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The M Cluster Discusses The Dark Crystal

The Dark Crystal is a fantasy that was brought to life through the hard work of Jim Hensen, Frank Oz and Brian Froud. The story centers on the character Jen, the last Gelfling. A race ordered exterminated by the Skeksis and brutally slaughtered by the Garthim - large insect-like soldiers loyal to the Skeksis. It is through him we are introduced to and move through this rich fantasy world. That being said this movie is about so much more than his journey. We learn about the Skeksis and the Mystics, originally called the Uru - two dying races that have existed for one thousand years. As we move though the film we learn that the Uru and the Skeksis are really two sides of the same coin. They are the good and the evil. The right and the wrong. And they are connected on a metaphysical level that we learn more and more about throughout the course of the film. We also learn that Jen is in fact NOT the last Gelfling when we are introduced to Kira, another Gelfling who survived the massacre that devastated their race. I was 10 years old when I first saw The Dark Crystal in the theaters and thirty years later, it is still one of my favorite films of all time. Interestingly enough however the things I loved about it as a child have grown as I have. This film is a masterpiece of film making. The first live action film not to have a single human character in it - this film engulfs in an entire world that comes from the imagination. What we have to keep in mind is that this was done without all of the technology that we have today. The broad landscapes we are shown are partially set dressing and partially glass mat painted backdrops brought to life. The characters were all human controlled, extremely complex puppets (with very few exceptions). The artistry involved in every aspect of the film is nothing less than awe inspiring. This film holds it's own today against the giant special effects films that are being cranked out year after year. If you have not seen it I highly recommend it. It is a family friendly sorry that is compelling for all ages.
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Comic-Con 2013 Sells Out In 93 Minutes But Tech Glitches Frustrate Fans – Again

Reprinted from Deadline Hollywood. Ross Lincoln is a Deadline contributor. San Diego will again be packed to the gills with geeks of all stripes this July, as all attendee badges for San Diego Comic-Con 2013 sold out in just over an hour and a half, barely shy of the record set in 2012. But many fans came up empty-handed and feeling ripped off because of problems that plagued the convention’s complicated badge sales system for the second year in a row. Passes went on sale this morning at 9:00 AM Pacific, and as disappointed fans found out via the convention’s Twitter account, they disappeared fast. By 9:53, 4-day badges and 4-day badges with access to preview night were gone. 15 minutes later, Friday and Saturday single day badges were snapped up and by 10:36 it was all over. Comic-Con can crow about the enormous demand for access to the July 18-21 event, but complaints about server errors and site crashes started even before this morning’s sales began. With each announcement of sold-out badges, the convention’s Twitter feed blew up with new gripes from baffled customers. Many fans reported bumping up against permanent “site over capacity” messages, while others noted noted the lack of updates unrelated to sales, and one even claimed that the wrong support phone number was posted. This was the second year of the convention’s membership registration requirement for badge purchase, ostensibly designed to simplify the process. In 2012, the organization admitted that numerous problems occurred with the sale of badges, and a resale of 5,000 returned and refunded badges was held shortly before the start of the convention. In a message accompanying today’s announcement that badges were sold out, SDCC said they may hold another such resale at a later date.
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J.J. Abrams and the assault on my fandom…

J.J. Abrams and the Assault on my Fandom...

J.J. Abrams and the Assault on my Fandom...

I catch a lot of flak from people because of my EXTREME displeasure with the spin J.J. Abrams put on the so called "New" Star Trek franchise (it is even difficult to type the name when I am referring to his movie). Look at it as you will but I have A TON of very valid reasons for feeling the way I do. And the recent announcement that Abrams is taking over the Helm at the Star Wars universe does not make me feel any better about him. For me, and many, many others - Star Trek is more than a series, it is more than a set of movies, or a collection of books. It is inspiration. It is an imagining of what would could be. It is often referred to as Utopian but I prefer to think of it more as enlightened. "Abrams didn't really get what Star Trek was about in his first movie. (And based on what we've seen thus far, Star Trek Into Darkness will be more of the same.) The emphasis on exploration, on pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, on using our power wisely, on trying to understand the Other, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, all that made Star Trek" something that has lasted for for more than FOUR DECADES — "it's not in the first Abrams Trek movie at all." In this fans opinion that is nothing short of criminal. Continue Reading
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The Flip Side of the Fake Geek Girl Argument (Sorta)

geek_Girl_FeatureThis has been a hot topic of late and I have openly applauded several girls in the geek community for speaking out against it. After hearing some of the arguments however, I feel the need to weigh in on the subject. Now I would like to put this right out front – Geek Girls: I AM ON YOUR SIDE. However I feel like there is a part of the discussion that is missing. After reading several really well thought out and intelligently written articles on the subject (herehere and here), I want to make sure there is some perspective on the topic. This is a far more complicated subject when you dive into it then it appears to be. It contains factors of gender, culture, society, and personality. My mantra for a long time now has been “smart is sexy.” Lucky for me, many of the girls in geekdom are exactly that – smart. So as a self-professed geek the idea of women I find attractive AND that are into the kind of things that I am into is nothing short of fantastic. And the idea that there are those who want to drive those women out is quite repulsive – but let’s face it – to guys, men, boys, senior citizens, etc. in the geek culture this is something relatively new to us. Continue Reading
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The M Cluster Discusses Frailty

Join us as we discuss the 2001 film Frailty. Directed by and Starring Bill Paxton.
This movie caught me off guard when I watched it for the first time. While I didn't see the twist at the end, that is not what I am referring to. What really got me was the behavior of the child, Adam. In most movies, it's easy to follow along and understand why certain people are behaving they way they do, despite feeling like they are making a terrible mistake. Adam, on the other hand seemed to do everything you could possible have expected or wanted him to do. He didn't believe the crazy story his dad told him. He made the difficult choice to actually come right out and say it to his face, too. When none of that worked, he took it one step further and tried to sacrifice his father, so he would stop killing others. It would have been much easier to try to ignore it, or just go away. Adam actually tried to stop his father. It was so strange watching a character do everything they should do, and have a movie that lasts more than 15 minutes. The way the movie was filmed let the audience believe that the world in which this film takes place is the one we currently occupy. Magic and demons and personal messages from God to get rid of others is very easily attributed to a person that is not right in the head. It is not something like Thor, where the audience accepts all the fanciful things that are being said by the person that makes no sense to anybody else. That is what made this movie interesting to me. All the rational people in the movie were wrong.
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