31 January 2011

Wintermageddon 2011

Just a few pics from the recent series of snow storms, and what they've deposited at my house.  You can't really tell, but the piles on either side of the path are about 2 foot high.

Same height for the piles leading to my deck door.

And somewhere under there is my pool and fire pit...

28 January 2011

True Grit (2010)

'You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him'

I went and saw True Grit with no expectations.  I never saw the John Wayne version, so I had nothing to compare it to.  I have seen very few Coen Brother's projects, so I had no expectations of directorial style.

I loved this movie.

I have a love/hate relationship with Westerns.  Out of the past few years, I have not come across many that I truly love.  Appaloosa, 3:10 to Yuma, et al were ok, but not great.  By the same token, I LOVE The Quick and the Dead (Sam Raimi).  I wanted to like Once Upon A Time In The West, but never been able to make it all the way through.  I want to like The Man With No Name Trilogy, but have been very reluctant to see them because they are in the style of Once Upon A Time In The West.

But I digress.

From beginning to end, this movie was very well done.  Tense, fast paced, and at times funny.  The casting was perfect.  Jeff Bridges played the drunk US Marshall to the hilt.  I'm pretty sure he channeled some of The Dude.  Matt Damon was such an ass.  Its rare that I see a movie with him playing an ass, but he did it well.

Hailee Steinfeld was great in this movie.  She earned her Best Supporting Actor nomination.  With the strong personalities of Cogburn and LeBeouf, Miss Steinfeld's Mattie was the glue that held this movie together.  Another well deserved nomination was Mr. Bridges Best Actor nomination.  I think that Mr. Damon should have gotten a nod for Best Supporting actor, but since the Academy doesn't ask for my vote, I'll just bitch about it a little.

Of minor note is Barry Pepper and Josh Brolin as the two baddies.  They weren't in the movie long, but that played their respective roles well.

Again, I really enjoyed this movie.  I will seek out the original John Wayne and see how they compare.  I'd like to see this movie take a couple of Oscars, but for that we will have to wait and see.

27 January 2011

A Commentary on Badass TV One-Liners, Part 2

The Most Badass TV One-Liners - UGO.com

34 - Darkwing Duck (), Drake Mallard: 'Let's get Dangerous!'
I remember watching this oh so many years ago, when I was younger.  And I loved it.  Thanks to the miracle of DVD I will one day be able to share this series with my son, and in the process re-discover a gem of my childhood.  Ahh the joys of being a parent.

32 - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (Second Skin), Elim Garak: 'A pity. I quite liked him'
Garak.  The most bad ass tailor you will ever see.  Garak is a subject for a post all his own.  Now, there are many lines that could have been chose for Garak.  I point you to the episode 'In The Pale Moonlight' for a whole episode's worth.  He's cold, ruthless and calculating.  And that's if you are a friend.  If you are an enemy, watch out.

31 - LOST (LA X), Locke (Flock): 'I'm sorry you had to see me like that."
Locke wrecks shit.  Suspicions confirmed.  Awesome commenced.  I need say no more.

28 - Buffy (), Rupert Giles: 'I'd like to test that theory'
By this point in Buffy, I had been hooked hardcore.  Evil Willow was wrecking shit.  Giles had been off being Giles.  So we come to Evil Willow trashing the magic store Anya worked at.  I'm fairly certain right before Giles uttered the above line Willow said something along the lines of 'Kneel before Zod!', but I could be wrong.  Giles walks in, cut to black, and in the next episode we find out what Giles has been doing....learning some serious kung-fu.

And speaking of Evil Willow...

19 - Buffy (), Evil Willow: 'Bored now'
Let's review.  Willow's love gets killed.  Willow goes bat shit evil.  Upon catching he who killed her love, Evil Willow skins her target alive.  Chuck Norris ducked his head in respect for that move.

17 - Star Trek: The Next Generation (The Best of Both Worlds, Part 1), Locutus of Borg: 'I am Locutus of Borg.  Resistance is futile.  Your life, as it has been, is over.'
Ya, talk about your bad ass lines.  Your Capitan (with ALL the secret plans to destroy the Borg) is captured by said Borg.  He is then made part of the collective and sent to taunt you.  I don't know about you, but I would have given up right then and there.

6 - Chuck (), Chuck Bartowski: 'Guys, I know kung fu.'
Spoken as he finished updating himself to Intersect 2.0, Chuck can now fight upon command.  This line is spoiled by a later episode (after he loses then regains the Intersect) he says 'Guys, I know kung fu...again.'  Lazy writing.

And speaking of lazy writing...

1 - Every Horatio Caine line ever.
No.  Horatio Caine needs to stop speaking.  None of his lines are bad ass.  CSI Miami just needs to go away.

Now, I know I skipped some I should have added, but I felt I would have gotten repetative.  I was glad to see several Star Trek lines, along with Firefly.  But, we could have added some lines by Jayne from Firefly.

In the end, bad ass lines are all subjective.  It all depends on your inner bad ass.

26 January 2011

A Commentary on Badass TV One-Liners

So one day, the interwebs pointed me to the link below.  Go ahead and click on it, I'll wait.

The Most Badass TV One-Liners - UGO.com

Ready?  Ok, as you can see this is a list of 50 most badass tv one-lines.  Some surprises, some no shits, and some disturbing omissions.  I'll not cover each line, just the ones I am familiar with, and I'll throw in at least one that I think should have been included.

50 - LOST (The End), Kate Austin: 'I saved you a bullet.'
When I first heard this line, I thought it was pretty cheesy.  Predictable too, from lines spoken earlier in the episode.  But, as with other parts of the LOST finale, time has changed my opinion of this line.  It really is quite bad ass, and a fitting finalish line for Ms. Austin

The First Holy Shit inclusion!
49 - Star Trek: Voyager (Year of Hell, Part 2), Capitan Kathryn Janeway: 'Times.... UP!'
Ok, a bad ass line from not just Star Trek, but Star Trek: Voyager? Hello!  This is actually one of my favorite episodes of the routinely uneven series.  Its what Voyager should have been from the beginning.  We see a year in the life of the Voyager after some time meddling by the always watchable Kurtwood Smith.  Voyager falls apart, crew die.  Finally, Janeway realizes what needs to be done to fix the timeline, and as she orders the final course for the Voyager, she cranks out number 49 on this list.  Timeline fixed; Voyager resumes its course of mediocrity.

41 - Dollhouse (Man on the Street), Adelle: 'There are three flowers in the vase.  The third one is green.'
Aww, snap.  With that one line we see that Dollhouse goes deeper than programmable humans.  We see the sweet Mellie, neighbor to the FBI agent who is trying to save Echo, kick some ass.  At this point, the game changed.

38 - Chuck (), Ted Roark: 'A real shotgun wedding.  Just think, that terrible pun will be the last thing you ever hear.'
The creators and writers of Chuck handed Chevy Chase his lines and let him loose upon the scenery.  This was such a great episode overall, but this line stands out.  Of course everybody is rescued shortly after.  But the line was still awesome.

37 - 24 (), Jack Bauer: 'No, you don't'
Oh, Jack.  With those three words, you end what is one of the greatest rivalries in television history. Jack v. Nina.  I mean, we all knew that it would end like this someday, but when it finally happens the fans of 24 gave a collective cheer as Jack's nemesis met her end.

Huh, I seem to be going on a bit more than I planned.  So as not to have stupidly long posts, I'll pick up where this one leaves off another day.  As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments!

25 January 2011

The Abyss (1989)

So raise your hand if you think that was a Russian water-tentacle.

Ahh, The Abyss.  Brought to you by the same gentleman who brought us Terminator, Aliens, True Lies, and Titanic.  Mr. James Cameron.

Story here is simple.  Giant underwater alien bitch slaps a US SSBN (that's the one that caries the nukes).  Since there is no one else that can do the job, the US Navy recruits a team of deep sea oil drillers.  Starring Bruce Willis Ed Harris, Mary Elizabeth Mastriano, and the delectably crazy Michael Biehn, I would say this is not one of Mr. Cameron's stronger efforts.  Its a great movie to be sure, but I think it drags at times.  Oh, I should mention that I watched the directors cut which clocks in at about 2.5 hours.  And while it drags, I never lost interest

This movie actually had some scientific accuracy going for it too!  The breathing fluid showcased in the movie is real science.  There's a scene where a rat is used to demonstrate the fluid, and the rat is no shit breathing the fluid.  Now, when Mr. Harris gets his turn with the fluid breathing, he's not really breathing fluid.

But really, the best part of the movie is Mr. Biehn.  He goes bat shit crazy.  Kinda like the bends, but more hardcore.  A series of events leaves him as the last SEAL alive, and then the crew of the oil rig need to stop him from blowing shit up.  Needless to say, they do.  And then, I think this is where the movie falls apart.  Mr. Harris disarms the bomb and then is brought to the underwater alien city where Mr. Harris convinces the aliens to not destroy the world.  After the action and (relatively) quick pacing of the movie, I thought it stumbled to a halt here.

I like it though.  Its fun, doesn't get too preachy, and has some real science to it.  Special effects are awesome, and while they are dated, they are not distracting, and allow you to seamlessly enjoy the film.

I give it 20/24 ICMBs. 

22 January 2011

The Hunt For Red October (1990)

What's he going to do, sail into New York, pop the hatch, and say "Here I am"? 

The Hunt for Red October.  One of the greatest movies ever.  I had not watched this movie in quite some time due to having it on VHS, and no VCR to play it on.  But, I recently acquired it on DVD and threw it on this morning.

Having been so long since watching it, I was fairly squealing with glee as I watched the opening credits.  I forgot most of the cast!  And what a tour de force the cast is.  Lets discuss..

Sean Connery - Capitan 1st Rank Marko Ramius
Alec Baldwin - Jack Ryan
Scott Glenn - Capitan Bart Mancuso, USS Dallas
Tim Curry - Senior Lt./Dr. Yevgeniy Petrov, Red October
Sam Neill - Captain 2nd rank Vasily Borodin, XO Red October

Now, those first few are the ones I always remember about the movie.  But lets review what other notables are in this movie:

James Earl Jones - Vice Admiral Jim Greer, CIA.  The voice of Vader!!

Joss Ackland - Ambassador Andrei Lysenko 'Diplomatic Immunity!' (Please see Lethal Weapon 2)

Richard Jordan - Dr. Jeffrey Pelt, National Security Advisor.  General Lewis 'Lo' Armistead.  He also played Dirk Pitt in 'Raise the Titanic', but we don't talk about that in polite company.

Courtney Vance - Jonesy, the badass sonar tech.  Ya, he doesn't believe a $40 million computer, and is able to track the Red October.  You know him from Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  But he's added a B to his name.

Gates McFadden - Caroline Ryan.  You might know her from this little show called Star Trek: The Next Generation.

There are a couple of other well known character actors, but that is about the bulk of the awesome casting in this movie.

I'll discuss casting in more detail in a future post.  I will be comparing this to the book of the same name.

The story is quite simple.  Connery plays a British Lithuanian commander of Soviet Russia's newest sub, the Typhoon class Red October.  And its a big son of a bitch.  The Russians fitted it with this neat little gadget called the caterpillar drive, which allows it to run silent.  Or sound like a whale at its loudest.  Ramius decides that its too bad ass for the Russians and wants to deliver it to the Americans.  General PG-rated badassery ensues.

Again, I don't want to get into too much detail here, but suffice to say this movie is great.  I do have some issues with it in relation to the book, but that's a discussion for another time.  I've always enjoyed this movie, and will watch it at the drop of a hat.  If you like taught, well executed Cold War action, then this movie is for you.  If you like Alec Baldwin and Sean Connery, then this movie is for you.  If you have never seen this movie then...well, really the movie is 21 years old.  You really have no excuse for not having seen it before.

Alphabet Geekery

This bit of geekery was shared with me by Chris of CLaP.

The Geek Alphabet: from A to Z in Pictures // Current

17 January 2011

Game of Thrones Trailer

Dear HBO...

April would be a great time for a free trial.

Just saying.

Obsessed Wheel of Time Fan who really wants you to do with Wheel of Time what you are doing with Game of  Thrones.

15 January 2011

Under Siege (1992)

 "Nah, I'm just a cook."

Bullshit, Mr. Segal.  Bullshit.  You are far from a cook.  You are a one man SEAL team.  You are Chief Casey Ryback.  Tearing through the likes of Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Busey, this is a tour de force in great early 90's cinema.

Now, I could go on and on about the inaccuracies of this movie.  But I won't.  I won't mention how he's a chief, but in the poster to your left he has the shoulder boards of an Admiral.

Moving on...

Speaking of tearing through things, the director of this movie clearly handed Mr. Jones and Mr. Busey bottles of hot sauce, pointed at the scenery and said 'Enjoy!'  Those two chew through the scenery like they hadn't eaten for months.  And I enjoyed every morsel.  Its rare that I see Mr. Jones as the bad guy, but I think he was perfect for this part.

There are two other cast members I'd like to single out.  One is Glenn Morshower.  For those of you who are fans of '24' this name should be very familiar to you.  He played the stalwart Secret Service Agent Aaron Pierce.  Agent Pierce was one of my favorite characters in that particular series.  Not one that appeared all the time, but I always admired his dedication and honesty in a world where both of those traits are lacking in those around him. In this film however, he plays an annoying Ensign who does not respect the awesome of Chief Ryback, the lowly cook.  Ryback saved your bacon though....

The other is Colm Meany.  Fans of Star Trek will recognize him as the ever demoted Chief Myles O'Brien.  Here however, he is feasting on the leftover scene pieces and doing his best to be as bad ass as possible.  And it works.  As much as I like Chief O'Brien, I like to see Mr. Meany play the bad guy from time to time.

Ah, well once the world was made safe for democracy once again, Mr. Segal got the girl, stuck a knife in Mr. Jones's eye and professed a fear of needles, I shut my TV off, glad to have watched this movie once again.  Its fun, its improbable, and its enjoyable.  Its everything early 90s action movies aspired to be.

14 January 2011

The A-Team (2010)

"I love it when a plan comes together!"

And so do I, Col. Smith.  So do I.  I came to this movie with no expectations other than to see stuff get blown up.  And I was not disappointed.

I've never seen the show, so I had no notions of what to expect regarding quality or dedication to source material.  What I was expecting was a fun film where pretty much everything was over the top.  From moment one, this film delivered.

Two scenes of note:

1. By utilizing the canon of a tank, they manage to fly a tank that fell from a plane.  That's right.  They fly a tank.  Improbable? Yes.  Fun? Oh hell yes.

2. The final battle.  It was so well orchestrated.  It was, shall I say, beautiful.  It was fun to watch.  Plain and simple.

Overall it was a fun movie.  Most assuredly one to watch again and again.

09 January 2011

Hot Shots! (1991)

Today, I review Hot Shots!  Among others, it starts Charlie sheen and Jon Cryer.  For our younger audience you will know them from the unexplainable hit show, Two and a Half Men, in which I maintain that Charlie Sheen plays the half a man.... but that has nothing to do with this review.

In short, its Top Gun for the parody fans.

Ok, I can't really review this film.  Every time I try and think of an intelligent commentary for this film, I just start running quotes through my head.

Like this one:
Lt. Cmdr. Block:;Topper Harley?
Topper Harley: Once perhaps. Now I am called Tooka Chinchilla.
Lt. Cmdr. Block:What does it mean?
Topper Harley:Fluffy Bunny Feet.

Or this one:

Topper Harley: That is the whitest white part of the eye I've ever seen. Do you floss?

And lets not forget some of the gems spoken by Lloyd Bridges:

Adm. Benson: I've personally flown over a hundred-ninety-four missions and I was shot down every one. Come to think of it, I've never landed a plane in my life.

Admiral Benson: I slipped on a crab. Who put that crab there?
Lt. Commander Block: I don't see any crab, sir.
Admiral Benson: Don't tell me. There were two crabs. They work in pairs. I went to Annapolis for chrissakes!

In short, this is a great movie for those who love parody.  I could keep going, but lets be honest, it would just be a quote fest.  Watch it.  Know it.  Love it.  Quote it.

In closing,

Topper Harley: Those are some long legs...
Ramada Thompson: I just had them lengthened. Now they go all the way up.

05 January 2011

# 16 - Watch a cancelled TV show that is on DVD

So, I'm beginning to put together a list of possibilities for this item on my list.  I have (as of right now) the leading contenders for the choice, and I was wondering what thought people have on them.  These are all shows I have had an interest in seeing at one point or another.  If I had to start this tomorrow, I would not know which to pick.

I look forward to all comments and suggestions!

Oh, and I'd like my choice to be something which lasted for more than three seasons... does not seem worth it to watch anything shorter.

Farscape - 2
The West Wing

04 January 2011

Leave Huck Finn Alone!!!!!

Huck Finn Word Replacement

So, I'm sitting here enjoying a quiet evening watching Hawaii Five-O, when I received a phone call from my mother, who had a piece of information.  Apparently, some Twain scholar decided that race needed to be expressed differently in the 21st century.  As such, he has taken it upon himself to change the 200+ 'n' words with 'slave', and to take out the word 'injun' as well.  Really?  Are we as a culture really that screwed up that we need to have things sugar coated for us?  I think not.  With proper discussions in classes you can still teach to the original un-modified text.  Explain to your students about the context of the words, and the period that it was written in.  Huck Finn is a timeless piece of work, that does not deserve to be messed with.  Really, what's next?  Changing Winston Zedemore's line in Ghostubsters: "I've seen shit that will turn you white." to "I've seen shit that will turn you paler than your base skin tone?"

People in this country ( or any country ) that advocate the banning or editing the books that offend them, need to get the stick out of their asses.  You want to ban or edit a book?  Take a look at the Bible.

P.S.  I don't mean any disrespect to the Bible; it was just the best analogy I had.

03 January 2011

Black Swan (2010)

So, I went to see Black Swan.  My wife wanted to see it, and lets be honest, shes gone to plenty of movies I've chosen, so it was only fair.  And I was mildly interested in the film.  Looked interesting, I've always been a fan of Natalie Portman.  So I was expecting to enjoy it on a moderate level.

This movie was WEIRD.  Not that it was bad, but the execution of the movie was weird.  I know I'll be repeating myself, but I can't think of any other way to describe it.  I really did not find it to be a bad movie per se, but something about it.... I can't describe it.  I was never sold on the plot. I had a solution to the key issue of the movie about 20 min in.  It was a case of if the characters thought for a moment, there would have been no conflict, and hence no movie.

And then, finally it all made sense.  Its directed by Darren Aronofsky.  You know, they guy who made Pi.  The film that ends with the main character drilling a hole in his head.  I'm 0-2 on his films.  I want to see The Wrestler, but now I'm a bit leery about doing so.

I dunno, my wife liked it.  But then again, she wanted to see Swimfan.

02 January 2011

Tron: Legacy (2010)

This is by far, one of the most beautiful movies I have ever had the pleasure of watching.  It left me speechless.

I've never watched TRON.  Does that mean I have to turn in my geek card?  Maybe.  But this is not a movie where one had to watch the original to fully enjoy the sequel.  There is enough exposition in the beginning of the movie to make the plot understandable.  And exposition is where parts of the film fall apart.  Towards the end, the movie gets a bit wordy, but the final battle makes up for it.

I was expecting more battle scenes.  Once Sam Flynn made it to the Grid,  they got disc and light cycle battles out of the way rather quickly.  Which was VERY disappointing.  I thought the light cycle battle was AMAZING.  But way too short.

The music was excellent.  Not a tune out of place.  Even 'Separate Ways' and 'Sweet Dreams' fit in the places they are used.

That's all I've got.  I tried to write a longer review.  But this movie is beyond description.  As much as I like it, I don't think it would be the same movie in 2D, hence no future viewing of it for me.  And I'm OK with that.