New Independent Star Trek Film: Axanar

The long wait for a decent Star Trek spin-off is almost over. Not wishing to knock JJ Abrams’ attempts, but I’m referring to Star Trek story lines that follow the original timelines, ie. those that leave the Vulcan culture & planet thriving!

There have been a lot of fan based films but as a general rule, even though the storyline may be good, the acting is not so great and the special effects are even more limited (the latter not being the most important though, in my opinion) due to the understandable limited budgets.

However, a new star has emerged after nearly two decades that the official Star Trek franchise left our screens and it has arrived in the form of Star Trek: Axanar. The official site for those of you who wish to get their information direct from the horses mouth is: http://startrekaxanar.com/ (really? you don’t believe me? Shame on you!)

I’ve recently been in touch with one of the geniuses behind the project, called Terry, and he informs me (as can be backed up on their site, yes go ahead & visit it!) that part of it’s success is because it features professional actors such as the legendary JG Hertzler (although this time not in his famous Klingon attire), and Gary Graham (know in the Star Trek world for his portrayal of Vulcan Ambassador Soval and for me personally, his role of Matt Sykes in the 80s series “Alien Nation”).

Add to the above the fact that there are amazing special effects involved, filmed in a professional studio, based on an original Star Trek storyline event, and the creators are 100% Star Trek fans, then this film is more like an official Blockbuster Movie than a fan made project.

Last Saturday even saw the World Premiere of the prequel “Prelude to Axanar” at the Comicon event in San Diego, something which Terry neglected to invite me to so hopefully the rest of us mere mortals will be able to get our hands on copies soon enough. In the meantime, enjoy the short official preview and as always, please let me know your thoughts.

Fawlty Towers

Series or films that we watched when we were younger always make us wonder where the actors are nowadays and what they look like, especially if they are no longer in the public eye. One of my favourite comedy series from the 70s is the BBC’s “Fawlty Towers”, based on a real hotel owner in Cornwall, UK. Here’s what the cast looked like in their prime and how they look today in a cast reunion.

Fawlty Towers Cast

My Top 10 Films

Those that know me will probably already know what my top 10 favourite films are but if you find yourself looking for something new to watch on TV or video, then here is a selection of 10 flicks that you may not have seen before.

Stoffer's Top 10 Films
Click for full size

1. The Princess Bride (1987)

As the Grandad (played by the late Peter Falk of “Columbo” fame) who relates the story states, it’s full of fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love and miracles. The humour in this film is very witty and contains lots of famous phrases that are still repeated today. A very feel-good tale about true love with a great cast and wonderful scenery. This is a film that I never tire of watching.

2. Charade (1963)

A classic humorous thriller starring Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn as the main stars but with the stellar support from Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy to name a few. After the death of her husband, Audrey Hepburn’s character suddenly finds herself surrounded by people demanding the fortune that her husband apparently stole from them. Who can she trust?

3. Avatar (2009)

If you’ve not heard of this film then I don’t know where you were during 2009. It is filmed entirely in 3D and was the first live action 3D film that I went to see at the cinema. It deals with the themes of man’s abuse of nature (albeit on a strange planet) and how one man overcomes his disability to fight for the alien natives and save their home. Although it may not sound like much, the CGI scenery is absolutely spectacular.

4. The Towering Inferno (1974)

They don’t make films like this anymore, probably because Hollywood can’t afford to pay the astronomical fees of modern A-list actors. It’s seems as if they had a real party of the creme-de-la-creme of Hollywood 70s actors starring in it: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Richard Chamberlain, O.J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn and Robert Wagner. The film takes place within the world’s tallest skyscraper whilst a fire takes hold of the upper half of the building, leaving the occupants with apparently no way to escape their doom. The tireless services of the Fire Department are highlighted as well as the dangers of man’s greed and putting money ahead of safety.

5. North By Northwest (1959)

A film by the master of suspense: Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant and Eve Marie Saint. A case of mistaken identity proves dangerous for Cary Grant. Nothing more to be said really. It has been beautifully restored in the BluRay version and is a real treat for all Hitchcock fans.

6. Back To The Future (1985)

I can’t believe that this film is nearly 30 years old. Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly who gets trapped back in 1955 and ends up putting his own future in jeopardy when he meets his parents, with disastrous consequences. Helped along the way by Christopher Lloyd as the almost crazy Doc Brown, Delorean cars became iconic and left us all wanting to drive at 88mph to see what would happen!

7. Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home (1986)

I’m a fan of anything Star Trek but this makes my Top 10 as we get to see the crew of the Starship Enterprise return to Earth but in “modern times” (well at least they were back in the 80s!) The film has an ecological “Save The Whales” theme but is fun watch for all the family, even if science-fiction isn’t your thing.

8. Three Amigos (1986)

The 80s was a good decade for comedy films and this one is no exception. Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short star as out-of-work actors in the early 1900s who get given the job of a lifetime: to act out the fight against deadly Mexican bandits in a small Mexican town. Little do they know that the fight is real! Look out for a “plethora” of funny moments.

9. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Two con artists, Steve Martin & Michael Caine, from opposite ends of the food chain find that the town isn’t big enough for the both of them so they set about on the con of a lifetime where the winner takes all. A brilliant display of both British & American comic talent. I can still remember rolling on the floor, crying my eyes out with laughter at the “so you vont feel zis sen” scene.

10. Asterix & The Olympic Games (2008)

A French children’s comedy originally entitled “astérix et les jeux olympiques” that is full of typical French slapstick comedy. Gerard Depardieu is the perfect Obelix and the film is true to the style of the comics. Nice cameo appearances from the likes of F1 Champ Michael Schumacher too, whilst Alain Delon makes a very believable Caesar (“Ave Moi”) . I’d recommend watching it in the original French to get the full nuances of the comedy, even if you have to read it with English subtitles.

Doctor Who Number 12 Revealed

Many people, especially newcomers to the BBC Doctor Who saga, just think that the series began in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston staring as The Doctor. However, Doctor Who goes way back to 1963 and is a sci-fi series about a Timelord who, instead of dying, regenerates a new body; cue new actor.

Doctor Who 12 - Peter Capaldi

There is a 50th Anniversary Special planned for the end of the year but this evening it was officially revealed by the BBC that the twelfth Doctor will be portrayed by the actor Peter Capaldi. According to the official Website, and I quote, “Steven Moffat, lead writer and executive producer says : “It’s an incendiary combination: one of the most talented actors of his generation is about to play the best part on television. Peter Capaldi is in the TARDIS!””

Still Wondering Who Is Doctor Who?

Then look no further than the Official BBC Doctor Who Site to fill you in on the past 50 years and an eternity of cult history. Enjoy!

Yolanda’s Star Trek Uniform

When Star Trek Becomes Reality!

Imagine my surprise today at work when my work colleague Yolanda is there sat at her desk, mobile in hand, dressed in what I can only describe as a Star Trek: Next Generation officer’s uniform. Both Yolanda & Kelly have very modern dress sense but today, Yolanda shot to number one in my opinion. Sporting a gold and black two-tone dress, it resembles the command colours from the TV series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.

After taking a photo (what Star Trek fan wouldn’t?) just so I could show my friends, I decided to put my limited Photoshop skills to use and show a ‘before & after’ picture. I’m quite pleased with the result but decide for yourselves.

Yolanda - Star TrekThanks again to Yolanda for her unending patience with me and my photography & Star Trek obsessions! As always, comments are welcome. The original photo is shown below so that you can compare the two. Just click on it to see full size.

Yolanda in Star Trek Dress

Spock and Spock – The Ultimate Challenge

spocks and audi

Two Spocks, an Audi and a Mercedes. You may think that there’s a type-o there but then you’d be wrong. The latest video from Audi for their S7 features not one but two Mr. Spocks from the famous Star Trek franchise. The following video in lovely High Definition presents us with Leonard Nimoy’s Spock (from the Original Series) and Zachary Quinto’s Spock from the new JJ Abrams films. Both actors (or Spocks, for those of you who often confuse fiction with reality) agree to a challenge in which the loser will buy the winner their lunch.

Which Spock Is Better?

That is likely to be an eternal debate, almost as heated as ‘Which is better: Star Wars or Star Trek?’! However, the video presents both actors interpreting the same role and in a light-hearted setting, thus providing not only a touch of humour but should keep fans happy, both of  the Original Show and the New Films. Enjoy and don’t forget to comment. Thanks.

Morph Flashback

Seeing a friend’s post on Facebook this morning reminded me of this wonderful character: Morph. One of Scotland’s famous exports to the States, Glenn Gibson, made his own model of Morph, which then suddenly brought back loads of childhood memories of watching BBC afternoon TV with my grand-parents.

Who Is Morph?

If you’re asking then then you’re more than likely under 35. Morph was a character made out of reddish plasticine and then animated using stop-film animation by the production company Aardman Animation, later famous for their “Wallace & Gromit” series. He appeared on the BBC children’s show “Take Hart” with the artist Tony Hart. He lived in an artist’s brush box and appeared for brief moments throughout the show, often interacting with Tony himself. The show first started in 1977 and later on other characters appeared, most notably his mischievous friend Chas (pictured below). They often changed themselves into different shapes or imitated other objects, hence the name Morph.

Morph & Chas

So who sent their photo into the show hoping to get it featured on “The Gallery”? In case you’re wondering, I did. Oh and the music that was played during the Gallery section was “Cavatina” by Stanley Myers.

The Swedish Chef Bork Bork Bork!

It is no secret that I’m a big fan of The Muppets (the original ones from the 70s, from when Jim Henson was still alive and voicing Kermit) and have a special place in my heart for them, like most people of my generation that had access to a TV whilst growing up. One of the most iconic and most imitated characters is the Swedish Chef, whose cooking sessions more-often-than-not ended in disaster! We are so used to seeing him in his chef’s outfit that I thought you would be as pleasantly surprised as me to see him dressed by Versace, as featured in the September 2008 issue of the UK’s POP magazine (shown below).

Swedish Chef by VesaceIn my search for all things ‘Swedish Chef’ I came across a brilliant site that actually ‘translates’ anything and most sites into this Muppet’s language. CLICK HERE TO VISIT The Dialectizer Site.

As an example of what it does and of how easily I am amused, here’s how it translated the my WordPress biography: “I em a generelly iesy-gueeng chep, ooreeginelly frum Nutteenghem (UK) boot elsu a Spuneesh Neshunel. I’m stoock in zee 70s/80s vhee it cumes tu mooseec und em a greet fun ooff sceeence-a-feecshun und I hefe-a a fery beezerre-a sense-a ooff hoomuoor. Hurty flurty schnipp schnipp! I oocceseeunelly pley zee ecuoosteec gooeeter. Hurty flurty schnipp schnipp! I speek Ingleesh, Spuneesh & BSL (Breetish Seegn lungooege-a). I’m zee Edmeen Esseestunt & IT gooy et Ideel Cuoontry Pruperty. Bork bork bork!

Star Trek Predicting The Future Since 1966

Star Trek: More Than Just A Sci-Fi Thing

Star Trek Predictions

Credit where credit’s due: well I would love to give the credit for this montage to someone but I cannot find the original source that this came from. Even though it’s meant as tongue-in-cheek, the reality is that Star Trek has been a forerunner when it comes to predicting future technology. Even the PADDs are called iPads; maybe Paramount can take them up on that and force Apple to display the Starfleet emblem on the back of every iPad.

Publicidad Personalizada – Personalised Adverts

Aparentemente en el mundo moderno en lo cual vivimos, existe una cosa llamada “publicidad personalizada”. Consiste en mostrarte publicidad relacionada con lo que estás viendo actualmente. Eso dicho, quiero saber ¿qué tiene que ver el trailer de la nueva peli de Star Trek con 3 restaurantes de lujo de Barcelona y Madrid? ¡Algo falla en alguna parte! je je.

Star Trek Trailer & Adverts Screenshot

Apparently in this modern world in which we live, there’s a thing called “personalised advertising”. Basically it means that you are shown adverts relating to what you are actually looking at. That said, I would love to know what the new Star Trek film has to do with 3 swanky restaurants in Madrid & Barcelona. Something is not working somewhere! ha ha