ticket broker looking to break even just to help out the bands, whether it be Cradle of Filth or Ricky Martin. If all of you are breaking even, then stop doing it. It's up to the bands to sell the tickets, and if they get over-eager and think they can sell out Giants Stadium and don't, that's their fault.

I bring up the debate again because of a headline I just saw: "Scalpers ask $1,500 for free Bon Jovi Concert" NYC gave out 60,000 free tickets to a Bon Jovi show in Central Park this weekend, limiting 2 tickets per person. And yet scalpers are trying to make a profit off of the people who did not get a chance to get some free tickets...that's unethical. If you buy tickets to a show with the intent of going and something comes up that prevents you from going, it's understandable to try to get your money back...but if you get them for free, that's just plain greedy.

Besides, even though I'm from New Jersey, I don't like Bon Jovi or Bruce Springsteen. I wouldn't go to a free show for either of them. Save your money fans...don't buy a free ticket.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Caption Contests

Caption contests are great, whether there is a prize or not. For those unfamiliar, various blogs and websites hold contests usually involving a very random photo, inviting anyone to come up with a clever or humorous caption to go along with it. It's kind of like a minimized, pinpoint version of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Well, one series of blogs that you should all include in your rotation are those from Wired. I'm particularly a big fan of The Listening Post, The Underwire, and Gadget Lab. I was perusing Gadget Lab yesterday when I came upon one of these caption contests...which of course I entered...and I just found out that I won! The prize: a virtual beer (which of course I'll enjoy after work).

Check out the post here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

2008 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

You may remember how I outed myself as a fan of competitive eating back in February, following the Wingbowl. Well while all of you were grilling and drinking beer, the Superbowl of competitive eating was held on Friday, the 4th of July: Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.

This event had been dominated by Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi for a while, winning 6 years in a row from 2001-2006. The contest became exciting once America became well represented with Joey "Jaws" Chestnut entering the scene, coming in a very close 2nd in 2006 (52 hot dogs to Kobayashi's 53 3/4). In 2007, despite Kobayashi's weakened jaw following surgery, the hype was at an all-time high to see whether Japan or the U.S. could take the Mustard Belt. Well, in an amazing finish, Joey Chestnut took the title with 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes to Kobayashi's 63, setting the world record.

You can imagine that this year, Kobayashi was coming back with vengeance to retake the title that he had held for so long. Chestnut had to represent the red, white & blue with determination and strength. Although a change back to what's thought to be the original rules reduced the eating time from 12 minutes to 10 minutes, Kobayashi and Chestnut did not disappoint. A photo finish declared that after 10 minutes...they were TIED!! (both at 59 hot dogs) Surprisingly, this was not the first tie in the history of the event, but let's put into perspective how ridiculous the event has become:

The last tie was in 1980. In 10 minutes, two contestants ate merely 9 hot dogs plus part of a 10th. In an eat-off, they both ate 3 1/2 hot dogs and were declared co-winners. How weak is that? Even the guy who came in dead last this year, in 17th place, ate 14 hot dogs.

So...since Kobayashi and Chestnut were tied, there was a 5 dog eatoff. First to finish all 5 would win. And Chestnut was that man, regaining the mustard belt for a second year. God Bless America.

And speaking of competitive eating, for those looking for a break from working out on the Wii Fit, WiiWare apparently offers a game called "Major League Eating: The Game," in which you can perform the eating techniques and motions with your Wii remote just like your favorite eating athlete! I think I may have to get this one - stay tuned.