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Posts Tagged ‘Batman’

Today’s post will be a long one, so if you’re not interested in my reviews, please come back another day…
The three series being reviewed are “Pride And Prejudice“, “Stranger Things” and “The Punisher“.  P&P is on DVD and the other two were both viewed on NetFlix.
Pride And Prejudice  (1940) —  movie review;  (1995)  —  series / movie review
Starring Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy and Greer Garson as Elizabeth “Lizzy” Bennet, this is the black and white version which appears on cable channels periodically – which is where I caught it one afternoon while casually channel surfing.  Because I enjoyed the 2005 version, so much and the 1995 version, too, I thought I’d give it a view.  The story is essentially: small village with landowner family of five female daughters is thrown in a tizzy over the arrival of a very “suitable” bachelor.  Even better, the bachelor comes with a friend, who is also a very suitable bachelor (Darcy).  Lizzy takes an immediate dislike to Mr. Darcy while the oldest sister (Jane) falls madly in love with the first bachelor (Mr. Bingly).  Blah, blah, blah, happy ending.
In this version, I was left with a “satisfied” grin.  It was enjoyable to watch, and, because I’m so familiar with the story, I’m looking for my favorite parts.  Unfortunately, while Olivier and Garson “seemed” good in their roles individually, to me, they lacked the chemistry to make the story believable.  There are also a couple of changes in the film which I found curious.  For one, the costumes seemed more modern and more American than British.  This impression may be just in comparison to the 1995 version.  Another difference was that Darcy’s aunt refuses the marriage to Lizzy as a test of her love, whereas in the other versions, the aunt is doing it for reasons of societal class difference and because the aunt believes Darcy to be “given / promised” to her own daughter since childhood.  Basically, it makes the aunt a redeemable character, which I don’t believe she was meant to be.  I guess, I’ll have to read the book to find out ultimately.
Final recommendation:  moderate.  It’s okay.  I guess anything with Olivier is considered a “classic”.  I say it has historical interest, just as I enjoyed “Bride And Prejudice” (2004) because of the Indian / Bollywood interpretation.  (Review here.)
Having watched the 1940’s version, I decided to re-watch the 1995 BBC version.  Starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, this is widely considered one of the great BBC television productions of all time.  Running time is not quite 5-1/2 hours long and therefore this version has the time to flesh out the characters more than the more recent 2005 film version which I have seen multiple times.  My daughter (Rebecca) says she considers this the “definitive” adaptation of the novel to film.  I beg to differ with my favorite being the 2005 version.  I would put this a very close second though.
With this second viewing and having seen some of his other works, I am thoroughly a Colin Firth fan.  He kills this role.  Even though I’ve seen this version before, I must admit, I didn’t really remember it.  It has time to add a lot more to the story and IMHO, this makes the whole version better.  There is a “famous” scene of Darcy approaching a lake on his property.  If you know much about England, you know that even on the warmest of days, open water is rarely warm.  This is actually one of the reasons accidental drowning is so common there (several hundred each year).  Anyway, Darcy is despondently approaching a lake and my first instinct was “plot twist, this isn’t going to end well”.  But then, of course, we get the now famous and career making wet T-shirt (ok, it’s a cotton long-sleeved pullover) scene of Darcy stumbling upon Lizzy on his way to the house to dry off.  Ladies still swoon…  LOL
Final recommendation:  Highly!!  I struggle to find things to criticize about this version.  Okay, it’s longer than the 2005 movie and Mrs. Bennet and Kitty are much more annoying in this version, but this slight comment is simply evidence of how good the whole is.  Well, worth re-visiting!
Stranger Things  (2016 / 2017)  —  series review
Stranger Things is a two-season (so far) science-fiction, horror, coming of age made for NetFlix series.  There are 17 episodes.  Eight in the first year and nine in the second.  The series occurs in the 1980’s, in a rural / sub-urban town in the mid-west (Indiana).  The series has lots of references and homages to earlier works of music and film from that period.  The series was recommended to me by my son (James), who advised me it was “MUST” see.  Even more than THOR, the (at that time) up-coming Justice League, Punisher or Longmire…  So, okay.  I watched it.  The series is very much an ensemble cast so I’m not going to bother listing all fifteen to twenty of the “main” actors.
Absolutely, terrific!!  The series has adults, older teens, younger teens, nerds, jocks and just regular folks.  It also has hell-hound aliens, extra-dimensions, mind-control, telekinesis and X-mas lights!  My son said, he hopes I don’t scare easily at night or I’ll have to watch all 17 hours straight through.  It wasn’t anywhere near THAT intense, but it is very good.  Basically, I’m (again) late to the party and this was the smash hit for NetFlix last year.  I’m jumping in here, one month after the release of the second season.  As per normal for NetFlix, the whole series for the year is released on the same day to encourage binge watching.  So, I did.  Season 1 on day 1 and Season 2 on the following day.
But, what is the show about?  Well, there’s a government experiment gone wrong.  They are developing children into “X-men”, with various abilities.  Season one is mostly about a girl with telekinesis abilities.  Season two brings in her “sister”.  Not really her sister, but they grew up together.  So, girl escapes and meets young boy from town.  Fall in love, blah, blah, blah.  In the meantime, the government agency has accidentally opened a gate into another dimension, which is a lot like ours, but it has been conquered by an alien (large spider-like shadow) which controls a bunch of little flesh eating aliens.  At the end of Season one, the girl saves her friends and the world by closing the portal.  Season two opens a year later and girl is still missing and the original abducted kid knows the aliens are coming back.  Blah, blah, blah, teen angst, blah, blah, blah, child angst, blah, blah, blah, adult angst.  Big finale, the kids kick alien butt and the girl saves the world.  Afterwards, smoochy, smoochy at the Winter Ball.
Final recommendation: Strong to highly.  This is a well made combination of practically every kids science-fiction movie you’ve ever seen.  Some of the references are almost (but not quite) tongue in cheek, but they work and this is a series well worth the time to watch it.  I’m not sure if I’ll watch it again soon, but I’m almost certainly up for another binge before the release of season 3, next year.  I would caution that although kids play predominant roles in this series, this is NOT for below age-12 viewing.  Some scenes can be intense and there is a moderate amount of alien violence.
The Punisher (2017)  —  series review
This series is a spinoff from the DareDevil series also on NetFlix.  The Punisher appeared in season two – and pretty much took it over – so, now he has his own show.  Basically, the family of a military expert is killed and he takes revenge against the killers.  In DareDevil, he does most of the work.  In this series, he almost finishes the job.  He leaves one guy, who he promises to come back for.  Blah, blah, blah.  Segue to season two…
Does it work and is it any good?  If you like this kind of thing (explosions, excessive violence, gratuitous sexual scenes, explosions, hand-to-hand combat, lots and lots of guns and gun fire, and did I mention explosions), and I do, then you’ll enjoy this series.  And, I did.  So, I enjoyed it…  The question was is it any good?  As a comic book adaptation, it is very good.  As an action / adventure / who-dun-it, it’s pretty good.  As a realistic portrayal of armed and unarmed combat, uh, it’s a comic book…
The series stars Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle / Punisher, Ebon Moss-Bachrach as his partner David Lieberman / Micro, Ben Barnes as Billy Russo (Frank’s wartime friend who ends up being a bad guy), Amber Rose Revah as Dinah Madani (Homeland Security Officer), Daniel Webber as Lewis Wilson (a confused Vet who becomes a domestic terrorist), Paul Schulze as William Rawlins (the main gov / CIA bad guy from “the war”), Jason R. Moore as Curtis Hoyle (the Vet “do-gooder” medic), Jaime Ray Newman as Sarah Lieberman / Micro’s wife, and Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page (a carry over from Daredevil).
The series is mostly dark, in the same vein as the DareDevil series, the Chris Nolan / Batman movie trilogy, and the recent John Wick movies.  It deals with a host of issues, from right and wrong, free press, privacy, vigilantism, friendship, personal loss, and a rather bizarre attitude that “justice” almost always ends with violence – particularly gun violence.  While the depiction of violence is pretty accurate, the depiction of physical recovery is essentially: “and then a miracle happens.”  There are scars, but recovery is almost instantaneous.  Like I said: comic book…
Final recommendation: moderate.  This series would be rated higher if they had let the actors simply act more and kill / maim less.  It is definitely for mature audiences ONLY.  It feels strange to say (admit) it, but I enjoyed the acting and the story more than I did the violence.  Go figure…
Final comment: I was not a follower of “The Punisher” character in the comic reading days of my youth.  I was reading them when he was introduced in DareDevil and Spiderman, but the character never “really” captured my pre-teen and teen imagination.  During my Army days though, I was an avid follower of “The Executioner” book series written by Don Pendleton, which was the basis for the comic character.  The monthly book series currently runs to over 400 episodes and is being ghost written since Pendleton’s sale of the series and subsequent death.
Thanks to any who managed to make it through the entire post.  Let me know if you agree / disagree with my reviews…
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On This Day In:
2016 Feeling Warm Yet?
Four Documentaries
2015 Just Like All The Others
2014 In My Own Vanity
2013 Filled With Words
2012 Lectio Auget Existentiae Meae
2011 Lied Lately?
2010 Born To Work At Faux News
Lost Again (Uh, Make That Still)
Qui Genus Humanum Ingenio Superavit
They’re Back… (Part 1)

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Movie review: “The Accountant”  (2016)
The Accountant” is an action / adventure / mystery / martial arts movie starring Ben Affleck as Christian “Chris” Wolff (accountant / really Batman as an internal auditor) and Anna Kendrick as Dana Cummings (female object of hero’s protective instincts).  Other main characters include J. K. Simmons as Raymond “Ray” King (government agent one – Obi Wan), Cynthia Addai-Robinson as Marybeth Medina (government agent two – Luke Skywalker), Jon Bernthal as Braxton (accountant’s brother / better known as the Punisher), Alison Wright as Justine (accountant’s sister), Jeffrey Tambor as Francis Silverberg (accountant’s mentor – Yoda), John Lithgow as Lamar Blackburn (bad guy), Andy Umberger as Ed Chilton (victim one) and Jean Smart as Rita Blackburn (victim two).  CAUTION: Spoilers follow!
Basically, Batman is feeling the heat from Gov Agents 1 & 2, so he decides to take an “easy” job, sorting out a bookkeeping error at a company about to go public and make a killing in their IPO (Initial Public Offering of stocks).  The female bookkeeper (Kendrick) has discovered the error and reported it to management, who feel obliged to sort it out before the IPO.  Enter Batman.  Blah, blah, blah, in early plot misdirection feign, victims one and two are killed by the Punisher.  Blah, blah, blah, action scene at farm.  Blah, blah, action scene saving object.  Blah, blah Batman and object fall in love.  Unrequited, of course.  He can’t say it and she can’t be sure he feels it (love).  Did I mention Batman is autistic?  Yup.  See above: “Blah, blah…”  Anyway, blah, blah blah…  Big fight at rich guy’s / bad guy’s house.  Batman reconciles with brother / Punisher after killing bad guy and all of the Punisher’s henchmen.  Batman gives object / unrequited love a going away present and rides off into the sunset.   Setting up the inevitable sequel…
Final recommendation:  this is a highly recommended movie!  The martial arts and gun play are both well done and realistic (ok, maybe I’m pushing that part a bit).  There is also a surprising amount of humor.  The acting is good: I don’t consider myself an Affleck “fan”, but he is terrific in this role – much better than as Daredevil or Batman.  I’ve only seen Kendrick in “Perfect Pitch“, and I also like her in that role, so I guess she’s two for two in my book.  I loved Bernthal in his Netflix “Punisher” role, and he too, is a winner in this movie.  Is it great cinema?  No, but it’s a very entertaining action movie woven into about a dozen (it felt like that many, anyway) story lines.  There is a substantial amount of violence, (gun violence specifically), so the movie is not appropriate for small kids.  Given the recent events in Las Vegas, there are probably quite a few adults who shouldn’t watch it either.  (Just saying…)  There is also a terrific closing song at the end of the movie!
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On This Day In:
2016 Better Value
2015 Any Port In A Storm
2014 Babies (II)
2013 Why The Young Stay In College Longer These Days
2012 Perceptions Of Worth
2011 Flavor
2010 Giants Win 1-0 !!

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Today’s post is reviewing four movies – one re-review and three new reviews.  The movies are: (old) “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016); (new) Immortals (2011); (new) Jason Bourne (2016); and, (new) Moneyball (2011).  Because this post is for four movies, it will be longer than normal.  If you’re not interested in my movie reviews, move along…  So, in alphabetical order…
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2016)  —  movie review
My original review can be found here from back in April.  Back then I gave it a “strong” recommendation as “entertaining”.  That review stands.  If anything, I might raise it to high.  I think I actually liked it more.  The plot still doesn’t make a lot of sense, but as previously stated: it’s a marketing gimmick to get three super-heroes together so DC can start a franchise.  Even given that, I still liked the movie a lot – more so than the first viewing.  I particularly liked Ben Affleck (Batman) and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman).  And, while Superman is never going to be my favorite super-hero, Henry Cavill owns the role like no one since Chris Reeves in the original “Superman – the Movie”.  The movie worked for me.  Bring on the Justice League of America!
Immortals (2011)  —  movie review
Okay, so in ancient Greece, some beefcake named Theseus (Henry Cavill aka Superman) is blessed / cursed by Zeus (Luke Evans) to protect humanity (well, at least the Greeks) from a mad tyrant – King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke).  Phaedra (Freida Pinto) plays the love interest, an Oracle of Delphi.  Anyway, blah, blah, blah, Theseus finds a magic bow (“The Epirus Bow”) and saves the world from the Titans.
Since I’d never heard of this “legend” tale, I looked it up on Wikipedia and it is completely made up.  The names of the characters appear in Greek history or mythology, but this myth / story does not.  Still, it’s a good tale.  The movie is from the same producers as “300“, so if you like that kind of bloody action, fights and special effects (and I do), you should find this movie to your visual taste.  Final recommendation: strong.  I picked this movie to see if Cavill can act in any other role beside Superman.  That didn’t work out so well as he plays a “minor” superman / hero here, too.
Jason Bourne (2016)  —  movie review
This is a movie I really wanted to see at the theater, but never got around to.  It’s the fifth in the series and the fourth with Matt Damon in the title role.  Matt skipped number four which starred Jeremy Renner.  (Wow.  Now I’ve got to go back and see that one again.)  While it was nice to see Matt back in the saddle, this movie makes absolutely no sense.  The plot is the same as the others (the first three), the CIA wants Jason Bourne dead and he fights back.  The special effects technology is upgraded, but it’s used badly and adds to the “huh?” factor.
I never thought I’d say this, since I much prefer Matt to Tom Cruise, but Ethan Hunt is now better in the Mission Impossible series than Jason Bourne is in this series.  And it’s not Matt’s acting.  It’s the story telling.  This movie is what it is: Matt / Jason fighting and running around and being super clever.  Other than that, it’s an extremely average action movie.  I’m sure Hollywood will try to string this out for another couple of sequels, but it’s running out of air and there’s a DNR on the patient’s chart.  Time for a better re-boot than we got with Jeremy.
Moneyball (2011)  —  movie review
What can I tell you?  It’s only been a couple of weeks since the Cubs won the World Series and I’m missing baseball…
This is one of those movies “based on a true story”.  Basically, Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) has to make a small market (ie “poor”) baseball team competitive.  He does it by introducing “Sabermetrics” to baseball.  Here, Sabermetrics is renamed as “moneyball”.  The baseball team is the Oakland Athletics (better known as the “A’s”).  The A’s lose three of their best players to teams with more money and in the struggle to replace them, Beane tries to redefine how you evaluate players using statistics instead of experienced baseball “eye-balls” (veteran scouts).  What happens is he turns the “rebuilding” team into one which not only makes the playoffs, but sets an American league single season consecutive winning streak.
The movie gives a fascinating look into the “business” of modern baseball, and, yes, I did get caught up in both the streak and the “romance of baseball”.  I liked Brad Pitt in Troy, but most of his stuff is just kind of “so-so” for me.  He is excellent in this role!  Final recommendation: High!!
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On This Day In:
2015 More Prejudice
2014 Say What?
2013 Daring Errors
2012 Are You Comfortable?
I Just Have To
In Flux
2011 True New
2010 A Job Well Started Is A Job Half Done
I See With My One Good Eye

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Batman v Superman (2016) –  movie review
Last Saturday I took my daughter Sarah to see the latest comic book movie: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice“.  The movie stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.  Wonder Woman is really only in a small role (screen time wise), but it is significant to the movie as the start of the Justice League.  Affleck is new to the role of Wayne/Batman, but was surprisingly much better than I anticipated given all of the negative reviews.  Cavill is reprising his role as Kent/Superman, and is still great in the role.
Is this a “good” movie?  Yes.  It is.  It’s not going to win anyone a best actor trophy and there are large parts of the movie which don’t make any sense, but it’s a movie about comic-book superheroes, so give me a break!  I enjoyed it.  It’s not a great “film”, but most (almost all) comic-book adaptations are not great films.  Who cares?  We don’t go to them for great acting or great dialog or great plot.  We buy our tickets for action, adventure, fantasy and special effects to match our imagination.  By this standard, BvS is entertaining and that is enough.
So, what is the movie about?  Basically, the movie is a marketing attempt to throw three super-heroes together to create a “team” so the industry can have a competing franchise to the Marvel Comic Universe.  The “team”, in this case, the Justice League, will then be able to spin out both League and individual heroes sequels.  If the medium proves as artistically deep as the comic book medium, movie studios will have created a money making machine which can span decades without ever having to come up with a “new” idea.  They just follow the bread crumb trail of the comics.
There is only one problem: actors age and comic book characters don’t.  Well, they do, but on a factor of about one year for every 8 to 10 years (“real” years) of the reader’s life.  In the movies, this is handled by substituting a new (younger) actor in the next sequel or re-booting the movie series (again with a new – younger – actor) usually about ten years after the latest origin story.
The other way to deal with the age issue is to age the hero along with the actor.  This can work (see the “Die Hard“, “Rambo” and “Rocky” films), but more often, not really (see Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight Rises“).  The point I’m getting at is that Affleck’s older Batman, and more specifically Bruce Wayne, is better portrayed than Bale’s.  And, one step farther, I think this will bode well for future League sequels.
Now, some of you might ask: what does any of this “really” have to do with this movie.  Probably nothing.  Just the meandering thoughts of an old comic-book reader…
So, final recommendation: strong.  Standing on its own, it is entertaining.  And, if you don’t go see it, you won’t know what’s going on in the sequel.
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On This Day In:
2015 Remarkable Creations
2014 Measured Faith
2013 April Fool, n.
2012 Faith, Ego And Patriotism
As It Happens
2011 What Counts

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Yesterday our electric power went off for about 12 hours.  We believe it was due to high winds blowing down a power line somewhere, but of course the electric company (PG&E) never call you and tell you what caused the problem.  Anyway, Hil (my wife), Sarah (my younger daughter and youngest child) and I sat in the living room simply chatting by candle light.  It was quite entertaining, in a family bonding kind of way which you normally only see on the Hallmark Channel.  (LOL)
When it came time for bed, we brushed our teeth and did all of our preparation by candlelight.
Now, I snore.  More accurately, I SNORE LOUDLY.  I also have sleep apnea, which means I stop breathing when I sleep.  This condition is common among those who are overweight (and I am) and I use a machine called a CPAP (stands for “continuous positive airway pressure”) to blow air into my nose to keep me breathing (and it also prevents snoring).   So, no ‘leckie, no breathie, but lots of snoring.
We went to bed around 10pm and by 12:30, my Hil had waken me about a half dozen times and finally was on the verge of tears: “I just can’t sleep.  You have to go in another room.”
“Another” room is the living room at the far end of the house…  So off I trundled down the hallway, sleeping bag in tow.  (Insert mental image of Linus with his blanket…)
With sleep apnea, a part of your throat gets blocked, air is cut off, you can’t breath and (if you’re lucky) you startle yourself awake to start the sleep cycle/wake over again.  In my case, which is only a moderate case, I stop breathing about 70 times per hour.  A little over once every minute.  Thank god for CPAPs!
Sometime during the night,  PG&E fixed the outage and I was awakened by a glaring light shining in my face.  We had left the end table light turned on when the power went off.  So, I pulled the cushions off the floor and put them back on the couch and folded the sleeping bag to be re-shelved later in the (real) morning.  …And I trundled back down the hall to get back into bed.  The clock said it was just after 3:10am and I normally get up for work at 4:30am.
To make a longer story shorter, mask on, snoring stopped, sleep resumed.  Wake up late and call into to work to ask for a day of vacation (annual leave) to recover from an exhausting night of trying to sleep.  As it’s New Year’s Eve, there isn’t much going on, so the boss says she’ll see me next year.
And to make “good” use of the day, I turned to my latest discovery  —  Netflix!!  Yes, I “know” this is not a “real” discovery, but us dinosaurs are known for being slow and lumbering…
Movie Review:
Today I watched “I, Frankenstein” staring Aaron Eckhart as the monster.  This is one of those movies where you should NOT watch the preview immediately before watching the film.  If you do, the film is ruined because it is then almost 100% predictable.  I am an Eckhart fan and have been since watching his performances in “The Core” back in 2003 and “Battle: Los Angeles” in 2011.  Anyway, he is not bad in this role.  It’s not a defining role like Downing’s Ironman or Bale’s Batman, but this movie was obviously set up to be a series starter in a similar genre to the “Underworld” movie series.  There are competing immortals locked in an eternal war and along comes a third party, in this case, the Frankenstein monster.  A human, created by a human, but without a soul.   Blah, blah, blah…  Lots of unrealistic fights made possible by pretty good special effects, but in the end, only a so-so movie.
The movie bombed at the box office, and worse, doesn’t seem to have found a niche following, so it seems unlikely to be the money spinner the producers had hoped for.
But, is it really that bad?  No.  It is an interesting twist on the Frankenstein mythology and while it’s by no means a great movie, I did enjoy it.  If you can accept the premise that Adam (the name given to the monster – first man created, get it?) is virtually indestructible, then the unrealistic fights are at least visually entertaining.  While there doesn’t seem to have been much money spent on the bad guys (the demons), there is a fair amount of CGI on the good guys (gargoyles who protect humanity) and their special effects are pretty decent.  Again, this comment is not directly addressed to this movie as much as it is expressed as an IT person who goes to movies of lots of genres JUST to see the CGI / FX / technology.  For example, there is a large stained glass window broken and some of the glass lands on an altar / table.  When the table is moved, the reflections in the glass shards change.  Regardless of the rest of the movie, I think that’s pretty cool!
So, final review – it’s an okay movie with an interesting twist on an old and familiar story which has some decent special effects.  Given the minimal cost of seeing the movie on Netflix, I’d say it was worth watching and if it remains available, I’ll probably watch it again.
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On This Day In:
2013 Best Wishes For 2014!
2012 My Creed
2011 It Probably Isn’t So

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Of late, I’ve been watching more DVD’s in my free time and reading less books.  I’ve also been reading a lot more other blogs instead of books.  I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, or even if this can fall under such “moral” concepts as good and bad.  I am generally against reading a book on-line.  Not because I am anti-technology, but because I’m a dinosaur and like the physicality (the touch and smell) of a “real” book.  e-books simply seem sterile.  I’m not sure why I don’t “feel” the same way about reading blogs, but I don’t.  I think it’s because reading blogs doesn’t seem to be discrete in the same way that reading a book feels.  Books start and end.  Blogs start and die.  Maybe “die” isn’t the correct word.  Maybe “wither and end” is a better description.  I guess most folks simply run out of time when other things in life start to get in the way.  Blogs are more conversational, and people sometimes just quit speaking…
I also really seem to be going through phases in my own blogging “life cycle”.  The first one to two years I was posting infrequently but they were longer posts about things which were moving me emotionally.  Gradually, I started adding quotes, favorite speeches and poems (and favorite song lyrics) and then finally my workout history.  Typically, I made multiple posts on the days when I had free time, and then there was nothing for a couple of weeks.  My daughter “introduced” me to scheduling, and that kind of evened out my postings.
Every now and then I’d post a review of a movie I’d seen or book I’d read.  Then, of course, my tendency to be obsessive meant I had to do them daily (or as near as possible to the actual day viewed / completed).  “Mostly” that has remained true, which means that some days, you’d read my scheduled post and then later get a second about whatever was currently happening (like today).
I had few “views” and even fewer “followers”, but that was (is) okay because I was (am) blogging for me and not for you (sorry about that dear readers).  A couple of times a month I might get a “like” and once in a blue-moon I would get a “comment”.  I always responded to the comments, even if it was only to smile ” 🙂 ” and say thank you.  I almost always went back to the “likes” to see what their sites were about.  Not because I wanted to read anyone else’s site (per se), but because I was curious about the someone’s which were responding to my random thoughts (postings).
It wasn’t long before I was stumbling upon really creative and interesting people.  You’ll have to excuse me if I seem anthropomorphic, but I think of your blogs as you (and yes, I realize they are only the “you” you want me to see).  Over time (sometime in year three), the number of “likes” got to be too great to visit each every day and I began the slow slide into “following” myself.  I now have a couple hundred “followers” and I “follow” several hundred too.  At first this wasn’t a big deal as most bloggers either post a couple of times a month or post five or six times a day (but they are photos and quotes which don’t take long to view).  Slowly, though, I noticed I was reading more and more blogs which were posting more frequently, with more content and which took more and more time to consider (not just read, but think about and consider the “impact” on my thoughts).
I must admit I’ve now reached the saturation point.  Where once I obsessively followed each posting on every blog, I then began to flitter like a butterfly amongst the blogs I follow.  I now have realized that I simply lack the time to “touch” them frequently (even with the weekly round-up).  However, I simply do not have enough hours in the day to enjoy all of your work.  Reading (books in particular) is my passion.  Trying to note / record a few of the thoughts which touch (or move) my soul has become the purpose of this blog.  For now, I must apologize to those, who like me, are casting threads into the ether.  If you see me “like” or “comment” on your sites fewer times than I have in the past, this is not a dispersion on your blog, as much as it is a recognition that time is fleeting and life is wondrously short…
DVD Reviews:
I’ve actually watched five different DVDs since my last movie review, so in addition to my lengthy lead-in (above), you’ll now have to bear up under another large chunk of reading.  The five DVDs are: “The Informant!“, “The Last Airbender“, “The Iron Giant“, “The Dark Knight Rises“, and “Ip Man: The Final Fight“.
The Informant!” stars Matt Damon as an up-and-coming executive at a corporate agribusiness, who upon feeling threatened by the failing project he is assigned, decides to become an inside agent for the FBI in an investigation of price fixing.  The movie is based on a real-life case, but is meant to be treated as a kind of black comedy.  To be honest, although I am a Damon fan, this was a movie I could not wait to end.  I found it tiresome and humorless.  I guess the comedy was supposed to be in the irony, because it certainly wasn’t in anything else.  If you are a committed anti-agribusiness advocate, this movie may confirm / support some of your worst fears.  For anyone else, give it a miss.  Final recommendation: not recommended.
The Last Airbender” is a children’s kung-fu, magic, sorcery, fantasy movie.  The story and acting is suitable for the target age (5 to 12 yrs old).  The special effects are quite good.  My son watched the TV series the movie is based on and he hated this movie.  My daughter, who did not follow the TV show has friends who did and she says they all uniformly hate this movie.  I have never seen a single TV episode, so my review must be taken with a grain of salt.  I enjoyed it!  It’s not great cinema, but really, how much great cinema comes out of the 5 to 12 target audience which is based on the above description (okay, I grant you the first “Kung-Fu Panda” was pretty good).  This movie has none of the humor or heart of “Kung-Fu Panda”, but it’s okay.  By the way, I got it used for $3, so it’s not like it broke the bank to view it.  It is obviously meant to be the first in a long line of series / sequels.  Will I watch them.  Probably, but I won’t see them at the theater, even at a discounted matinee price.  Final recommendation: an okay action movie to kill a few hours watching with your kids, nieces and nephews.
The Iron Giant” is throw-back to earlier animation movie style – pre-3d (“Toy Story“), Saturday-cartoonish flat style.  Basically, a metal robot is sent to destroy earth.  It is damaged and then assisted by a young boy who befriends the robot.  The robot is a weapon which “learns” to be non-violent.  This is a twist on the “Frankenstein” / “Number 5 Is Alive” Sci-Fi movie where the “bad guy” is not necessarily the “un-human” character.  Anti-military, anti-government, pro-peace movie…  In any case, this is a very charming movie which (deservedly) has kind of a cult-classic following.  It is suitable for almost all ages.  Final recommendation:  Highly recommended!
The Dark Knight Rises” is the final movie in the Christian Bale, “Batman” trilogy.  I reviewed this movie back when I saw it at the theater (see that review here), and my review as it stood remains very accurate.  Well, maybe too kind…  Not much of this movie plot/story bears thinking about too much as it is all comic-book fantasy – even within the scope of comic-book adaptation it’s pretty far fetched.  But as stated in my original review, this is not the type of movie you go to for anything but fun and action.  One final point: the sound problem I had at the theater was not present while viewing the DVD, so basically the sound levels in the theater were screwed up.  The dialog is fully understandable.  Final recommendation: Still highly recommended.
Ip Man: The Final Fight” stars Anthony Wong in a dramatized biography of the Kung-Fu Sifu who taught the famous Chinese movie star / martial artist Bruce Lee.  This is the third in the series and it follows the life from the end of World War II to Ip Man’s death.  This is “Americanized” Chinese movie making, similar to a number of movies which have come out in the last ten or so years.  The movie’s production value is superb and up to the level of the martial arts in the film.  As such, plot, dialogue and action all make for a pretty enjoyable movie.  In terms of pure martial arts, I think the first movie was the best of the three, but again there is not much of a fall off between the sequel and this, so the series holds up very well.  If you are into the modern age of Chinese martial arts movies, this is definitely a must see.  Final recommendation: Highly recommended!
Thank you to all of you who’ve managed to make it through this lengthy posting!
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On This Day In:
2012 Thoughts And Communications
2011 But How Does Peter Feel?
2010 Name That Regret

 

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Another comic book collection from my son, James.  This is the re-boot of the Justice League of America as the “Justice League International: vol 1“, (2008©).  Does it work?  Yeah.  Is it great?  No, not really.
 

To start off with, the book is kind of drawn from the early 60’s method.  The book is hard-bound, rather than just thick paper like most of these “modern” collections.  And it’s done on old school paper, not the glossy stuff they put everything one these days.  Overall effect – I liked it!!
 

Now, meat and potatoes – the art work itself is good – old school, so not the super-heroic, ultra-muscle drawing so common today.  The story is well put together and has a decent flow.  It doesn’t jump all over the place like an Ang Lee movie.  As a first introduction to many of these characters, the book was well done.  Some of the characters are “old”, like Green Lantern, but he’s not the Hal Jordan character I grew up with.  Also, Batman is a very interesting character / leader in this version of the League.  I found that intriguing, because I was always used to Batman being the loner.  Finally, I appreciated how the various heroes have personality quirks which cause them to rub each other the wrong way.  That made for group dynamics I don’t remember ever seeing in DC Comics before.
 

Bottom line:  recommended reading.

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