29 June 2013

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

To the Summary!

Days before he is set to retire, Capitan Nathan Brittles is sent out to put a stop to Indian activity.  Oh, and he has to escort his commanding officer's wife and niece to a stage back east.

To the Cast!

John Wayne - Capt. Nathan Cutting Brittles
Joanne Dru - Olivia Dandridge
John Agar - 1st Lt. Flint Cohill
Ben Johnson - Sgt. Tyree
Harry Carey, Jr - 2nd Lt. Ross Penell

To the Deeper Thoughts!
This is a fine film.  Don't really have too much to say about this.  I'm definitely enjoying my foray into the films of John Wayne.

27 June 2013


Nine books in, and James Bond's health is just now being called into question.  With all he's done, you'd think this would have happened sooner.  Turns out drinking and smoking takes a bit of a toll one one's health.  Go figure, right?  Well, M has just the cure for 007.  A stay at Shurblands Health Clinic will do the trick.  Against Bond's wishes he heads off for his health adjustment.

But why stop there?  Let's throw in an encounter with Count Lippe, a member of the Red Tong Triade.  After trying to kill each other,  Bond figures he is done with Lippe, and heads back to MI6.

Enter SPECTRE.  The Special Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.  Turns out Lippe was a member.  Go figure, right?  Anyway, they stole a couple of nuclear bombs and hold the world hostage.

M sends Bond to the Bahamas to poke around and see what he can find.  And boy does he find something.  Namely his buddy Felix Leiter and the nukes.  Not that Leiter has the bombs; he was just sent by the CIA to assist Bond.  Just when the trail seems dry, Bond and Leiter find the bombs and save the day.

But this kicks off a story of revenge.  The leader of SPECTRE, Ernst Stavro Blofeld did not take kindly to Bond's thwarting of plans.  And the hunt is on.

I really liked this book.  Its probably one of my favorites.

26 June 2013

Man of Steel (2013)

To the Summary!
Kal-El is sent to Earth to escape the destruction of his home planet, Krypton.  He grows up under the watchful eyes of the Kents, only to be discovered by his Kryptonian father's nemesis, General Zod.

To the Cast!
Henry Cavill - Clark Kent/Kal-El
Amy Adams - Lois Lane
Michael Shannon - General Zod
Diane Lane - Martha Kent
Kevin Costner - Jonathan Kent
Russell Crowe - Jor-El
Antje Traue - Faora-Ul
Harry Lennix - General Swanwick
Richard Schiff - Dr. Emil Hamilton
Christopher Meloni - Colonel Nathan Hardy
Ayelet Zurer - Lara Lor-Van
Laurence Fishburne - Perry White

To the Deeper Thoughts!
Christopher Reeve who?


This movie makes Superman look like Superman IV.

Bold words, I know.  Perhaps a bit extreme.  But well earned by this film.  Its not even like there are a lot of big changes to the story.  It was fleshed out in parts.  The downfall and destruction of Krypton for example.  I'm not begrudging the originals at all.  I love the first two; they are great movies.  But Man of Steel does something that has always been (in my opinion) missing from Superman.

It makes him interesting.  I've always found Superman to be straight laced, and admittedly, bland.  But the Clark/Kal-El we get here is a bit deeper, a bit darker.

Instead of being exposed to his life in chronological order, we are given a series of flashbacks that show how he was shaped by Jonathan and Martha Kent.  How Martha taught him to control his powers and Jonathan taught him to temper his power and strength.

Clark finally finds a Kryptonian scout ship (becomes the Fortress of Solitude) and activates it.  Well, this brings Earth to the attention of one General Zod.

Zod and his followers were banished to the Phantom Zone for their attempted coup of the Kryptonian government.  But when Krypton was destroyed, their ship was pulled out of the Phantom Zone.  Using some inginuity, they re-wire their ship and head to Earth to capture Kal-El.  What makes Kal so special is that he was born of love.  Not purpose.  All Kryptonian children and programmed to do something particular when born.  Jor-El, scientist.  Zod, military leader.  So Kal-El is an abomination in Zod's eyes.

Once Zod and company get to Clark/Superman, the movie takes off.

See what I did there?

Moving on.

Smallville is leveled, as is most of Metropolis.  This is a battle between supermen.  There's going to be damage.  And there's damage.  Lots and lots of damage.  Needless to say, Superman wins; saving the city.

Our final scene is Clark arriving at The Daily Planet to start his career as a journalist.  Lois already knows who Clark really is, and there's an unspoken agreement between them to keep his secret safe.

I liked this movie.  It really blows all previous Superman films away.  I don't know if its technology finally giving us the visuals to bring some of these things to light. But, damn.  This is a great movie.  I thought Henry Cavill was perfectly cast and I can't wait to see the next installment in this cinematic adventure.

23 June 2013

Training Log - Week of 16 JUN 13

16 JUN 13

Biking and Running - Did my first combo training today.  Felt pretty good afterwards.  I did half the distances of the Hammerfest Sprint tri that I'll be doing in September   So, 7 miles on the bike and 2 for the run.  Paces for both were right on.  Hopefully that trend continues.

17 JUN 13

ABD - Last week of review before stripe and belt testing.  Everything feels good.  Some minor tweaks, and I should be good to go.

20 JUL 13

ABD - Final review before stripe and belt testing next week.  Felt really good about everything today.  Can't wait for next week!

15 June 2013

Training Log - Week of 9 JUN 13

9 JUN 13

Biking - Planned on 8 miles.  Did 9.5 in about 45 minutes.  Then proceeded to do some epic yard work.  It was a good day for physical activity.

10 JUN 13

ABD - Second week of month three.  Intensity is high.  Everything feels pretty tight for the most part.  My kicks felt off, and the pendulum teeps gave me trouble, but that's par for the course.

13 JUN 13

ABD - Sparring, review.  Its was all good this day.

09 June 2013

Training Log - Week of 2 JUN 13

2 JUN 13

Biking - Rocked a 7 mile-ish ride this morning.  Had a great pace, and my knee bothered me not.

3 JUN 13

ABD - Fist day of month three.  Thighs bugged me a bit, but nothing I couldn't push through.  Reviewed the first part of our Muay Thai, straight knife defense and underhand knife defense.

6 JUN 13

ABD - Second day of month three.  Felt great throughout.  Did some sparring, which is always a blast. Ended the class with 10 punch outs/1 sprawl, 10 punch outs/2 sprawls, all the way up to 10 sprawls.  That sucked, but in a good way.

8 JUN 13

Running - 4 miles in 45 minutes.  I'll take it.  Knee pain?  What knee pain?

05 June 2013

They Were Expendable (1945)

To the Summary!
In the days leading up to and following Pearl Harbor, a group of young Navy lieutenants fight to get their new PT boats into action.

To the Cast!
Robert Montgomery - Lieutenant John Brickley
John Wayne - Lieutenant JG "Rusty" Ryan
Donna Reed - 2nd Lieutenant Sandy Davyss
Jack Holt  - General Martin
Ward Bond - BMC "Boats" Mulcahey

To the Deeper Thoughts!
I've always liked the older black and white war films.  There's just something about them.

And this is no exception.  Starring John Wayne and Robert Montgomery, They Were Expendable tells the tale of the early days of the PT boats.  There's the requisite love story between Wayne and Reed; although its not a large part of the film.

Running at a little over two hours, it moved pretty quickly.  Plenty of action sequences kept it moving along.

Ya, not much else to say.  Its a good film.  If you're a fan of the early WWII films, and have yet to seek this out, then go seek it out.

04 June 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)


To the Summary!
Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise are dispateched to catch the terrorist known as John Harrison.

To the Cast!
Chris Pine - James T. Kirk
Zachary Quinto - Spock
Zoe Saldana - Uhura
Karl Urban - McCoy
Simon Pegg - Scotty
John Cho - Sulu
Anton Yelchin - Chekov
Benedict Cumberbatch - Khan
Bruce Greenwood - Pike
Peter Weller - Marcus
Alice Eve - Carol Marcus

To the Deeper Thoughts!
There was a lot of trepidation approaching this movie.  Would they go there?  Would they dare?

Well, they did.  For the longest time, I was convinced that Gary Mitchell was going to be our advesary for the second adventure of the crew of the Enterprise.  And why not?  They were styling Alice Eve to look a hell of a lot like Elizabeth Dehner.

But no, they went Khan.

Which... I'm ok with.  I know there was all the denial about Khan was going to be in the film.  And that was kind of bullshit.  But I can't compare this film to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

I felt this was a great follow up to the reboot from 2009. (My thoughts for that film can be found here)

We see a Kirk that is still fairly untested in the command chair.  He's more arrogant and sure of himself than we are used to.  He has yet to truly taste failure.  So when Khan reviles himself, it is easy to see how he is manipulated by Admiral Marcus into going after Khan.

Straight to Qu'onos.  Which  YAY!  Klingons.  They looked kinda awesome.

So there's some double crosses, triple crosses.  Hell, I think there might have even been a quad cross in there somewhere.  I mean Section 31 was involved, so that was the reason for all the crosses.  It was a great ride.

And I understand why they did some of what they did with the dialogue and switching of major events.  And I'm still ok with that.  If there was one moment that took me out of the film, it was Spock Prime.  I don't really think he was needed.  Added nothing to the film really, other than foreshadow what we all kinda knew was coming.  But, they don't pay me the big bucks to make these decisions.

I liked it.  I look forward to future viewings of it.  I'm curious as to what they are going to do for the 50th anniversary of Trek.  Will they bring Khan back?  Develop the romance between Kirk and Carol Marcus?  War with the Klingons?  Romulans?  Who knows.  What I know is that I can't wait to find out.