Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Bar For Geeks

Paris is calling my name. Not just because it's the most romantic city in the world. Or because I live for cheese and fresh croissants. But because now, there's a fun little bar where it looks like I might feel right at home. It's called Le Dernier Bar Avant La Fin Du Monde (aka - The Last Bar Before The End Of The World). In case the claim is not to be believed, there's a giant clock just inside the entrance that counts down to the Mayan Apocalypse on December 21, 2012. Guess that means I need to book my trip to Paris asap.

Now, supposedly this bar is a "no violence allowed" type of establishment. All light sabers, powerful one-rings and magic wands must be deposited before hitting the bar for a drink. But once you enter the bar, it looks like Geek Heaven. Every genre seems to be represented, from the wall-mounted Millenium Falcon, to the stacks of comic books and novels begging to be read. There are also scores of games available to play - so you can bring a group along and spend the better part of the night. I want to go now!

The bar has clever naming of areas, THE SINGULARITY leads to a second bar and TARDIS denotes the lowest level that can be reserved for private parties or game-play. But just looking at the decor alone could possibly entertain me for hours. Every inch of wall space appears to be covered in science-fiction themed movie posters and other bits of memorabilia.

Happening upon this little gem on the internet leaves me quite thirsty. LA needs this type of dive! But if per chance anyone makes it to Paris before I do, stop by Le Dernier Bar for me and take a few pics. But you'd better go soon. Once December 21 hits, we'll all be out of luck.

Le Dernier Bar Avant La Fin Du Monde
19, avenue Victoria 75001 Paris

Friday, October 12, 2012

Arrow – Another Dark Knight
Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen/Arrow; CW; Wednesdays 8/7c
I suppose it was only a matter of time until the superhero universe once again made a bid for TV viewership. Past attempts have proven fatal (dare I mention Wonder Woman). But seeing as how Christopher Nolan's Batman exited the screen leaving the fans yearning for more, the CW has decided to capitalize on our love for the dark anti-hero. Enter Green Arrow – or as CW has reimagined him – Arrow.

Now, I will readily acknowledge that I don't avidly read comic books (sorry). I am one of those fans that enter the comic universe via film. However, I have yet to commit to a superhero TV show since watching reruns of Lou Ferrigno's The Incredible Hulk. But after being bombarded by billboard after billboard of a shirtless hunk holding an arrow, I decided to give Arrow a chance.

I am not yet sure if that chance has paid off.

What I both like and dislike about Arrow is its use of reliable stock characters, even though here they seem like recycled copies from other successful ventures. The billionaire playboy turned vigilante. The out-for-justice but by-the-books love interest.  The friend who begins to suspect the truth. The parent who may or may not be the villain. The tortured cop who must hunt down the vigilante despite the fact said vigilante is doing "good."

Yawn. This was all done rather well in Batman Begins. But I have come to find that comics, too, tend to copy one another. Green Arrow was a response to the popularity of Batman. Green Arrow is a royal Robin Hood operating under the cover of night – a great companion for those who responded to Batman's dark mythology. Except CW's Arrow seems to enjoy killing the bad guys. That aspect of his character actually turned me off. I liked Batman's moral conscience. After all, killing makes you equal to the bad guys, not above them.

Nope, not Tom Hanks
CW also missed an opportunity to build Arrow's driving purpose. We really have to begin as a character straight out of Castaway? I have seen this before, CW! So if you want to remind me of how five years of isolated island living can change a man, then at least throw in Wilson.

But the regurgitation aside, the reason this superhero formula works is that the formula itself is a strong piece of storytelling. A boy who becomes a man, who then seeks to right past wrongs, is always riveting. And I like that the theme is not revenge, but atonement. So there's hope here. I just hope the show can veer into new territory with Arrow – not keep revisiting scenarios I have already seen play out countless times on the big screen. This is a show, not a movie. So let's hope that Arrow can steer us into some uncharted waters.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Star Wars Sing-A-Long

Got me laughing this morning...

For anyone who's ever yearned to stretch their lungs and sing along to "Duel of the Fates" from Star Wars (New Trilogy) - Here is your chance!

YouTube Duel of the Fates (sing along)
Prince Phillip - Say It Ain't So!

Not really a post here, just a reaction. I just watched the Once Upon A Time premiere (yes, very late). And I have to say right off the bat - I could never be a story book character. If I had the chance to kill a powerless Regina, I would. Doesn't the woman deserve it after all the souls she has destroyed? Yet the innate goodness of princes and princesses seems to keep her alive. I'm not that good. I guess that's why I'm a mere human.

But I digress. I was alternately thrilled, and upset, by the appearance and early demise of Prince Phillip. Really? I was just getting in to his awkward love triangle between Mulan and Aurora. What exactly happened between him and Mulan during all those battles? And what truths were they going to tell her once she "woke up" from her slumber?

I guess I'll never know because now he's gone. Although, something about this show tells me that I haven't seen the last of him. After all, he didn't really die, he only had his soul sucked out by a wraith. Which means his soul is residing somewhere, awaiting a rescue by his two lady loves. Or so I hope.

And who was that man in New York in the very beginning of the show? He gets a postcard via carrier pigeon  that the curse is B-R-O-K-E-N. Okay, so 1) who is sending postcards so soon after the curse is broken and 2) how can this man be a part of Story Book Land while living in New York?

Now I am seeing shades of Lost, the reveal that only leads to a thousand more questions that I will have to wait endlessly to be answered, if they ever are. Seeing as how last season at least solved a number of looming problems, I am hopeful. But alas, all magic comes with a price. And these characters aren't done paying quite yet.