Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Star Wars is cool, but....

Force strong for new Jedi church

Two Star Wars-loving brothers planning a Jedi church hope it will be much nearer than a galaxy far, far away.

Barney and Daniel Jones want fellow devotees to be able to join them close to their home on Anglesey. Barney, 26 - or Master Jonba Hehol - and Daniel, 21 - Master Morda Hehol - head the UK Church of the Jedi, in honour of the film's good knights. They say their services will include sermons on "the Force," light sabre training, and meditation techniques.

Hairdresser Barney became interested in the Jedi faith after 390,000 other Star Wars fans across England and Wales declared it as their religion on the 2001 census. An internet campaign was fought to see Jedi officially included in the list and although this did not happen, collators included a special code to register the Jedis.

He said: "As children we always watched the Star Wars films anyway. We noticed that there were a couple of sites on the internet, Jedi church sites. We printed off a couple of sermons and did a sermon in our house for a couple of friends one night."

Barney and his musician brother Daniel, from Holyhead, help run four websites devoted to the development of the "faith". They plan to go to the official opening of a Surrey-based branch or "chapter" of the UK Church of the Jedi in April, and hope to hire an Anglesey venue for their own services. Already six followers regularly meet in north Wales to discuss setting up the "church". "My brother and I would hold sermons, do talks and get guest speakers," explained Barney. "We would read out essays members of the congregation have submitted on their feelings about the Jedi and the Force: do meditation, relaxation and visualisation techniques and a bit of light-sabre training."

Watching the films as children gave the brothers a good understanding of the "faith," said Barney. "We had a knowledge of the Force from that and the teachings of Yoda. We've read the teachings on the internet. Our father is a karate black belt, we used to train with him, which is where we got the martial arts."

Barney, who has watched the Star Wars films "multiple dozens of times," does not wear film-themed clothing in public, but he and his brother would do so at Jedi church meetings. He said: "My brother and I will wear the Jedi robes, the dark brown robes... the congregation would be in black. Really to bring a sense of unity to the meetings."

Although the current members are all men, women are not excluded, as Barney Jones points out: "Princess Leia helped them out a lot."

However, any congregation member drawn to the dark side of the Force, embodied in the film by Darth Vader, would be advised they are following the wrong path and could face expulsion. Barney explained: "Obviously, if someone starts to try and use the good force for greed and power, they are going to bring negative interference into the meetings. We cannot have the Force disrupted by negative interference."

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

MST3K gets new distributor!

For those of you who are MSTies, or fans of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" (MST3K), there is some good news. There has not been a wealth of releases of the gang's lampooning of bad Sci-Fi B-movies, but now it looks like things might pick up. Shout! Factory has bought the rights to release the episodes on DVD and digital download. Let's hope we can buy MST3K as seasonal DVD's like so many other shows!

(Even though MST3K has disbanded and been off of the air for a few years, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bob Corbett--some of the originals--have rejoined now as "The Film Crew," under the same type of premise as MST3K was--ridiculing bad movies with culture-savvy references.)

Rhino Out. Shout Factory In.
By Sampo


LOS ANGELES, CA - Adding to its expansive library of comedic TV offerings, Shout! Factory secured the worldwide home entertainment and digital download rights to the long running American cult television comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K.) This announcement was made by Shout! Factory President Garson Foos.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Shout! Factory will be the exclusive worldwide home entertainment and digital media distributor for Mystery Science Theater 3000 branded properties which include a vast library of original episodes that have never-been-available on DVD or for digital download.

“Mystery Science Theater 3000 is a true cult-classic series. Its high-camp rendition of B-movies to the small screen makes it one of the most memorable pop culture shows of our time,” said Garson Foos, President of Shout! Factory. “MST3K lines up perfectly with Shout! Factory brand. We’re thrilled to work with Jim to further the legend of MST3K on DVD and in the digital marketplace.”

“We are thrilled to be at Shout! Factory. It is a really a great fit for Mystery Science Theater 3000,” said Jim Mallon, President of Best Brains, Inc. and a producer/director/writer of MST3K. “Shout! Factory totally gets the world of MST3K and has shown great respect for Joel, Mike, the Mads and the quirky little bots. They have already issued us lockers. We look forward to great new releases ahead.”
Our source at Shout Factory says they are looking at the first release around mid-year and they have not made any decisions about whether they will be single releases or sets.

Volume 10.2 will be the final Rhino release.

MST3K: The Movie - The DVD re-release (updated)
By Erhardt

You-know-what may have finally frozen over. TVGuide.com is reporting that Universal will be re-releasing Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie on DVD on May 6th. While we haven’t received confirmation of this ourselves, this news comes from our old friend David Lambert, TVGuide.com Content Contributor and News Director of TVShowsOnDVD.com, so we’re pretty confident of its accuracy.

The new DVD will once again be a bare-bones release, with only the original theatrical trailer thrown in as an extra. But it’s reported that the movie itself will be a new anamorphic widescreen transfer with an English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix and a French Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track. There will also be English subtitles. As always, we’ll post updates as we learn more.

This is shaping up to be an interesting year for MST3K fans!

Monday, January 14, 2008

You could be a Jetson! Well...sort of.

Up for auction on eBay was the last prototype of a Sky Commuter Aircraft from the 1980's, a 2-seater that could fly you to work, not bigger than a compact car. It was designed to take off vertically and soar over traffic...and it's versatile, too--it can land on, float on, and take off from water! After 82 bids, someone with some spare change bought it for a mere $131, 700.00. (click here to see the auction after it has gone from eBay).

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Wood ready to reprise Frodo for "Hobbit"

Attention Cate Blanchett, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, and Sean Astin: You’ve gone “There.” Now get ready to go “Back Again” - at least according to Elijah Wood’s conversations with “Hobbit” maestro Peter Jackson.

“I haven’t spoken to him directly about it [but] I’ve e-mailed him, and as far as I know the two films that they’re doing, one will be ‘The Hobbit’ and another will take place between the 60 years that happened between ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings,’” the once and future Frodo enthused to MTV News, possibly confirming rumors that the second planned film would not be a Part II, but instead a narrative bridge.

Which means plenty of opportunities for all the stars of “LOTR” to reprise their famous characters in some capacity. None more so, perhaps, than Wood himself, who would arguably be a central figure along with Gandalf, Aragorn, Galadriel, and Gollum in any connecting story.

For his part, Wood, who next stars as a conscripted citizen in “Day Zero,” is positively thrilled at the possibility.

“If I’m asked to go back and revisit that character and it makes sense, I would love to. I would absolutely love to,” he said.

True, hard-core Tolkien aficionados could tell you that not much is known about Frodo in the intervening years between “The Hobbit” and “LOTR,” excepting, of course, his parents’ deaths and some conversations and journeys with Bilbo which are alluded to in the later legendarium.

That makes it all the more a guarantee that Wood would return, he declared.

“Nothing was really written with Frodo involved in it. That was sort of an ancillary tale outside of ‘Lord of the Rings.’ I can’t imagine that they [Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens] would write great reams of information regarding my character,” he said of necessary invention outside of Tolkien’s established canon. “But if he [Frodo] should show up, it would actually be the perfect way to revisit because it could be small enough that I could go back and have a nice sort of reunion with the memories that I have of the experience.”

As an actor, Wood is excited about the possibility of returning with Jackson to the world of Middle-earth. But he’s even more excited, he said, as a fan.

“It’s a great triumph [that Peter is involved.] I think that’s really important that the same team that worked on the [earlier] films [work on “The Hobbit”], the same effects team, that it be shot in New Zealand. I think that it’s important that Ian McKellen is cast as Gandalf, just so that there’s a synergy between the films,” he insisted. “I think people want it to exist in the same world. So at least now we are assured that it will be done through that same lens, which is great. It’s exciting.”

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