Weekend checklist: Scary geeks and Wikileaks

Fill up your geeky weekend with these suggestions.

It's a geek lull this weekend! The summer movie season is officially over, and the TV season hasn't yet officially started. We might actually have to go outside this weekend and enjoy the weather! Oh, wait, there are a few things that a techie or a "geek" may enjoy this weekend.


Let's get right to it in this week's Geekend segment:

At the movies: Insidious, Chapter 2

Description: "The haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world."

Keith: You know that you're separated a lot from the horror movie world when you realize that you missed the first "Insidious." A quick trip to Wikipedia reveals that the original 2011 film has made about $97 million worldwide, which is likely enough for the movie to get a sequel. Interestingly, the original was "the most profitable film of 2011", which says a lot about Hollywood budgeting (the original had a $1 million budget and almost reached $100 million). Another interesting tidbit: Patrick Wilson was in the "Watchmen" movie, and he can also sing (He was on Broadway in "The Full Monty" and also was in the movie version of "Phantom of the Opera."). I'm pretty sure he won't be singing in this movie.

Phil: I, too, missed the first Insidious. This looks pretty good though, or at least the trailer makes it look spooky enough for me to give it a try, but not in the theater. I'd watch it at home, though, snuggled up on the couch in a darkened living room with my wife. One of us, no doubt, clinging to the other (I'm not telling if I'd be the clingee or the clinger). Either way, I enjoy a good scary movie. Hard to tell if this turns into a goofy slasher flick. Hopefully not. As we're about to discuss, while I don't mind the occasionally horror movie, then can get too silly, kind of like pro wrestling.


Whenever there's a Friday the 13th on the calendar, chances are that Hollywood will release a horror movie on that date. But we have a bigger question/concern - the scary nature of horror movie geeks. It seems to go against the type of a typical geek, who would seem to enjoy things like comic books, superheroes and science-fiction. Keith explains to Phil why he's afraid of horror film geeks in this week's GeekDebate:

DVD suggestions

Star Trek: Into Darkness

Keith: If you haven't already seen this movie and are still classifying yourself as a geek, we may have to revoke your Geek Card for a few weeks. Of course, since I haven't seen "Iron Man 3" yet (I'll address that when it comes out on DVD), so I'm not going to judge you too harshly. In case you did miss this movie in the theaters, here's a quick recap: It's the sequel to the 2009 movie that J.J. Abrams directed in which the original Trek universe got a parallel universe and we are now retconning Star Trek without annoying all of the original series (and all of its spinoffs) fans. However, a lot of those fans were still annoyed with this movie, because they said it focused too much on action/adventure than the original themes of Star Trek, and that it's drifting more towards "Star Wars" territory in terms of laser battles, action, explosions, etc. Interesting since Abrams is now set to direct Star Wars VII - maybe Star Wars will get more metaphoric and philosophical. Anyway, rent, buy, or stream this one, especially if you're a Benedict Cumberbatch fan.

Phil: I'm not much of a Trekkie so I'm unlikely to go out of my way to see this one. Ironically, though, I did want to see it in IMAX, because I saw a trailer for it when I went to see something else in IMAX (Skyfall? Can't recall). Of course, EVERYTHING looks awesome in IMAX. Heck, you could probably talk me into seeing any chick flick if the screen is big enough, the sound loud enough and the seats rumble enough at the appropriate times. That could have really livened up Dirty Dancing, IMO. Anyway, I'll watch Into Darkness if I happen to catch it on cable.

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks

Keith: Speaking of Cumberbatch, he's set to play Julian Assange in an upcoming film about the Wikileaks founder, but if you are looking for a documentary about Assange and the Wikileaks saga, check out this film, now out on DVD.

Phil: Every time I see Julian Assange all I can think is "He looks creepy" and "The people working in the Ecuadorian embassy in London must be ready to kick him out the door." Talk about the guest who wouldn't leave! Anyhoo, while this doc is no doubt interesting, I think I'm pretty much "leaked out" these days between Assange and Edward Snowden. Enough with these guys already. I'd rather watch Dirty Dancing.

Hammer of the Gods

Keith: Warning, this isn't about Thor, Odin or Loki. But this movie, which came out in theaters earlier this year, does tell the tale of a "young Viking warrior, Steinar, who is sent by his father (who's the king) on a quest to find his estranged brother, who was banished from the kingdom many years before." Wait, it does sound exactly like the story of Thor. If you're itching for Viking action and you don't like football or having to wait for the Thor sequel, then this could satisfy that urge for a weekend viewing.

Phil: This looks like a pretty good rental to me. Hard to beat a good Viking movie, I say. However, when I first saw the title, I got excited because I thought it was a movie based on the book about Led Zeppelin. That would actually beat a Viking movie, for me, but, until they make a movie of that book, this will probably do for a couple of hours of mindless entertainment.

Keith's Streaming (Amazon Instant Prime) suggestion - Casablanca (1942): OK, I'm going off the board for this one. We purchased an Amazon Prime subscription and were given access to Amazon's Instant streaming service (we're normally Netflix Instant subscribers), and this film jumped out at me since I had never seen it from start-to-finish in one setting. The HD setting (even in black-and-white) is really good for this film. I know it's strange that I had never seen it in one sitting before, but that's the beauty of some of these streaming services now. Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and other stars from the 1940s are fantastic in this World War II-era drama. See it for the first time, or see it again for the first time, it's a true winner. You can even watch it for $1.99 on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/movie/casablanca.

Phil's Streaming suggestion: Now that I've got Led Zeppelin on the brain, I'm going to suggest the Led Zeppelin concert film 'The Song Remains the Same." You can stream it on Amazon for $2.99 or, if you poke around YouTube a bit, you may be able to find it there for free (so I hear, ahem). Lest you think this movie is not Geek-appropriate, bear in mind that, at one point during the movie, lead singer Robert Plant gets all dressed up in Viking garb and is shown sailing to a new world and romping around the countryside and on horseback and such. They may as well break into a round of Dungeons & Dragons right on stage. The band always had this strange connection to geek-dom; they were said to be fans of J.R.R. Tolkien (or least Jimmy Page was) and a handful of songs have references to Lord of the Rings (including Stairway to Heaven). Anyway, it's a great concert flick, well worth renting.

Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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