Sep 23 2016

Interview with Roger Cross – Six on Dark Matter

 

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In this episode we talk to the highly versatile Roger Cross. who plays Six on Dark Matter, and who we call the Hardest working Man in SciFi TV. Mr. Cross has had a long career appearing on Television and in films. Many of which were part of the science fiction genre. Here is a small portion – The Strain, Continuum, Fringe, Eureka, Arrow, 24 as Curtis Manning, Orphan Black, Chronicles of Riddick, Star Trek, Twilight Zone, X-Files, X-Men 2, Sliders, Fallout Video Game, and First Wave – which is where I first appreciated the man for his presence and acting.

Some of the questions we asked:

  • How have you enjoyed playing Six on Dark Matter? And how did you hear about the role?

  • What attracts you to Sci-fi TV shows and film?

  • Do you write also? Do you have some stories you would like to be seen in?

Roger Cross Season 1 Dark Matter

Roger Cross in Season 1 of Dark Matter (photo Syfy Channel)

Mr. Cross was a gracious guest, and gave insight into his philosophy on acting and life in general.  We certainly would like him to come back again.  There was some feedback on the call which I unfortunately had to edit out with parts of the interview.  My apologies to you listeners. That being said, I hope you enjoy.

 

Sep 17 2016

Guest Film Review – DON’T BREATHE (2016)

dont-breathe-poster

REVIEW BY @BlerdWords – blerdwords.com

(NO Spoiler)

Don’t breathe is a pretty good flick! There are enough shocks, twists, and turns to satisfy just about any suspense/thriller fan. It’s one of the best movies in this genre I’ve seen in a long while. What I found refreshing and kind of awesome was how the antagonist’s apparent “weakness” ends up giving him a great strength.

Stephen Lang as “the Blind Man” was believable and chilling. The others were ok, but Lang stole the show. While the majority of the film was in one location, you don’t feel a need to hurry up and leave. The flow of the picture was steady. It didn’t drag one bit up to the very end. The flick was dark as it should’ve been. It doesn’t fall in the trap that I’ve seen with similar films where it’s so dark you can’t see.

As our main characters are thieves that are willing to rob a blind veteran, I didn’t have too much sympathy for what happened to them.  Strangely that fact actually seemed to allow me to enjoy the movie more.

As I am a Michigander, it was also rather cool that the backdrop for the flick was Detroit, Michigan. If you’re looking for a flick to see, Don’t Breathe is worth the few bucks for the theatre. I give Don’t Breathe 4.5 out of 5 COSMIC AFROS. I can admit that I probably was kinder than I needed to be, but it gets bonus points for its location…

4.5-Cosmic-Afros

Sep 13 2016

Film Review: For The Love Of Spock

For the Love of Spock (2016)

A Logical Love letter to Star Trek’s Iconic Vulcan

 


For the Love of Spock started as a Star Trek 50th anniversary tie-in documentary helmed by Adam Nimoy, Leonard Nimoy’s son. After Leonard’s passing in 2015, the focus of the documentary became more personal for Adam–turning into an exploration of the man known as Spock, whom he also called Dad.

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Young Adam Nimoy with his father, Leonard          Nimoy as Mr. Spock

As director, Adam Nimoy crafts a caring, entertaining, and insightful narrative of his father’s life and the impact of his enduring character, Mr. Spock. Bridging the past to the present, the documentary weaves reflections from cast members from Star: Trek The Original Series as well as the recent Trek films–including interviews from J.J. Abrams, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, and Karl Urban. The documentary also features the diverse fandom that includes NASA engineers and a certain astrophysicist (yes, Neil deGrasse Tyson has mad love for Spock!). Interviews with Star Trek fans underscore that the character Mr. Spock was more than the sum of his idiosyncrasies–mindmelds, neck pinches, brow raises and salutes. To quote a fan, Spock resonates because he has “an otherness everyone can relate to in their own way.”
I especially enjoyed the unfolding of Leonard  Nimoy’s multi-faceted career as an artist. Highlights include glimpses of Leonard’s post-Trek life in theater, his work as a director (a nice reminder he directed 3 Men and a Little Baby!), and his lifelong love of photography. Fun fact: Did you know Harry Belafonte’s concert performance style influenced the ‘less is more’ approach we’ve come to know and love from Spock? Leonard was an artist’s artist, observing artists at the peak of their craft to inform his own practice. And keeping true to an artist’s sense of integrity, I also appreciated hearing how Leonard advocated to have Nichelle Nichols and George Takei voice their characters in Star Trek: The Animated Series when the network was considering other actors.
While the documentary followed the traditional rhythms you’d expect, striking the notes on celebration and reflection, I did find myself pleasantly surprised at the pops of humor in the documentary. When Adam Nimoy interviews George Takei about the phenomenon of slash fan fiction, it felt as if I was witnessing the trekkie version of “the talk.” And of course, the documentary finds a way to take a good-hearted jab at Leonard singing that Bilbo Baggins song.
Truly saving the best for last, I watched patiently as the names of hundreds of Kickstarter supporters rolled on screen at the documentary’s end. The Kickstarter campaign for this documentary was hugely successful. It warmed my heart to see the fandom return its love in full for an actor who was always appreciative of the love from Trek fans.

**4 out of 5 Cosmic Afros**

4-Cosmic-Afros

Sep 06 2016

Star Trek Reflections: Tim Russ

Actor Tim Russ

Actor Tim Russ

This July, I had the opportunity to attend StarQuest Con, a Star Trek convention just an hour outside Washington, DC. It was at StarQuest that I had a chance to meet actor, director, and musician Tim Russ!
While Tim is known is for portraying the Vulcan Starfleet officer Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager, Tim has made many appearances throughout the Star Trek multiverse including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the feature film Star Trek Generations.
Tim was even a co-writer for a Deep Space Nine comic and has provided voice work for Star Trek video games. Furthermore, Tim helmed the very successfully crowdfunded Renegades as director and reprised his role as Tuvok–boldly connecting the fandom and the franchise in a deeper way.
As the world commemorates 50 years of Star Trek, following up with Mr. Russ to share his reflections on Trek was highly logical!

Lakita: Star Trek celebrates it’s 50th anniversary as a sci-fi franchise. Why do you think Star Trek resonates with audiences after all these years?

Tim: It’s because Trek portrays a more idilic world of the future, where people are judged by their actions and character, not by how much money they have or what they look like, or live like. Many people are drawn to that. And the very powerful, and insightful stories are based on issues of the present day, played out with Alien and human characters. As in most Sci-fi, concepts can be told from different perspectives, challenging the human condition.

 

Russ as "Tuvok" on Star Trek: Voyager

Russ as “Tuvok” on Star Trek: Voyager

Lakita: As a proud blerd, “Tuvok” has a very special place in my heart! What are some of your fondest memories of the fan response to your character?

Tim: I sometimes get feedback from fans who have undergone tremendous hardships in their lives, and they tell me that watching Voyager helped them get through those difficult times.

 

Lakita: Tim, thanks for riffing on Star Trek with GeekSoulBrother. Speaking of riffing, you are a musician. Tell us about your musical life and where can we hear your tunes?

Tim: I have been a musician for over 40 years. I play electric guitar and bass, and sing lead vocals. I’ve got my own band at present, “T.R. Crew” and I perform regularly here in Los Angeles. I have written a number of original songs, but mostly I adopt and arrange obscure tunes I come across now and then, and cover them. My music is all on CD Baby (www.cdbaby.com) and on iTunes.
                                                       

Many thanks to Tim Russ for taking time to share his Star Trek reflections. Keep up with Tim on his website http://www.timrusswebpage.com/ and check out his work past, present and future on his IMDb page or follow him on Twitter @timruss2.

Live Long and Prosper!

Lakita aka “The Shadow Scout”

Aug 22 2016

HIDDEN FIGURES Shows Some Hidden Facts About NASA and Black Women Mathematicians

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I love the title and the multiple meanings behind it.  I’m up on many Black history facts and stories about smart and daring men and women that have changed America.  But I had no idea about these women that helped change the world with their contributions to the space program of the fifties and sixties.  HIDDEN FIGURES stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as the scientists, mathematicians and engineers hired to work at NASA. The story is based on a book by Margot Lee Shetterly.  I’m excited over the story, and the actresses. Especially Miss Electric Lady herself.  I continue to celebrate her success.  Look for the film coming out January 2017.

 

 

Aug 22 2016

Trailer Jive: ARRIVAL Looks Like Good SciFi.

Arrival Trailer scene

Amid all the flash, explosions and huge special effects of the Science Fiction films coming out this year, there are a couple that look to embrace the more somber aspects of the genre.  ARRIVAL seems to be one of those films, and it snuck up on me out of nowhere. Not to be confused with The Arrival, the 1996 Charlie Sheen film with those backward legged aliens.  No, this year’s Arrival starring Amy Adams, Forest Whitaker and Jeremy Renner feels like it will be a thought provoking film, as perceived by the trailer. November is looking good for film.  Check it:

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 16 2016

Don’t Sleep On Falling Water, Coming To USA Network

Here’s a new show coming this fall that’s caught my attention.  Just from looking at the trailer I get the feeling that this will be along the lines of Sense8, but will work better in some areas.  Also, I’m feeling the cast.  David Ajala, Will Yun Lee and Lizzie Brochere play characters that are dreaming a shared dream. They each have concerns for their loved ones and are looking for answers.  But there is an even bigger picture to this mystery that they are not aware of.  Watch the trailer and see if this is something you might be interested in also.  Coming this fall on USA network – Thursday, Oct. 13th at 10PM EST.

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 31 2016

Shadow Scout Commentary: Cautionary Tech Tales

Thanks to Pokémon GO, augmented reality (AR) has been on our minds quite a bit. By merging the virtual world with the actual world on a grand scale so quickly, many outrageous Pokémon GO stories sound like urban legends …did you hear the one about these GO players who found (fill in your favorite Law & Order subplot here). And with the release of “Nerve“–a movie about young people playing an online game of truth or dare that has them doing anything to break the internet (and each other)–the theme of technology as both terribly addicting and simply terrifying persists.

Several movies have played on that constant tension in our relationship with technology: as much as we are compelled by the promise of technology for humanity, we are often as repelled by the perils of what technology could change about our humanity.

Here’s a quick list of cautionary tech tales:

This movie was social commentary on top of social commentary (compliments to Rod Serling!). Filmed roughly five years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the shadow of the Cold War loomed large along with concern for harnessing nuclear power responsibly, as evidenced by Charlton Heston’s anguished cry during the movie’s iconic ending, “You finally did it!”

Combine the audacity of HAL 9000 with the military hookup of Skynet, and you have Colossus. Starring Eric Braeden (best known as soap opera bae Victor Newman on “The Young and The Restless”), this movie is the classic story of A.I. Knows Best for Humans (Whether Humans Like it Or Not).

Ok, the virtual reality special effects in the movie don’t quite hold up today–but this ’90s kid appreciated the sci-fi/horror take on “Flowers for Algernon.” If anything, the take home message of this movie is beware of geeks bearing oculus rifts!

This cyberpunk actioner starred a pre-“Neo” Keanu Reeves as a data courier with some very valuable information in his head. Set in the year 2021, most of the world’s population suffered from NAS, or “nerve attenuation syndrome”, a debilitating illness brought about by humanity’s heavy reliance on technology.

A #SaturdayNightSciFi fave of mine–this film is highly underrated. Taking on racism, politics, complex relationships and cybernetic voyeurism–“Strange Days” is that rare blend of scifi noir. What makes me love this film even more is knowing this production had strong women at the helm in front of and behind the camera: “Strange Days” was directed by Jane Campion, and starred Angela Bassett and Juliette Lewis.

 

Jul 26 2016

Marvel’s Doctor Strange Trailer 2

The first trailer was good. Then I watched it in 3-D and all the special effects popped out; I knew I had to see this in IMAX. Then the second trailer came out for SDCC and it just reinforced my 3-D plans for the film.  This looks like a supernatural INCEPTION movie on drugs. Mikkelsen is going to shine as a villain.  Still not too happy with Swinton playing a 500 year old Tibetan man, though I love Tilda in everything she has done.  Either way, in November I will be sitting and waiting for that Marvel intro.

 

 

 

Jul 20 2016

Concert Review: John Carpenter: Live Retrospective

John Carpenter: The Man, The Synth, The Legend

When most people think of John Carpenter, the focus often shifts to his work as a director. After all, Carpenter has made a career of filming distinctive thrillers, killers, and chillers. [For the public record, this blogger’s John Carpenter Top 5: “They Live”, “Starman”, “Big Trouble in Little China”, “Escape from LA”, and “Halloween”].

Seeing Carpenter backed by a full band on a stage surrounded by screens at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC, I was treated to something special: a chance to fully appreciate Carpenter in his dual roles as moviemaker and musician. John Carpenter: Live Retrospective was an audio-fueled journey through film as well as an intimate introduction to Carpenter’s most recent albums “Lost Themes” and “Lost Themes II.”

carpenter lincoln

A Feast of Feels and Chills

When Carpenter opened with the main theme from “Escape from New York”–the crowd cheered as the iconic title sequence came into view. Scenes from the movie flashed before our eyes like memories. Indeed, one of the fun aspects of seeing Carpenter perform was the challenge of focus. I had to tell myself: “OK, I’ve seen this film before. Eyes on him.” How often do I see John Carpenter at work rocking out on the synthesizer?! Admittedly there were a few songs I had to go into listen-only mode because the images were still too spine-tingling for me after all these years (namely, “Prince of Darkness” “The Thing”, “The Fog” and “In the Mouth of Madness,” in case you are wondering).

Variations on a Theme

After getting the crowd hyped with some familiar compositions, Carpenter then transitioned into his new music–but not before stating in earnest “Hello, DC. What’s up? I’m John Carpenter.”

Carpenter’s first new track of the night was “Vortex” from Lost Themes–a sultry rock number performed with spine-tingling precision, heightening your anticipation for the doom that looms in so many of Carpenter’s films.

Listening to the new music for the first time made realize how much Carpenter’s scores had such a western feel. The storytelling in Carpenter’s films, whether horror or scifi, come down to being stories about people facing adversaries and surviving their harsh realities–it doesn’t get much western than that! In “Distant Dream” from Lost Themes II, I found myself bopping to the unknown with a foreboding backbeat.

Oldies but Groovy

I loved the pacing of the show–it was a nice balance of classics and new music. About six songs in, Carpenter and his band (which featured son Cody Carpenter, also on synthesizer) put on black shades and you knew it was “They Live” time! All of a sudden the theater transformed into this Barbara Kruger-esque art installation as the words “OBEY” “REPRODUCE” and “CONSUME” flashed on the screen in black and white alongside scenes from the movie. It was great to hear the crowd cheer loudly with the late Roddy Piper the onscreen. Released in 1988, “They Live” reigns as Carpenter’s most relevant and most woke film for the times in which we find ourselves.

About five songs from “They Live”, Carpenter took a moment to talk to the crowd “I love horror movies. Horror movies will live forever.” Then that familiar piano tapping started….Yes, this is “Halloween” aka #AwwYeah time! At this moment my eyes were fixed on Carpenter–his movements were effortless–he didn’t need to look at the screen–he was Halloween! My “Halloween” gush quickly gave way to goosebumps as Carpenter scored up some scares for the remainder of the set.

When Carpenter was about to cue the last song, he looked into the crowd with fatherly concern and said, “Please drive carefully going home…” I quickly thought to myself-Wow, John Carpenter is so sweet. With mischief in his voice, he added “Christine is out there!” Oh, John Carpenter is so subversive! The crowd went wild as scenes of the Plymouth Fury on the rampage flickered before our eyes–reminding me that “Christine” was truly a collaborative effort by two of my favorite masters of horror.

Lincoln Theater after John Carpenter Show

Post-show crowd at The Lincoln Theatre, DC

At the end of the show, I found myself surrounded by other Carpenter fans–many wearing OBEY shirts–just marveling at what we had witnessed. Putting on my shades, I left the theater grateful for the concert adrenaline and the pep in my step–if there is anything you learn from a Carpenter movie, you never know what’s really behind you!

 

The set list to John Carpenter’s Lincoln Theatre show on July 12th can be found here. Stay up-to-date on John Carpenter’s tour dates at his website, http://www.theofficialjohncarpenter.com/

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