Archive | April, 2011

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Reel Rhino Weekend Preview (04-29)

Posted on 29 April 2011 by Reel Rhino

Allow me to digress, before I get into the weekend movie report… First of all, everyone can calm down…the collective prayers of the public have been answered!    

Chuck Lorre, creator of Two and a Half Men, revealed this week that he has a plan that will allow the show to continue forward….without his eminence, Sir Charles Sheen, that is.
 
Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  

I know you were all so very worried.  Tornadoes are killing hundreds, but at least we will still have our favorite sitcom.     

The early report is that the reboot will involve Jon Cryer, but not much else is known.  Why not just change the name to One and a Half Men, and just keep it going as is?    

I just had to get that off my chest.  I am not a fan of Two and a Half Men.  I do not watch Two and a Half Men.  If they made it into a movie, then I would probably watch, in principal only.  But for now, no thank you.     

Enough of this nonsense.  For those of you able to tear yourself away from the pageantry of the Royal wedding, please read on.  Get on with it, Rhino?  What does the weekend hold in store?
 
New Movies Opening This Week:
Fast Five – Wow. What a creative name.  I actually find the Fast series to be good mindless fun, and but for the over the top cheeseball lines, I think these movies are completely watchable.  Grab your popcorn, set your brain to cruise control, and enjoy.  If you’re a boy who likes girls, a girl who likes boys, a boy who likes boys, or a girl who likes girls…you should be happy.  There is enough eye candy here to satisfy everyone.  I am actually a fan of Vin Diesel’s and the Rock’s alike.  For a good see also, please check out The Rundown, one of my favorite movies of all time.  Peter Berg is a talented visual director and Seann William Scott is funny in this non-Stifler role.  A really good sign is that this flick sits at 78% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, with 85 tallies in the bag.  With last week’s lackluster offerings, maybe this will be the proper start to the summer movie season?    
 
Prom – Tweens of the world rejoice.  This will be the movie that the girls love and the boys dread.  Or maybe I am interjecting my own memories of dread, when it comes to the prom.  I didn’t really strike my stride for romance until my college years, and my prom was little more than a series of awkward moments, followed by an all-night party of drinking one Zima and brushing against my dates bum once by accident.  Oh Joy.  Nope, this is a must miss for the ol’ Rhino.  50% at RT right now with 34 votes counted.  God help us if Rotten Tomatoes counted High School Newspaper critics.    

Hoodwinked Too! Hood VS. Evil –  If you haven’t seen the 2005 film, Hoodwinked, the film to which this is a sequel, you probably aren’t alone.  This is a shame, because as fractured fairy tales go, Hoodwinked is an enjoyable romp through some of our favorite children’s tales.  From the buzz around this effort, things have taken a turn for the ugh.  First sign things have gone wrong, Hayden Panettiere has taken over the role played with great skill in the original, by Anne Hathaway.  Oh, lament.  Hayden Panettiere you just goat roped Scream 4 and now this.  I think I have solved some of the mystery behind why this was even made.  Other than an indie dramedy last year, Cory and Todd Edwards, the brothers who were the brains behind the original film, have done seemingly nothing.  Just as desperation can fuel greatness, it can also fuel mediocrity or worse.  Sorry Edwards…it’s not fair of me to judge as I haven’t seen the film, but it doesn’t look good for you this go around.   

Dylan Dog: Dead of Night – This is perhaps the film being released this weekend that has me the most curious.  Let me lead by saying I was a huge fan of Darren Lynn Bousman’s 2008, REPO! The Genetic Opera.  How does it relate to this movie?  I have no clue.  But what I am trying to say is that I appreciate and enjoy original and creative films, certainly which includes Repo.  Dylan Dog is based on an Italian comic, featuring a paranormal investigator named….drumroll…Dylan Dog.  The titular character is played by Brandon Routh, who for his wooden delivery, I find charming and enjoyable.  I especially liked his turn as Super Vegan, Todd Ingram, in last years Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, which pulled in the #3 spot on my top films of 2010.  The first strike against Dog may be this….movies with colons in the title are rarely worth the extra ink for each dot in the colon.  Even worse of course, are titles with semi-colons.  So the question is this…is Dylan Dog doing what so many films (Repo included, unfortunately) have tried?  That is the false generation of cult status through creative marketing and titling.  I don’t know if that is the case, but I for one am looking forward to finding out.  Superman he may not be (I also liked that film as well!), but with a strong supporting cast (Peter Stormare, Taye Diggs, and Sam Huntington), I think it may have a chance.  If nothing else, I have a feeling that at least I will be entertained.  Final note of warning.  Dylan Dog did not screen for critics, so there is no Rotten Tomatoes score to offer as a preview.  Not screening films is reserved for the extreme upper echelon and for those studios who fear that they may be delivering a stinker.  Again, I hope this not to be true, but all ye have been warned.
 
Last Week’s Top Ten
1. Rio
2. Madea’s Big Happy Family
3. Water for Elephants
4. Hop
5. Scream 4
6. African Cats
7. Soul Surfer
8. Hanna
9. Insidious
10. Source Code
 
So I didn’t quite hit my predictions.  I’m not too upset as I feel I was in the right ballpark, but just off the foul pole.  I was 2 for 5 with all five I picked actually hitting the top five!    

My Box Office Predictions from Last Week:
1.Hop (#4)
2.Madea’s Big Happy Family (#2 — Yeah!)
3. Rio (#1)
4. Water for Elephants (#3)
5. Scream 4 (#5 — Yeah!)   

So I offer this to you.  I am making my predictions below, and I invite you to do the same.  We will start this as a fun game each week, but if there is enough interest, perhaps this can become a Blinkin Blogs contest.  I think it would be a first for the site and who doesn’t love the movies!  Add your picks to the comments below…here are mine:  

 My Box Office Predictions for this Week
1. Fast Five
2. Madea’s Big Happy Family
3. Rio
4. Prom
5. Water for Elephants
 
Now it’s time to get real, folks.  You may not know this about me, but I have a guilty pleasure that pits me opposite of many of my movie savvy friends.  I, Reel Rhino, am a Michael Bay apologist.  If Bay were here right now, he’d tell me to piss up a rope…he’d tell me he’s more than enough without me in his corner.  He would be right.    

Michael Bay is a visual genius.  Of course this is my opinion and many feel his visual style is too intense and overpowers the stories.    

Michael Bay made my boyhood dream a reality.     

He gave me…check that, he gave the world… GIANT F***ING ROBOTS FIGHTING.  

That was the mantra on the set of the first Transformers film.  Now my love of Bay began long ago.  Long before I took a shine to the more refined side of film.  That admiration has stuck with me all along, from his early days with one of my favorites, Armageddon, up to his last pre-TF film, The Island, his first flop, but also the first film he Directed not under the wing of Jerry Bruckheimer, but instead under the wing of Steven Spielberg.  That’s quite a wing to be under, folks.    

A boy and his car.  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen diverged quite sharply from the model of the first things.  The plot got muddled, the action got crazy, and for all its shortcomings, I remain a fan.  

  

With this long winded defense of his excellence, Dr. Bay, I offer you the must see video of the week…my apologies.  I tried to embed the file and I just don’t know how yet.  This link to First Showing should get you there, though.  First Showing is a movie blog site, with up to date news and trailers.  Must See TV for the cinephiles out there, as FS.net caters to all film genres, but will be especially pleasing to fanboys of the world.
     

Transformers: Dark of the Moon Theatrical Trailer
http://www.firstshowing.net/2011/must-watch-theatrical-trailer-for-transformers-dark-of-the-moon/

Until next time, take care.

Reel Rhino

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Royal Wedding Stupidity

Posted on 28 April 2011 by Thraxxus

Friday, Prince William of England, the guy who will most likely be crowned king in the near future, is getting married to “commoner” Kate Middleton. Given that humans in the western world are addicted to the concept of royalty, although in principle most people are actually against it, this is big news. Americans are throwing huge parties to celebrate. Why? Who the hell knows. The Brits have nothing to do with us regarding their ruling party, especially when you consider we once declared war on them to get our independence, but who is counting right? No we Americans love a good fairy tale and this unholy union is as close as one can get to being a real life fairy tale.So what do the British think?

Let us first consider the cost of this torrid nightmare: Estimates come in at 32 million. WHAT?!?! Yeah. Check out the highlights of the costs.

  • The Royal wedding cake: $80,000 (average U.S. wedding cost is $540)
  • Kate Middleton’s wedding gown: $434,000 (average U.S. dress price is $1,099)
  • The royal wedding flowers: $800,000 (average U.S. wedding flower price is $1,988)
  • The ring: $136,000 (average U.S. wedding $5,392) – Note: the ring was actually free because it was Princess Diana’s ring, however Prince Charles purchased it in 1981 for $45,000 and it estimated to be worth $136,000 in 2011.

But hey! It is Royalty right? What kills me is this bit from the article:

“Who pays for the royal wedding? British taxpayers do, although Prince Charles will pay most of the wedding bill, however the taxpayers will pay for the security. The Middleton’s are rumored to be paying for the wedding gown.”

And there folks, is the rub. It turns out that the British Empire isn’t doing so great these days, financially speaking, and thus it appears that some Brits are not too happy about this royal debacle. People are losing their asses, meanwhile the tax payer has to pick up the tab for a bunch of ridiculously rich people to have a party? Good times we live.

Let them eat cake.

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Reel Rhino’s Weekend Update

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Reel Rhino

Rhino…the weekend is already underway!  Where Rhino…where have you been?

Sorry I’m tardy gang, but I was busy catching flicks.  And since I do that for you, I will assume your forgiveness would be offered and I accept.

~~~~~
This Post:
New Releases
Box Office Predictions
The Conspirator (4 of 5 Horns)
Win Win (5 of 5 Horns)
Jane Eyre (4 of 5 Horns)
~~~~~


The new, wide-release films for this weekend include:

Water for Elephants
Madea’s Big Happy Family
African Cats

Oh what a weak, weak weekend.  Of these three, African Cats, the full-feature documentary on…drum roll…African cats, seems the most interestings to me.  Narrated by Morgan Freeman-in-training voice talent, Samuel L. Jackson, Cats seems to be the perfect family friendly fare, as it is a G-rated Doc from Disneynature Films.

So what of the adult fare?  Madea?  Elephants?  Which way do you go?

For me, I have no personal draw to either of these films and for each of their sake, I feel both films are opening in a troublesome weekend.  It is Easter weekend and many families will be headed out to the theater, looking for family friendly films.  And just so you don’t think I am taking a religious-centric attitude towards this theory, but the most recent Gallup poll on the topic, places nearly 77% of Americans in the category worshiping under some form of Christianity.

Not my intention to start a religious debate, but being the Blinkin, I wanted to at least share that I thought for a moment before using Easter as an impetus for skewing the weekend results.

Okay…what was I saying?  Oh yeah, movies.

Madea’s Big Happy Family will do well.  Tyler Perry has skills when it comes to making and marketing movies and his fans usually pay their respects in droves.  But will the weekend scenario keep him from taking the top slot at the box office?

Water for Elephants…a film based on a 2006 novel, which spent 12 weeks on the NY Bestsellers List, peaking at #7.  Water for Elephants is directed by Francis Lawrence, a former music video director and also director of the (actually watchable) Keanu Reeve’s vehicle CONSTINTINE and the equally watchable I AM LEGEND.  So what to think about this?  Can I take it seriously with Team Edward (Edward Pattinson) in the lead?  I am not big on Reese Witherspoon, but she has had some gems and then there’s Christoph Waltz.  A diamond in the crown of a film, Inglourious Basterds, and a decent component in the less than decent offering of The Green Hornet.  Oh let us lament The Green Hornet.  I am not interested in Water for Elephants to any great extent, but the real question is this: will Team Edward fans be enough to raise this drama to the top of the box office?

Let’s look at some of the competition…last week’s box office top five were:

1. Rio
2. Scream 4
3. Hop
4. Hanna
5. Soul Surfer

This being a family weekend…this being Easter weekend…I am making a bold prediction…

HOP will take the day and ride it out on top.  This meager attempt at creating a holiday legacy ran at #1 for two weeks.  It was #3 last week and for its milqutoast level of excitement, I think it will have enough draw on topic alone.

What do you think?  Here’s my pick for the weekend 5:

1. Hop
2. Madea’s Big Happy Family
3. Rio
4. Water for Elephants
5. Scream 4

Over the last two days, I had the opportunity to see two films, both in at least their second week but only in limited runs so far.  I don’t think either will make an appearance on my list.
~~~~~

THE CONSPIRATOR
Robert Redford directs this period epic that looks at the days following the death of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.  Emancipator of slaves, leader of the Union during the Civil War…his death was truly a tragedy.

Unless you took a class in American History or have read any of the recent offerings covering the conspiracy leading to the assassination, the extent of your knowledge on the subject is probably this: John Wilkes Booth shot and killed Abraham Lincoln while the venerable leader was attending the theater.

The Conspirator looks at the complex plot that was hatched in the boarding house of Mary Surrat.  Actually, it doesn’t look at the plot so much, as it looks at the uncertainty that exists surrounding Mary Surrat’s knowledge and involvement in the planning of the killing.  Her son, John, was friends with Booth and the plan certainly seems to have been hatched in that boarding house.  But in a best case scenario, is her ignorance deserved of death, the penelty suggested by the military tribunal called to preside over the criminal trial?

Redford’s politics brim over the edges a bit, but in manageable doses.  And who can disagree that perhaps those making decisions were doing so through misguided eyes.  The President was dead, the Civil War had just ended, and the nation was in turmoil.  Of course rash decisions were made.

I am pretty sure, as it stands, that the search of Mary Surrat’s boarding house did not reveal any weapons of mass destruction.  At least she had that going for her.

I found this movie entertaining and well-acted.  The star-studded cast includes Kevin Kline, James McAvoy, Tom Wilkenson, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Colm Meaney, Justin Long, Evan Rachel Wood, and Alexis Bledel.  This film provides a window into what procedural TV would have been like if Law and Order had existed around the end of the Civil War.  This film functions wonderfully as a courtroom thriller as well as the drama upon which the framework is built.

Robert Redford is pure A-List and his work in front of or behind the camera is usually, if nothing else, well made.  Love him or hate him, I am thankful he exists in the film commuity for his work developing Sundance.  One of America’s truly great film festivals, Sundance is indepentant film.

THE CONSPIRATOR: 4 Horns of 5
~~~~~

WIN WIN
I saw this movie Friday on a whim at the tail end of a visit from my folks.  My dad is a kamakazi when it comes to early departures, and since he and my mother hit the road early, I was out the door as well for the bargain $5 show at AMC.

Win Win was written and directed by Thomas McCarthy.  McCarthy is best known for his acting work…as Dr. Bob, perhaps from the Meet the Parents series, among his many roles.  Honestly, as I hit IMDB to see his stats, I hadn’t realized that this Thomas McCarthy, whose additional work was The Station Agent and The Visitor, was so prolific.  He wrote and directed both films.  This guy has talent!  He even has a “story by” credit on Pixar’s UP!

This is a wonderful film.  I will tell you out of the gate, I give this film a 5 Horn of 5 review.  I loved every minute of it.  I do give some preference to Paul Giamatti as I do believe he is a treasure of modern cinema.  But his slightly subued everyman role is wholly believable here.  His wife is played by Amy Ryan, who for all her beauty, she absolutely becomes whoever she plays and this role is no different.

Win Win is a drama built around the spine of a sports film.  It is a sports film that will leave you wanting more…a hunger that will be satiated by the resolution of the drama.  It is a great film.

The story concerns an attorney (Giamatti) who is struggling in his practice.  He has a client who is in the early stages of dementia and is about to become a ward of the state, as his only daughter cannot be found.  Giamatti’s Mike Flaherty offers to become Gaurdian to old man Leo Poplar, but for the wrong reasons.  The well-off Poplar has a stipulation that an administration fee of $1500 a month will be collected by the Guardian.

Leo Poplar is played by Burt Young.  You know, Paulie from Rocky, Burt Young.  I loved him in this film.  It is a small role, but Young played it like a master.  I was moved by his performance, which was accentuated by his very convincing old man looks.

Flaherty tells Poplar that the judge stipulated that he is required to live in assisted living, when in fact it was arranged so that Poplar could have lived in his own home.  To seal the deal, Flaherty runs by Poplar’s house to turn off his water to make sure his pipes don’t freeze.

When he gets there, there is a boy sitting on the steps of the house.  The boy, Kyle (Alex Shaffer), is looking for his grandfather.  Flaherty obliges him with a visit to see Gramps, and since Kyle is traveling alone, Flaherty takes him in.

Kyle’s mother is in drug rehab, and Kyle is a lonely boy.  Flaherty moonlights from his law practice as a wrestling coach, a former wrestler himself.  Kyle asks Mike if he can practice with the team, and we learn fast that Kyle is a great talent on the mat.

His past as a troubled youth seems to melt away when he is tossing other young men around the gym.  This is where the sports movie kicks in.

This film is insanely witty and well-paced.  The drama picks up at the end, but for the seemingly weighty content, it never becomes a downer.  I found this to be “feel good” from start to finish.

The cast is excellent with support from Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, and Melanie Lynskey.  See this movie.  It is rated R, but minus a few fantastically placed F-bombs, it is pure PG-13.  I hate that this R rating will limit the audience that this film finds.

McCarthy is a genius and this film completes the writer/director’s trifecta of excellent films.

Make this your weekend choice if you can. I think Hop will take the weekend, but for my money, this would be my pick.

Win Win: 5 of 5 Glorious Horns
~~~~~
Jane Eyre
I mentioned last week the classic offering, JANE EYRE, a film by Cary Fukunaga.  I mention is again here because if you are looking for an alternative to the more recent releases, this movie could be for you.  This film stars Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Judi Dench and is the lastest filmic rendering of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel of coming of age.  The story itself is great, but director Fukunaga has woven a dark, forboding thriller, that is edgy and fresh.  Jane Eyre is dark.  Many shots are lit by nothing but ambient candle light.  Fukunaga’s efforts, when combined with fantastic art direction and a wonderful score, all equal a wholly watchable film that leaves you completely satisfied.  As Jane Eyre goes into a wider release this weekend, consider checking it out.

JANE EYRE: 4 of 5 Horns.
~~~~~
Enjoy your Easter, if that’s your cup of tea…if not, kick back and see a movie just for the hell of it.

Until later, take care.
Reel Rhino

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Standard Model of Particle Physics Proven?

Posted on 23 April 2011 by Caravaggio

For those of you who are not hooked into the Physicist Rumor Mill, recently a “note” was leaked from CERN pertaining to a claim of identification of the illusive “God Particle” or more appropriately, “observation of a resonance at 115 GeV.” In short, this logged event is what is expected if there were a Higgs at that mass, but the sheer number of events witnessed remains about 30 times more than the standard model predicts.

So… is this a hoax or is this evidence of initial data that requires further filtering?

For your rumor-hungry minds, here is the leaked note:

Internal Note
Report number ATL-COM-PHYS-2011-415
Title Observation of a γγ resonance at a mass in the vicinity of 115 GeV/c2 at ATLAS and its Higgs interpretation
Author(s) Fang, Y (-) ; Flores Castillo, L R (-) ; Wang, H (-) ; Wu, S L (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Imprint 21 Apr 2011. – mult. p.
Subject category Detectors and Experimental Techniques
Accelerator/Facility, Experiment CERN LHC ; ATLAS
Free keywords Diphoton ; Resonance ; EWEAK ; HIGGS ; SUSY ; EXOTICS ; EGAMMA
Abstract Motivated by the result of the Higgs boson candidates at LEP with a mass of about 115~GeV/c2, the observation given in ATLAS note ATL-COM-PHYS-2010-935 (November 18, 2010) and the publication “Production of isolated Higgs particle at the Large Hadron Collider Physics” (Letters B 683 2010 354-357), we studied the γγ invariant mass distribution over the range of 80 to 150 GeV/c2. With 37.5~pb−1 data from 2010 and 26.0~pb−1 from 2011, we observe a γγ resonance around 115~GeV/c2 with a significance of 4σ. The event rate for this resonance is about thirty times larger than the expectation from Higgs to γγ in the standard model. This channel H→γγ is of great importance because the presence of new heavy particles can enhance strongly both the Higgs production cross section and the decay branching ratio. This large enhancement over the standard model rate implies that the present result is the first definitive observation of physics beyond the standard model. Exciting new physics, including new particles, may be expected to be found in the very near future.
See: http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1346326?

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Music – Why buy it?

Posted on 22 April 2011 by Thraxxus

I love music, all kinds, pretty much everything except for modern rap (granted a few bits by Eminem are cool) and country, which makes me want to vomit. I collect what many would call heavy music – Classical and Opera/Choral. I know, I know – old grumpy grandpa man! Collections and tastes aside I have been spending quite a bit of time looking at the music industry as of late not from a who is doing what sort of perspective but rather from a delivery platform perspective. How do you get your music? Do you buy it in traditional CD format – amusing that we call that traditional now. Perhaps you collect old LPs? Maybe you have an iPod and buy your songs individually off of the Apple Store? Maybe you use file sharing on the interwebs (btw this is cool stuff, is considered pirating, and will put you in the position to download a virus very quickly)?

No matter how you get your musical fix now I plan to tell you how you should get it in the future. The method I suggest works only if you don’t want a specific song at your beckon call at all times –  if you want that I suggest you go buy it from the Apple store. The slightly more arduous way to listen to a particular song, and the way that I do it, is to go to youtube and search for it. Amusingly enough it turns out that this is the most popular use for youtube now – listening to music – as youtube has a built in system for creating playlists. Cool stuff and I practically live on youtube listening to music when I am not doing what I am about to talk about: streaming.

There are many music delivery platforms that all utilize what is known as streaming – if you don’t know what streaming is then you probably don’t use the interwebs at all. So where to stream from and why? Here is a brief list via google – only 125 million results. There are a few big options that I like but one in particular that I suck with.

  1. Grooveshark is a cool service with a very simple interface – catch is they don’t have a huge selection of music types. their name implies a more modern grouping of music and thus that is what they focus on with one throw to Classical. In fact they have only 6 default stations in the mix which seems a bit light to me. Classical, Rock, Indie, Rap, Pop and Electronica. I give them kudos for their easy interface and alarming quick to connect streaming – you click a button and the music just starts – most systems have at least a few seconds of load time. Their playback list on the bottom of the screen is nice as well. Grooveshark alos let’s you search for music and create simple stations around your likes.
  2. Pandora is the system I started with way back when nobody knew who they were and they were still in beta. Their system is all about your making the station – period. In fact I don’t think that they have their own built in stations.  Pandora is all you all the time. Basically you enter in a song or group and Pandora makes suggestions on like minded music and slowly creates a tailored list for you by you flagging music you liked or didn’t like. After a while you end up with a music profile if you will. Drawback? Getting pigeonholed. My suggestion is to flag music sparingly – unless you really love something or really hate something just leave it alone. Sometimes Pandora also goes off the rails and delivers music that is NOTHING like what you wanted. No idea why this happens but it does, just go with it.
  3. Slacker is now my streaming music channel of choice – granted my friend is the technical dude behind the entire project, but that actually didn’t persuade me in any fashion as I was using Slacker before I even knew that he was. Call it Serendipity. The reason I like Slacker over the other two is that it is really the bastard child of them but much more. There are an amazing amount of pre-made channels, 17,  to select from and each one of those channels has more specific sub channels – the Alternative channel has 14 sub stations. This all sounds glorious but it gets better! You can also make an endless supply of your own stations. They also have many other features such as album viewing, artist look up etc that you can use. The one tragedy to these guys is that they apparently made a mobile device to serve up their service that failed miserably – however I believe you can download their app on other mobile devices carrying along with it your online profile. Good stuff.

In closing – why would you buy music at all? Yes artists will get bent with me here as that is how they make a living, so if you want to support the musical arts monetarily speaking then, yea, you can buy music. If you want to just mindlessly listen to music at work? I would go with streaming – unless of course you can’t do that at work, in which case I pity you.

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Politics? Taxes? Which?

Posted on 20 April 2011 by Thraxxus

This is an image that has been circulating around the interwebs lately that likes to point out how various corporations (read this as massive conglomerates probably controlling your every move through a mixture of mind control, zombie juice, drugs, and most likely hookers) eluded paying taxes at all this year. The amusing things to note:

  1. The image comes from a Unites States Congressman. (supposedly)
  2. The companies listed all had huge net profits.
  3. Many of the companies discussed were beneficiaries of TARP.
  4. Many of the companies listed enjoyed telling the world they were going to fail, needed help, and were doomed. They all are swimming in cash.
  5. Ask yourself this – how do you have huge net gains and pay no taxes? How is that even possible?

That’s all for now. Enjoy.

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Oil Spill – Mum is the word.

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Thraxxus

So a year ago a small oil company called BP had this oil rig in the gulf of Mexico go boom. Several people died. 2.5 million barrels of oil were launched into the Gulf – no biggie. People are still “working” with BP to set things straight. What has happened since then and what is going on now? The list is both troubling and sad.

  1. BP announced that they are doing very well now. (Surprised?)
  2. The fishing industry is back up and running in the Gulf – or is it?
  3. Lots of people got paid off for damages. (LOL! Not really. Some got some money many others are still in line.)

Stop here for a moment as I think the list needs to go no further. Here on Blinkinblogs we talk about conspiracies etc all the time because frankly they are fascinating. The article that I just linked you to has a few statements in it that are very troubling.

“Scientists already are finding that their studies are being impeded by civil and criminal investigations into the spill and its effect. For instance, researchers looking into a spate of dolphin deaths that may be linked to oil-fouled seas were told by the National Marine Fisheries Service to keep mum about their findings. ‘Because of the seriousness of the legal case, no data or findings may be released, presented or discussed outside the UME [unusual mortality event] investigative team without prior approval,’ the agency told scientists in a letter.”

WHAT? So if you find anything really bad don’t say anything because it could be legally damning? REALLY? No shit. So say some scientists come along and discover that the fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is going to be totally toast in the next four year they shouldn’t mention it? WTF not? How is that okay? Are they saying that the public, especially those dependent upon the fishing industry in the GoM, don’t have a right to know? Yes, yes they are.

“Even the federal government’s assessment of what happened to the oil, released last August and updated in November, has been widely criticized by experts who think it downplays the seriousness of the spill’s impact. Georgia Tech biologist Joseph Montoya complained last year that the federal government’s estimates ‘always seemed to be biased to the best case.'”

I think we all remember the moving target numbers the government supplied. 5k barrels a day! (Some scientists refutes that claim) Okay!! 15k barrels a day! (some other scientists claims that everyone working for the government is mentally retarded in some fashion) Okay already! Maybe more like 110k barrels a day!  Yeah no shit.

Big fan of this one – “But here are a few statements that everyone can agree with: Some of the oil evaporated, some was gobbled up by microbes, some was burned, some washed up onto shore, some is still washing up as tar balls, some was dispersed in the sea, and some settled to the bottom of the ocean.” It could be ANYWHERE. Think that through.

And now the finale. “He said that 400,000 barrels’ worth of oil (1.7 million gallons) leaks into the Gulf of Mexico from natural seeps every year, and that the Gulf’s ecosystem has evolved to handle such natural contamination. “This has been going on for millions of years, literally,” he said. ‘The bacteria that degrade oil are naturally adapted to degrade this oil. They do it quite well.'” OMFG.

Basically these guys are saying “you know.. since this happens all the time anyway.. it is really not that big of a deal!”

Why has nobody been hung for this?

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Yawn 4…Oops, I mean SCREAM 4 Review

Posted on 16 April 2011 by Reel Rhino

Scream 4 was supposed to be something wonderful.  The master, Wes Craven, supposedly back at what he does best with characters that he knows so well.  Kevin Williamson again the scribe, writing again revitalizing the series that he and Craven together created.

Such was not the case.

Scream 4 opened very strong.  The first 10 minutes of the film feature several cameos and a sequence that could perhaps define the term “meta.”  I think that Williamson realized this as well and liked the thought so much that he actually worked the term “meta” into the script as a joke later in the film.

The joke didn’t take. 

Such was the problem with so many of the jokes, just missing the mark.  I am sad to say that much of it was timing.  Courtney Cox and David Arquette have both been funny in the past, but not here.  But wait, Reel Rhino, why should these folks being funny even matter…this is a horror film!

Well comedic undertones were present in the first three of this series and this combination of laughs and scares is what has made this film series so successful…up until now.

We join the action in Scream 4 with the return of the iconic Sindey Prescott (Neve Campbell) to the iconic town of Woodsboro.  She is in town for her book release, a story of survival and creating a new sense of being in the aftermath of tragedy.

Campbell is subdued throughout the film, even in the moments of terror that she experiences that one would think should result in some kind of a rise.  Perhaps she (Prescott) is jaded to the thought of having a knife lunged towards her.  Perhaps it is her continued ability to place so perfectly escape kicks, just barely eluding that dastardly villain, Ghostface Killer.

But for this returning cast, none of the primaries, Campbell, Arquette, or Cox, gave anything of substance to this film.

As we are introduced to this world, Dewey is now Sheriff and Gale, his wife.  Dewey demonstrates the same level of grace, or lack thereof, that he had in the previous entries.  Gale demonstrates a great impatience with living in a small town.  I think that Cox and Arquette are again an item off-screen, but there was little chemistry between them on-screen.  There was certainly nothing coming close to the believable awkwardness that made them an enjoyable and unlikely pair from the first set of films.

There is a new generation of high school students, the main character of which, Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts), is Sidney’s Cousin.  We get also Hayden Panettiere of Heroes fame, a hip young actress, sporting a not-so-flattering short hairdo that is millimeters away from 100% pure mullet.  Roberts and Panettiere are just two of the fresh faces that populate this new version of Woodsboro.

The faces are new, the story is not.

Other than adding Twitter, Facebook, streaming video-casts, and non-stop text messaging by all of the younglings, this is the same old story, rehashed.

I was bored by this movie.

One of my chief complaints is that while red herrings were a plenty, there was barely a single time that someone dropped into perceived peril, that they weren’t actually engaged and/or killed by our villain.  How can you build suspense if you don’t juke right at least once, but actually drive left for the hoop?

At various points throughout the film, as the previous entries have done, the movie-geek world was called upon in practice as well as in dialogue.  It was continuously referred to that with a new series, the stakes are higher and the outcome would be crazy. 

Crazy?  Really? 

I would argue just the opposite.  Craven offered us nothing new but a little bit of technology.  And how does that make this so fresh?  I mean if you did everything the same as in 1996, you would essentially have created a period horror film.  Of course kids are going to be texting…that isn’t enough to woo me into loving this film.

Generally speaking, the ending was watchable, but I think only because with all of these films, you have little to no legitimate foreshadowing to guess how it will end.

I mean for all intents and purposes, at the end of any of these films, they could make the killer Glenda the house maid, who was otherwise until the moment of the reveal, an unseen character.  A few lines of witty dialogue would explain it. 

Worry not, movie goers, I didn’t just spoil the ending for you, but rather I am pointing out a weakness of horror films today.

I love horror done right.  This is not horror done right.

More specifically, I was shocked at how wooden Emma Roberts came off throughout the film.  I have enjoyed her previously, see also: It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Lymelife, both indie dramedies.  She has talent; it just wasn’t featured properly here.  I don’t think Auntie Julia hasn’t done much horror; maybe it isn’t in the blood.  Papa Eric has done a few genre flicks, but they weren’t scary for the right reasons.  Perhaps the young Roberts should stick to indie cinema?

As a final note, while this R-rated film still lacked the T&A that is a welcomed benchmark for designating truly great horror (tongue…meet cheek), Craven did manage to ratchet up the blood and gore.  It was really waster though, as pretty much everything was wide of the mark.

I give this movie a 1.5 Horn rating, out of 5 Horns possible.  Not so great considering the generally positive reviews it has received so far.  I think by week’s end, that RT score will fall…just overnight it slid from 63% to the not-as-fresh score of 58%. 

Here’s hoping there is something better in store for Reel Rhino this weekend.  I need to wash this film from the forefront of my movie mind.

Disagree with me…let me hear about it…comment below.  Rhino’s have thick skin…I’ll survive.

RR

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A future to rival its past?

Posted on 15 April 2011 by Caravaggio


This month marks the 50th year since Yuri Gagarin was proclaimed the first human in space. This also marks the 30th year since the Space Shuttle(s) began its remarkable career. With the final flight of the Endeavor looming ever so closer – which is the final flight for the Space Shuttle Program – I’m left pondering the mission for the soon-to-be Shuttle-less NASA.

Recently, Nature Journal (The International Weekly Science Journal) interviewed 7 experts to get their thoughts on NASA’s future. The experts ranged from NASA Chief Scientist to Science Fiction Writer. In no certain order, here is the feedback harvested from the seven interviews:

1) Get Us to Mars! Currently there is no clear cut agenda for Mars exploration beyond a small handful of proposed rover missions. If we set our sights on Mars several things come into our grasp. The most powerful of them all is establishing a colony outside of Earth.
2) Build a Case for Humans in Space. NASA continues to muddle along. Over the past 20 years we’ve spent $20 billion on research and development for getting humans into space via alternative means (sans big rocket). None have made it to the final test flight phase.
3) Send More Robots! NASA can maintain self-sufficiency by building a significant unmanned space flight program to explore NEO (Near Earth Objects, such as the Moon), our Solar System, and near-by Galaxies.
4) Deflect Risky Asteroids. Simply put… prioritize defending Earth from direct threats such as Asteroid Impacts. We’ve enough geological and paleontological data to discern it happened before and it is definitely going to happen again.
5) Find a United Purpose. Imagine NASA focused and committed towards leading an international spaceflight endeavor to search for habitable worlds?! To extend humanity’s reach to Mars and well beyond.
6) Ditch the Rockets! This represents very old technology. The only manner in which to fundamentally change humanity’s relationship with outer space is to engage in developing radically new launch and exploration systems.
7) Revolutionize Research. A concurrent, highly-Darwinistic approach to developing multiple crucial technologies is required now. No more fruitless efforts undertaken without a clear objective or end game in mind.

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Right Where You Are Sitting Now!

Posted on 15 April 2011 by scanjack

(The title borrows a phrase I believe was coined by RaW, an author of some very entertaining, thought provoking
books of which my favorite was the original version of “Cosmic Trigger”.)

You would have to have been living under a rock to not understand that “Big Brother” is watching you, and everyone you know these days. From security cameras, red light cameras to those cameras in your own office complex, you are more than likely vid-streamed or imaged several times during the course of your normal day. Big deal right?  “Who cares?!? I have nothing to hide.” is a tired refrain I hear/read most often. I suppose this may well be true, unless you didn’t realize that what you thought was protected freedom of speach/expression, is considered an
indicator that you might be a dangerous threat. Fire sale on Ron Paul bumper stickers.

So yeah, most people just don’t care (as ToyMaker makes a case for in a recent post) anyway. However, let us forge ahead and serve up some information about newer, rather far reaching technology – in the hands of well, anyone.

Creepy Stuff?!?
Bob does a nice job of laying out how this great data aggregation software can be used by anyone, pretty much any where, and take advantage of people blindly using this or that technology must have. If you must have this yourself, grab it here.

Still with me? So what might the government be doing with all this overload of technology? The Onion hit it on the head.

Facebook, a Dream Come True for the CIA!

This next bit in a nice cheeky, and dare I say a little snark thrown in, actually puts forth some facts.

More on just some of the facts, nothing to see here though.

All of this continually sets off my “Suspicion Theory Meter”, but hey! I’m probably just paranoid…

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A Short Word on the Weekend

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Reel Rhino

What’s happening, world?  Good to see you. Happy Friday to all!  I know I am slap happy for Saturday to hit.

My last post may end up being the longest you ever will get from me.  This post may be my shortest.

I have two quick points to make.

One: JANE EYRE, a film by Cary Fukunaga, starring Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, and Judi Dench, is the current revision of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel of coming of age story of lady power, in an era when lady power was just not the thing.  The story itself is great, but Fukunaga has woven this classic into a dark, forboding thriller, a bit more edgy (so I am told) than the source material.

You read that right…I have never read Jane Eyre.  Tell my high school English teacher and I will deny it.

Fukunaga is a director to keep an eye on.  His previous entry into feature directing, Sin Nombre (Without a Name), the Spanish language road trip tail of redemption and dreams of a better life, was nothing short of perfection.  Sin Nombre was masterfully directed and an eye opening and terrifying look into gang life.  The quality of Jane Eyre is on par with his previous outing.

Jane Eyre is dark.  Many shots are lit by nothing but ambient candle light.  Fukunaga’s efforts, when combined with fantastic art direction and a wonderful score, all equal a wholly watchable film that leaves you completely satisfied.

As Jane Eyre goes into a wider release this weekend, consider checking it out.

Two: Scream 4.

Wes Craven is back, but will it be worth it for we, the humble movie going public, to care?  I say assembling all of the surviving original cast was a great first step.  Adding Emma Roberts, Anna Paquin, and Hayden Panettiere can’t hurt, either.

So far and as of this writing, Scream 4 is running with a 63%, certified fresh rating, with 78 reviews in the can.  I like to keep my brain running when watching well done horror.  I hope that Craven can deliver.  By comparison, the mainstream Robert Redford flick, THE CONSPIRATOR, is coming in at only 52% on the tomatometer, with slightly fewer reviews, current count at 65.

I guess the exploits of the Ghostface Killer is slighty more hip fare compared against the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and “the story you’ve never heard”.  Personally, I want to see both…I’ll be back later in the weekend to bring you up to speed on my take.  I hope to enjoy both.  You know what they say, though…if hopes and buts were candy and nuts, then we’d all have a very Merry Christmas. (I think I stole that from Broken Lizard’s Slammin” Salmon)

Enjoy the weekend…I’ll be in touch.  If there is something else playing this weekend you are going to see…leave a comment below.

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A Bit on Zombie People

Posted on 14 April 2011 by Thraxxus

This morning my father was telling me about having discussions with his brother about the general feel of people you get when interacting with them in public in California – LA to be specific. My uncle has lived in LA, in the same neighborhood, his entire life, all 65 years of it, so chances are he has a general idea of what his neighborhood feels like, or rather has felt like over those years. He told my dad that it has changed dramatically. My uncle is a house painter and has a client list in the thousands – in fact he rarely gets new clients any more as his entire business is repeat customers. Same people for decades now. In the past 18 months or so he has noticed a wide phenomenon regarding attitude change with these people he has interacted with for all that time – sort of this zombie like expression.

Apparently, talking to these people now he gets next to no emotional interaction with them at all. He can be any shade of outward facing emotion and seems to get the same emotionless feeling back from people. Dead pan faces – almost no commentary. Curtly polite, but for all intensive purposes morgue like. He told my father is has become rather unnerving and he now feels totally uncomfortable in the town he grew up in and has spent his entire life living in as it now feels totally different – granted he won’t leave – but that’s another story.

We could say that this is a rather specific case and that perhaps my uncle is just off his rocker – funny thing I keep hearing stuff  like this from people all over the country. “People here just don’t care!” “She hit me with her cart and told me I should watch where I am going!” etc and so on. This leads me to wonder – is there something really going on? Supposedly suicide rates are up (just yesterday a later in New York drove her care full of children into a river, killing all but one of them). Depression cases are on the rise. More people are medicated than ever before. Just what the hell is going on?

Is in economic based? Are people disillusioned by economic woes? Is that the only thing? Is there more? Understand that I have no idea and I am not trying to imply anything here – but something does feel off. I keep encountering two very opposite points of view 1) Suck it up. These people think that nothing should bother anybody whatsoever – and if you do get bothered by stuff then you are clearly some sort of emotional basket case who just needs to suck it up. 2) You hurt me! These people are seemingly offended by everything. You really can’t say anything to these people as they will find everything troubling in some fashion.(I get accused of being one of these all the time.)

Perhaps I left one out – 3) I don’t care about anything. These people are proud to say that they couldn’t care less about anything at all. Period. Nothing matters. (I am more like one of these. Outside of my family and a few friends who cares.) Maybe my circle of people is small, that is possible, as I have tried to make it that way over the years, but I am not really talking about friends here – just general interaction. George Carlin talked a bit about how the language we use in society has gotten so muted that the message that is trying to be conveyed can barely be understood. I think he may be right. People don’t really seem to listen any more – as if everyone has Homer Simpson syndrome – thinking about something else while you are talking to them. When people try to talk to you they appear to have a difficult time making a point about anything. In fact, I keep hearing people say “man, I don’t even know what I am saying!” Wow.

Maybe the Zombie Apocalypse is already here and we have already joined the army of the dead and just haven’t realized it. Maybe.

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Reel Rhino FILM BUFFET (Feb 2011 to April 1st, 2011)

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Reel Rhino

Well since I am new to the BlinkinBlogs family and there really hasn’t been a proper write-up for many of the films currently in theater, I thought I would provide a little Reel Rhino guidance.

I try to make an effort to see all new releases as they hit theaters, so that I may give up to date and properly timed reviews of what’s playing.

I have reached back to the beginning of February and dipped into the Reel Rhino Review well to bring you this, by any standard, excessively long single post.  Hopefully you can use it as a resource as needed.  It is a veritable BUFFET of film.

I started with the most current and worked my way backwards through time, with respect to release dates.  The reviews for Insidious, Source Code, and Sucker Punch are a bit longer since they are some of the newer releases…the rest are just briefs for your convenience.

Now go grab a blankie and some hot chocolate, sit back, and enjoy the read.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
REVIEWED THIS POST:
Insidious – 3.5 Horns
Source Code – 4 Horns
Hop – 3 Horns
Sucker Punch – 4 Horns
Limitless – 4 Horns
The Lincoln Lawyer – 4 Horns
Paul – 3.5 Horns
Mars Needs Moms – 4.5 Horns
Battle: Los Angeles – 4.5 Horns
Red Riding Hood – 2 Horns
Rango – 4.5 Horns
The Adjustment Bureau – 5 Horns
Take Me Home Tonight – 3 Horns
Drive Angry 3-D – 3 Horns
The Tempest – 3 Horns
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

INSIDIOUS: 3.5 of 5 Horns
I am a bit of a horror buff and I am especially fond of the first entry into the SAW franchise. The same James Wan who co-wrote and directed that first SAW, directed Insidious.  And who was the co-writer for Saw?  That would be Leigh Whannell, the sole screenwriter listed for this effort.  Whannell is an actor as well, and he portrayed poor, unlucky Adam in the first Saw.  He shows up again in this film and his character subtly adds a welcomed bit of humor in an otherwise straight horror film.

INSIDIOUS is INSIDIOUS.  Or so the ads have been telling us!  The film follows a family led by actors Patrick Wilson (Josh) and Rose Byrne (Renai), with two sons and an infant daughter living in a beautiful old home.  Of their children: Dalton, Foster, and “Baby Girl” Lambert, we become mostly concerned with Dalton, who falls into an unresponsive state after suffering injuries in a fall in the new home.

This quickly devolves into a Poltergeist-like scenario calling on a little used convention in supernatural storytelling.  I won’t share that convention here as to keep your viewing experience fresh, but I found it a creative use of a supposedly true phenomenon.  Lin Shaye stands in for the classic Zelda Rubenstein, reprising of sorts the TANGINA character from Poltergeist.  Shaye’s Elise conveys creepy in a different, but none the less successful manner.  Her assistants, Specs (Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson) bring a bit of the feel of the original Ghostbusters in their demeanor.  Their presence is appreciated, if for no other reason than GHOSTBUSTERS remains my favorite film of all-time and while they add some laughs, it isn’t celebrated, but rather is subtly presented.

Leigh Whannell and Lin Shaye

The film really takes off after offering the main theory of why Dalton is in this pseudo-coma, defying any medical explanation as he seems perfectly healthy otherwise.  Now, some will argue that jump scares are a lazy cliche in horror films, but I disagree.  Scare me however you will, and I will enjoy it!  Wan offers some great scares and by a mile, his dark imagery captures a perfect ambiance in this film.  And to make a more complete horror experience, the tone of the film is enhanced exponentially by having a creepy kid at the center of the story.

Early in the film, things seem to be occurring as you would expect with a straight haunted house type thriller.  The house they use is great and Wan delivers this portion in excellently paced fashion, building tension very slowly.

But this story for all its good, struggles to find an acceptable resolution in the final 20 minutes.  For our climactic sequence, Wan choose a minimalistic approach, which suits the material.  But for a visual medium, I think the overall quality of the film suffered.

Wan is a very talented visual artist.  It was evident in SAW and it is evident here.  But that said, there is an unintentional humorous parallel that will be drawn between the main baddie in Insidious and a popular baddie from a recent trilogy in sci-fi/fantasy saga.

The story struggles at the conclusion, but overall, I was entertained and take from this film the merit that I described earlier.  Reel Rhino says: Insidious is worth seeing, bring a change of shorts for the jump scares, and relax knowing that INSIDIOUS has received a watchable 3.5 of 5 horns.

SOURCE CODE: 4 of 5 Horns
Source Code stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Captain Colter Stevens.  We meet Captain Stevens as a confused helicopter pilot, who wakes up in the body of a stranger, riding a commuter train towards Chicago.  This train we find out in fairly short order, has previously exploded and Captain Colter has been sent into the electronically captured memory, or SOURCE CODE, of one of those killed in the blast.  His mission: learn more about the event to stop a subsequent bombing planned for that same day in downtown Chicago.

His handlers are Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga) and Dr. Rutledge (Jeffrey Wright).  Both are, in my opinion, very watchable in all of their films, and the same holds true here.  Please calculate in the fact that Farmiga is rather underused for her talent level and that Jeffrey Wright is channeling mad scientist as if he was written as some crazy Bond villain.

Colter is sent to the beginning of the 8 minute sequence multiple times throughout the film.  He is sent into the body of a school teacher who in real life was contemplating a relationship with a young lady, also on the train, Christina Warren (Michelle Monaghan).

With each trip into the source code, Colter gains some bit of sympathy for Christina and the other passengers, all of who perished in the train explosion.  The chemistry between our leads is a bit disjointed as a facet of the story, but it is forgivable for those few moments when Gyllanhaal and Monaghan emotionally engage one and other.  Monaghan’s cheerful demeanor portrays young love in a very convincing manner.


As revealed in the trailer, Colter wants to try and save them all.  An honorable notion, but is it metaphysically possible?  See the film and find out.

This is a film worth seeing.  I wasn’t blown away in the same way I was by Jones’ MOON, but this was a very enjoyable film.  It is competent film making that should satisfy an adult audience craving for watchable sci-fi.

Duncan Jones takes fresh faced writer Ben Ripley’s words and crafts them into an original sci-fi tale that is surprisingly similar to those films previously made on the writings of Phillip K. Dick.  I look forward to more original work by Jones and in a world of remakes and sequels (many of which the fanboy in me will come to love), I say we have plenty of space in this world of cinema for original work.

HOP: 3 of 5 Horns
I saw Hop as a part of my exercise in attempting to see all new releases throughout the year.  Hop received plenty of hype, in the form of TV spots, huge stand-ups at the theater, and Internet site billboards.  The movie is a live-action film, with a load of CGI, almost pushing into animated fare at certain points throughout.  While this film made a run at creating a legacy character for the Easter season, I think it fell just a little short.  The movie lacks the adult sensibilities that have been welcomed in so many other movies of this type.  This movie was rated PG, but it just as well could have been G.  This was a pure kids movie, and I gave it as high a rating as I did because the children in the theater really seemed to like it.  I guess as a reviewer of film, I have to remove my personal bias when possible, and rate these pictures of their own merit. Hop was portrayed by Russell Brand and he falls in with the live-action character played by James Marsden.  The movie is harmless and the kids will likely leave the theater smiling, but in general, it seemed wholly uninteresting.

SUCKER PUNCH: 4 of 5 Horns
I love Zach Snyder’s visual style and the tone of his films.  By a mile, you can call me a Watchmen apologist, because I love that movie, giant blue penis and all.  I think that Snyder gave us the best possible Watchmen we could get, and while there are flaws, he shot for the moon and in my humble opinion, hit it!

Snyder gave us visionary looks into the world of Frank Miller’s 300, George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and most recently treading into new filmmaking territory for the director, the animated feature, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.

Here is my plea for your forgiveness of Sucker Punch.  Yes, this movie is a 15 year old boy’s wet dream.  This movie is a video gamer’s paradise.  This movie throws everything at you and more.  The story is sometimes hard to follow and when it is all said and done, there will be some plot points you on which you are unclear.  But…

How absolutely original is this film?  Zach Snyder both wrote the screenplay and has the story by credit.  This is his baby.  It is ORIGINAL MATERIAL and this is something that we need more of in this “same old story” era of the Hollywood world.

But wait Reel Rhino, some of those visuals were kind of rehashed from other material, weren’t they?  Were those Orcs?  Dragons? Nazi Zombies?  Yes, they were!  But the sum total of the visuals in this film and the original nature by which they were all presented make this film as a whole, combined into something wonderful. (P.S. For another great trip into the world of Nazi Zombies, See Also: DEAD SNOW).

I am (mostly) not a fanboy, but I know what I like.  This film is no Star Wars.  It is no Lord of the Rings.  It is no Indiana Jones.  But it is a film that is yet another early entry into the career of a filmmaker who shows signs of the greatness that the likes of the creators of those older great series.

The visuals in this film are fantastic.  I am so happy he decided on IMAX but passed on 3-D.  This film was dark and with 3-D, things almost get too dark.  The tone was perfect, the subdued colors sublime.

To the film…Emily Browning is Baby Doll, and boy is she ever.  I don’t mean that in too much of a sexist way, but she really is a cutie.  Baby Doll’s mother dies and in the first few minutes of the film, her step-father attacks and kills her sister, and the blame is put on her.  She meets up with a merry band of misfits which is basically a compilation of hot, 20-something young actresses who are paraded around in school girl costumes.  No complaints for those visuals from this filmgoer!

These girls are corralled by Dr. Vera Gorski, who is played with very strange Eastern European accent, by Carla Gugino.  I like Carla Gugino.  She is a beautiful woman who takes on very risky and adventurous roles.

When Baby Doll arrives at the home, within a very short while, the movie becomes a fantasy world film, set within the mind of one of our characters.  Most of this film exists in a “not-as-smooth-as-Inception” dream within a dream within a dream kind of deal.

The home is set up as an escort house of sorts where the girls dance for clients and make money for their boss, Blue, who is the primary baddie in the film.

There is a trigger that occurs throughout the film that sets in motion the bad-ass action sequences you saw in the trailers and which drew you into the theater.  These are the several mind-blowing scenarios that push into the realm of video-game style action….yes, placating the 14 and 15 year old boys everywhere, by scantily dressing hot young 20-somethings and having them absolutely kick ass!

Jon Hamm has a cameo in a key role to the film but by far, the best thing not in fishnet stockings or school girl skirts was Scott Glenn, credited as only “Wise Man.”

I loved what was great about this movie, but I will also be the first admit, where it fires mostly with a bang, I felt it ended with a fizzle, primarily due to a rather unclear resolution and choosing to end in the so-called real world, rather than in one of the visually stunning “dream sequences.”.  I forgive the end for what came before it.  Zack Snyder may not have the Spielberg or Lucas or Jackson touch just yet…but he is working on it.  Keep it coming…keep it coming.

You know what he has lined up next, right?  SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL…directed by Snyder, produced by Christopher Nolan.  The thought gives me chills, and while I was one of the few who enjoyed Superman Returns and forgave Brandon Routh’s wooden turn as Clark Kent as homage to Christopher Reeve, I am super duper excited for this.  Superman made under the wing of Christopher Nolan, that can’t be bad, right?  Hey, Nolan is my favorite director of the moment and while I say that he is great, his filmography isn’t that deep and he isn’t that old!  I love that these young bucks are tearing is up and I see them as a new revolution in fantasy, saga-rich film making.  I’m not talking Dungeons and Dragons kind of stuff…even though there was some of that in Sucker Punch, but I mean a George Lucas/Steven Spielberg kind of renaissance….those guys and the likes of D.J. Caruso and JJ Abrams are some of the best we have for making our dreams come true.

LIMITLESS: 4 of 5 Horns
Limitless was a fun Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller and while a bit in unpolished in some areas, I feel it held up from start to finish.  Keeping with my recent theme of originality, why wouldn’t this story be worth watching?  In our culture of drug use, both legal and otherwise, a tale of a superdrug that allows you to access the untapped parts of your brain strikes me as brilliant.  As the film is made in a wholly competent manner, with subtly visual clues indicating when you are travelling with “old” Eddie versus the new and improved Eddie.  The most important lesson here: Bradley Cooper can act.  I haven’t ever doubted that, but apparently he needed to convince the world.  He has been great in all the jerky but lovable roles (see also: The Hangover, The Wedding Crashers) so why wouldn’t he be good in this.  Hey, I even found ALL ABOUT STEVE remotely entertaining with a rather touching ending.


THE LINCOLN LAWYER: 4 of 5 Horns
I had a root canal the Friday before the Sunday I saw this flick, my cheek all sorts of throbbin’.  I definitely was not in the right mindset to see this movie.  I walked out a little disappointed and a little sleepy.  After further reflection, I promoted The Lincoln Lawyer to a 4 from a 3.5.  I may see it again in the theater, but more likely I will wait for BluRay.  McConaughey is in top form and this film is loaded with great character actors.  The ending plays out like something on par with a cheesy Lifetime movie…it actually made me awkwardly think of the ending to one of my all time favorites, Fletch.  The ending be damned, the movie is enjoyable and I think with another viewing or two, I will really find a place in my rotation for this flick.  I do think I will be more favorable to that other Lincoln movie…Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter…but that will be a story for another day.

PAUL: 3.5 of 5 Horns
I loved the references this film delivered at every turn!  It was pure fun to see all my favorite movies from the last thirty years to be used very organically within the dialogue of this film.  That said, there was just something missing.  I can’t explain it, but it missed that spark that made me love it.  I enjoyed the F Bombs a plenty and the alien dong references.  Kristen Wiig is subtly funny as hell and overall, the supporting cast is fantastic.  I predict with additional viewings, I will love this movie!  (See also: Anchorman.)


MARS NEEDS MOMS  3-D: 4.5 of 5 Horns
There is much more heart in this film than I expected.  I mention below the watchability of Dan Fogler…he pleases in animated form as well.  Don’t miss the credits as the secrets of the making of and mo cap methods are revealed.  And don’t worry, while Seth Green is created as portraying Milo, the lead, he does so only in movements and mo cap.  Milo is actually voiced by an unknown voice actor who does true justice to the youthful vigor needed for this passionate young man.  Yes, if you want some serious brownie points, go with your mother.  You will hold each other during the tender scenes near the end of the film and you will feel better as a human being!


BATTLE: LOS ANGELES: 4.5 of 5 Horns
This is an action-packed thrill-ride that at its center has real heart.  The movie looks and sounds stellar.  I am not crazy about the $4 up charge for AMC’s ETX Theater, but I would have paid double that for the crisp look and feel that the ETX delivered for Battle: LA.  Don’t believe the hype!  This movie is fun and Aaron Eckhart is a talented actor around who this Summer Blockbuster-worthy flick is built.  Yes, there are many cliches afoot here, but come on…this movie’s fantastically adrenalin-charged scenes make up for the stuff that is rehashed from similar previous films.  I respect any sci-fi film with this kind of scope, that lives in the daylight rather than in the shadows of night.  This movie is something like ALIENS, on earth, and under the bright of day.  ALIENS is the superior film by a mile, but Battle: LA holds its own!

RED RIDING HOOD: 2 of 5 Horns
What was most upsetting about this film was the promise that the concept of this film showed.  I would have thought someone would have realized the acting by the B-players came off as excessively wooden and some of the cliche film making techniques would relegate this film to a campiness that is way too short of the fun that usually accompanies camp.


RANGO: 4.5 of 5 Horns
This kid’s flick ain’t really for kids, folks.  It is a fantastic film that is rich in characters.  It is not to be missed and while there are enough interesting visuals to keep the kids semi-happy, the adults will really see the humor and the depth that this film has to offer.  Johnny Depp himself has become somewhat a cliche of wild-type character films, but he does Rango true justice.  Even though we rarely get to see Depp in anything but wild eyed and crazy, that range adds to Rango in the best possible way.  In most animated films, it is hard to look past the voices to see the characters.  In this film, these characters live and breathe on their own.  I challenge you to pinpoint any of the talent behind the voices, outside of Depp and a very obvious Timothy Olyphant-astic.  This film is a pure animated spaghetti western disguised as Nickelodeon fodder. You will have a great time at this movie!

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU: 5 of 5 Horns
I absolutely loved this movie!  It was made with the highest of production values and the city of New York is a palpable character in this film.  Matt Damon is stellar (as always) and Emily Blunt is clearly established as one of Hollywood’s finest young actresses.  Don’t agree with me?  Go see this movie.  Yes, it is high concept and it is full of rich characters with roots in the oldest of human literature.  It is based on the short story “Adjustment Team” by a legend in Science Fiction, Phillip K. Dick.  I have heard complaints that this is more a romance than a sci-fi, but I disagree.  There is such thing as a romantic sci-fi.  The sci-fi is overt.  The romance is overt.  The message has been decried by some as corny, but I loved it.  See this movie in a theater with a great big screen and digital projection…you won’t be disappointed.

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT: 3 of 5 Horns
There were several excellent experiences that came with seeing this film, and the movie wasn’t one of them.  The movie was only okay and I laughed a bit, but it seemed like this film wanted to be more of a drama when it was presented in previews as a blow out comedy.  Dan Fogler was pretty awesome and I think that for some of his mild obnoxiousness, he is quite watchable in anything he does.  Topher Grace was a bit lackluster and while Anna Ferris was completely competent, this role was much straighter than her usual fare.  I very much liked Topher’s lady, Aussie actress Teresa Palmer who I last raved on, writing on Sorcerer’s Apprentice review last year.  All in all, there were some laughs, and hopefully with future viewings, I may find this a funnier film than in this outing.

DRIVE ANGRY 3-D: 3 of 5 Horns
This is a B-movie with Blockbuster sensibilities.  That said, it still falls short of something really worthwhile.  The film was shot in 3-D, which means the 3-D scenes are actually decent.  Nic Cage is standard Nic Cage, which I don’t hate, so that’s alright if you don’t hate Nic Cage. Amber Heard is a bad-ass hot mama who gets pretty deft at dealing hurt.  William Fitchner is as always, enjoyable, as is his turn as the hammy straight man in hell’s Accountant, set out to recover the escaped soul in Cage.  There are some decent moments, especially the tongue-in-cheek laughs to be had by the movie’s graphic sex scene.  I think they were thinking about MY BLOODY VALENTINE’s naked 3-D scene when they shot this.  The main baddie is played by Billy Burke, perhaps best known today as Charlie Swan in The Twilight Saga,  Burke is suitable for the role and his delivery fits the over-the-top B-movie feel.  Like I said, not great, but moderately fun.  Go with friends or see it in a crowded theater and if possible, be 5 or 6 beers deep.  It will help.    

THE TEMPEST: 3 of 5 Horns
Yowza…I fell head over heels in love with Julie Taymor’s ACROSS THE UNIVERSE in 2007. It is a wonderful movie if you haven’t seen it.  I was never really a Beatles fan, now I am. Thank you Ms. Taymor.  Now, if you could only please explain The Tempest to me, I would be most obliged!  The Tempest is a visually beautiful film that contains a story I had quite a hard time following and ultimately understanding.  Near the end of the film, when I sensed a major conflict or showdown of sorts approaching….roll credits.  I fancy myself a fairly savvy guy, but I was a little bit in the dark on this one.  It is based on William Shakespeare’s play of the same name, which is famously his last work in which the monologue by Prospero (actually Prospera in the film, played by Helen Mirren) is said to be Shakespeare’s farewell to the stage.  Maybe the Cliff’s Notes is the key to my understanding?  Oh how my High School English teachers would be disappointed 🙁

Reel Rhino

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Next big HBO hit: Game of Thrones

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Kenfu

George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire – the best series of books I have ever read (not given out lightly) is being turned into an HBO series. If you haven’t read the books I highly recommend it. I had a standing bet with friends – if you read it and don’t like it, I’d buy the book from you. No one ever took me up on it. Yes it is an epic Fantasy series – but friends not even interested in the genre have enjoyed it because of the depth of character and plot.

Here’s a clip:

This might be worth getting HBO for!!!!!!!!

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USA Bad Economy? PIMCO Thinks So.

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Thraxxus

PIMCO, the largest bond company around, thinks the USA economy is so bad, and the debt so large, that they are getting out of the American bond Market. Read this, this, and this.  why?

“The portion of PIMCO’s $236 billion Total Return Fund held in long-term U.S. government debt, including U.S. Treasuries, declined to “minus 3″ percent in March from zero in February and 12 percent in January.”

Pretty good reason. Why else?

“PIMCO also expects the lingering U.S. budget deficit and the Fed’s easy monetary policy will fuel faster inflation and hurt the dollar.”

Not a big deal right? PIMCO? Who the hell are they anyway? not like they know anything right? WRONG.

“Gross manages the Total Return Fund, the world’s largest mutual fund with assets of $240.7 billion as of December 31, 2010.[4] He co-founded the firm in 1971, launching with $12 million of assets. Previously, PIMCO had functioned as a unit of Pacific Life Insurance Co., managing separate accounts for that insurer’s clients. In 2000, PIMCO was acquired by Allianz SE,[5] a large global financial services company based in Germany, but the firm continues to operate as an autonomous subsidiary of Allianz.” – (wikipedia)

You don’t get that big by being stupid. So what are they doing?

“Investors are getting increasingly worried. PIMCO, the world’s largest bond fund, has adopted a short position in government-related debt, a sign of the asset manager’s serious concerns about the U.S. fiscal outlook.”

Gulp. Shorting means this. So finally :

“On Monday, the giant investment fund PIMCO, which recently dumped its holdings of U.S. Treasury securities, disclosed that it has gone even further and is now selling U.S. debt short — a bet that bond prices have further to fall.”

What does this mean? the Largest Bond Company in the world doesn’t believe in the USA economy, at all. Ironically they are headquartered in California, but really that doesn’t mean much in a global market.

Dum dee dumdum duuuuuuumb.

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Your Highness Runs Low on Laughs

Posted on 11 April 2011 by Reel Rhino

YOUR HIGHNESS: 1.5 of 5 Horns

I like to think I am, not to be corny, a hip person.  I am keen to trends and the…cringe…zeitgeist of popular culture, especially concerning cinema.  I am not a proper trained cinephile, but I have studied at the school of hard knocks, consuming everything I can get my hands on.  I leave my brain turned-on, even during the most mindless of films.

Folks, I think that I have met my match.

YOUR HIGHNESS has challenged my ability to think logically about a film while watching it.  This film is very clearly a “stoner flick,” and I say that without an ounce of judgment in the statement.  In fact, I am here to say that I think that this film may possibly be an insult, even to the stoners of the world.

I have shared in the past my disdain for dick and fart jokes, solely for the sake of dick and fart jokes.  When used properly, a dirty bit of potty humor can be hilarious (See also, There’s Something About Mary).  Your highness spouts an unrelenting torrent of toilet humor, which hits a decent laugh about at a rate of one out of every four jokes.

Written by Danny McBride and Ben Best, whose previous work together has been up and down…the up being the darkly hilarious EASTBOUND AND DOWN and the down being the dementedly dark THE FOOT FIST WAY.  If you haven’t seen Foot Fist, avoid it.  It has the gall to put children into the humor, exposing early teens to drug use and sexual situations that are likely to make the boldest moviegoer squeamish.

As for Your Highness, there was nothing exceptionally offensive to me, it was just a slew of juvenile jokes, delivered as if spouted by the class bully, everyone chuckling, but out of pity, rather than entertainment.

What’s the saying? Even a blind dog finds a bone once in a while?  I think that applies here to the jokes that do catch on.  There is such an unrelenting torrent of garbage, you can’t help but find a laugh here or there.

I reference Roger Ebert, one of my critical heroes, who opens his review with the following paragraph:

“Your Highness” is a juvenile excrescence that feels like the work of 11-year old boys in love with dungeons, dragons, warrior women, pot, boobs, and four-letter words.  One of the heroes even wears the penis of a minotaur on a string around his neck.  I hate it when that happens.

Danny McBride is a funny man.  But I think he and Best made the mistake of writing the film stoned, rather than for those who are stoned.

McBride has talent.  His is funny and even showed that he can dish drama in a brief but compelling role in Jason Reitman’s UP IN THE AIR.  He has turned up in 10 or so comedic roles in the last few years, one of my favorites having been the underperforming HOT ROD.

David Gordon Green has achieved great critical success with his early work and has entered into the popular culture as a prominent director on the Eastbound & Down series and perhaps more prominently in 2008’s PINEAPPLE EXPRESS.

This film stars, in addition to McBride, one of this year’s Best Actor nominees, James Franco; this year’s Best Actress winner, Natalie Portman, and a slew of classically trained actors, including Charles Dance, Toby Jones, and Damian Lewis.

Rounding out the prominent of the cast, include Justin Theroux and Zooey Deschanel.  Theroux, a talented actor/writer who in 2010, gave us the screenplay for IRON MAN 2 and in 2008 the screenplay for TROPIC THUNDER, but may be best known for some of his character roles.  Deschanel is just plain adorable as always and of course is known for a variety of successful features, perhaps my favorite of which is Elf.  As talented as an actress as she is a singer, she always delights.

So why have I gone to such extreme to list the countless talents featured in this film?

Because they are all completely wasted!

I was exceptionally mad to see such a sidebar role that was relegated to Damien Lewis.  His name may not be so prominent, but everything he has done to date has been pure gold…well maybe not DREAMCATCHER, but I still chalk that up as campy fun.  Lewis was fantastic as Dick Winters in BAND OF BROTHERS and his television series LIFE was cancelled far too soon.  LIFE was riveting as a serial series and the show presented Lewis’s Charlie Crews as a rich and complex character.

All this talent… wasted.  My mind is blown that with all this experience, no one realized as this film was being made, the pure rubbish that each scene would become.  I guess they figured it would come together in post-production?

The basic story is this: McBride and Franco are brothers, who must “quest” to save Franco’s bride to be, Deschanel, from the evil wizard Lazar, played passionately by Theroux.  They are joined on their quest by Portman, who besides taking a near-nude dip in a lake, gives us some of the best fight sequences of the film.

Calamity and so-called hilarity ensues…or so McBride, Best, and Green would hope, but unfortunately, we only find the calamity.

I think the principal cast will be forgiven for their efforts.  Most of the acting was wholly sufficient.  McBride delivers almost every single dirty bit that’s offered, and the rest of the cast essentially plays straight to McBride’s comic foil.

Theroux is a talented character actor and I think his mastery of assuming odd roles shines here.  He is off-the-wall, but he is the lone character that is successful when it comes to dishing ridiculous.  I think that his success is mostly derived from spouting witty lines, that are actually witty, as opposed to the torrent of dick and fart nonsense that McBride has to offer.

I am done beating the dead horse here.

I think I can go for 1.5 of 5 horns.  That’s the best I can do for this mostly unfunny offering that finds a chuckle here or there.  I am nothing near a high brow Joe, but I need something more.

Yikes…at least it shows I don’t blank check love everything that I see!

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REEL RHINO IS HERE – Yes, It Deserved All Caps

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Reel Rhino

So…just who the hell is this…Reel Rhino?

I’m Reel Rhino.

I am a very large man who loves the movies.

How the hell does being large and loving movies qualify me to wax poetic on flicks and hope that you might care to read what I have to say? Well, I fancy myself a bit more than a glutton for movies. I like to think of myself as a true cinephile.

I am rapidly approaching my 1000th film at the theater and I couldn’t even start to estimate how many I have watched at home or more recently via some of my mobile devices….thank you Netflix Watch Instantly!

How, you may ask, do I have any clue as to how many movies I have seen in my film going career? I have saved every stub since late 1989. As it goes, I may actually have hit one thousand, given I have suffered a few lost wallets and lost a few in the service of feeding my washing machine.

I fixed that problem though.

Now I keep a spreadsheet.

So perhaps it is my obsessive compulsive behavior that gives me the right to hop up on the soapbox? No, as far as I see it, it is only by the grace of the Blinkinblogs crew that I have the right to join you here and to start this minute in my attempt to share my vast cinematic knowledge with you.

I’d throw in for good measure that one day, I would like to get into the business of movies as well, perhaps as a screenwriter or director…but that would be a little too cliche, right?

I hope you like it, because even if you don’t, I will keep spouting my home brew of fact and opinion on everything film.

Prepare to be dazzled.

TO BUSINESS: A bit of house keeping. I have been dubbed “Rhino” for 22 years of my life. I have taken this name as a badge of honor, and I seem to mold aspects of my life, to fit the name. To this end, I don’t deal in stars or popcorn bags, I deal in HORNS.

My scale runs from 0 up through 5 horns, with stops at each .5 interval. The obvious joke is this: anything at 2 or less is a bit flacid, while a 5 means that I’m quite at attention and really “Horny, Baby,” (insert Austin Powers inflection here).

Don’t worry folks…I’ll be here all week.

HANNA – 4.5 of 5 Horns
WOW! What an absolutely entertaining romp…a little bit art house, a little bit Jason Bourne. What a great movie to be the first to bring you and I together.

With a story by Seth Lochhead and a screenplay by he and David Farr, these two folks have woven together a great tale that’s one part Sci-Fi, one part Adventure, one part Thriller, and all parts fun. Farr is a former writer on MI-5 and it shows, with a great bit of spy-saavy sensibility present in this script.

Joe Wright may not be a name that jumps to the forefront when you think of great directors, but this marks his third film in a row that I have been smitten with and his star is certainly on the rise.

Atonement in 2007 started the run and while you might not think Rhino for a sap, but boy did I love that movie. Saoirse Ronan was fantastic in Atonement and she was very deserving of her Best Supporting Actress nod. Tilda Swinton was great that year, but thirteen year old Ronan was a tour de force that could have walked off with the trophy, with no surprise by me. While this film will probably not be worthy of Oscar gold, it is in her cards. Next film in the run for Wright, 2009’s The Soloist. Perhaps it was in fact pandering a bit as Oscar bait, too sappy you could say, but damn was it a great (true) story of friendship and redemption.

Hanna is a bit of a departure from Wright’s previous work, and other than a few frayed edges, I think he has blasted a grand slam in terms of pacing and tone.

I will say that this film was greatly fueled by the COMPELLING original score from The Chemical Brothers. Yes, the Block Rockin’ Beats, Hey Boy Hey Girl, Chemical Brothers. It is just enough retro with plenty of techno-rock to fuel this jet forward in a big way. Single-handedly, this score upped Hanna a full notch in my book.

HANNA stars Saoirse Ronan as the titular character, who we meet living near the Arctic Circle, with her father, Erik (Eric Bana). Erik has been training Hanna as a warrior, and from the looks of things, the training is going well. This film features a prologue of sorts in this life in the wild training segment. We don’t know right away how, but very quickly get the sense that Bana’s Erik is a man with whom not to cross!

The action is kicked into gear when Hanna activates a device that allows Erik’s position to become known to his former CIA handlers, including Marissa (Cate Blanchett). Marissa is a particulary venomous character who slowly reveals her nefarious scheme…you will quickly see that she is not too nice of a person and will stop at nothing to get her way.

The strike force converges on Erik’s beacon, where they find only Hanna. She is brought to a holding center where she plans on killing Marissa on her father and mother’s behalf, as she believes that Marissa has killed her mother and was responsible for sending her into refuge with her father. Hanna has lived a sheltered life, and while she is partly correct in her beliefs, it is the twists and turns that follow that make this a great flick.

The other half of this film’s greatness comes in the form of the wild eyed wonder that Ronan portrays with mastery as she is experiencing the world for the first time. She has literally lived her life in the wild, and everything she sees and does is both literally and figuratively seen through the eyes of a child.

Hanna proves herself to be quite lethal, and her lethality mixed with innocense is what gives her that Jason Bourne sense of wonder. Everything she learns about the world or herself is new, and she doesn’t like everything that she learns.

I had mentioned that great score by The Chemical Brothers, well it serves as only a part of the music that drives this film. There are a variety of live music sequences, organic to the action, that mirror the theme of the film at different segments. In the first minutes of the film, Hanna asks her father about music. He isn’t really able to explain the nature of music, but she gets to experience it first hand, much for good, some for bad.

Hanna is very much a chase film. Action is sort of a new journey for Wright. His slightly untrained hand at shooting this type of film is what gives it a bit of grittiness that make the film that much more enjoyable.

The chase culminates at one particular location that is revisited several times near the end of the film. I won’t talk any more about it, but I will say that it is exceptionally creepy and also really cool to think about how neat it would have been to shoot at such an interesting location.

Hanna is not a perfect movie, but it is cool as can be. It may have released through an American studio, but with Wright at the helm and with the exotic locales, this flick has European sensibilities and I mean that as the greatest of compliment. The tone is darker and the overall look is more gritty than say SALT, by comparison, another spy thriller that I felt came off as very commercial. I saw this film on film…I ended up at a theater that wasn’t full out with digital, and I saw this picture projected through celluloid. That is a rare thing these days, as most theaters I go to are all digital. The grainy film project only added another layer of texture to the projected image, that turned out to be perfect for Wright’s vision of his young warrior.

Hanna wraps itself up nicely as a stand alone story, but there is clearly room for a sequel and a franchise if it is so deemed by those managing this property. I hit HANNA up at 4.5 horns of 5 and say consider this flick for your weekend fare.

RR

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Epsilon is watching…

Posted on 05 April 2011 by Thraxxus

Conspiracy Theories, or as ScanJack likes to call them “Suspicion Theories”, are brought up on here rather frequently. We bring them up to spark discussions and debates which typically lead to one group calling the other group a bunch of crazies. I typically enj0y the entire exchange as the colorful use of vocabulary makes for great bed time reading. What really cracks me up is when a Suspicion Theory is mentioned, the nay sayers descend upon said mentioner like angry harpies, and then later some mainstream media picks the story up and nobody bothers to mention that or dismisses the news source entirely when their original argument against said Theory was based on no mainstream media mentioning it to begin with. Hilarity.

Well I have a Suspicion Theory I will share with you now that starts in a MSM and can be totally looked up all over the place. To take things further, I work in an industry that works with companies like the one we will be discussing: Epsilon. Taking a quick glance at Epsilon’s website and one thinks that these guys are merely a marketing agency for hire – true – but their methods are a bit more..mmm.. sinister? How? Bob Sullivan (the MSM source) believes that they are PURE EVIL!! Okay thats a bit over the top, but he certainly is not a fan of what they are doing – and neither is Congress. It turns out that Epsilon tracks lots of data on people – LOTS OF DATA ON LOTS OF PEOPLE:

“It says it holds information on 250 million worldwide consumers, and its company credo is to offer a ‘complete 360 degree view’ of customers.”

The problem is that they have had several occurances of losing that data to hackers:

“In fact, the company behind the high-profile leak of data belonging to Best Buy, Target, The College Board, Walgreens and other big-name firms probably has an intimate relationship with you.”

Congress is not thrilled with that:

“Congress is currently considering its first major legislative effort surrounding privacy in more than a decade, as it studies a proposal to create a Do Not Track list for Web surfers and other ideas. None of them, however, would have prevented the Epsilon incident or would give consumers additional rights to deal with firms like Epsilon, Ponemon said.”

Companies like Google are very interested in directive marketing – a process where you have complete control over a consumers marketing views by basically following them around digitally. Epsilon is a company that helps to make that viable. Consider this: you do a search for cars. You look around a bit, then give up. You go look at a news site, maybe MSNBC.com, and there you find ads for cars. You leave that site and go look at youtube.com, there you find ads for cars. What is going on? The ad network is following you – this is not craziness – it is rapidly becoming reality and marketing companies think that its great.

Why? Reportedly its a win/win. The consumer gets shown ads that actually apply to them and the marketers get to show their ads to only people that they matter to. Good yeah? The devil is in the details. For this little system to work you must track someone completely, aka, Big Brother them. You know what they eat, where they shop, their interests, everything. You become a profiler -and that is where the rub is.

Conspiracy Theory that. (BTW the Image I used has Bush in it. This article isn’t about him, but I loved the image)

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Pets

Posted on 04 April 2011 by Thraxxus

Friday my dog died, he was a Jack Russel Terrier. I can honestly say that he was easily the smartest dog I have ever known. No joke.  The dog was creepy smart. He would study you. He would study everyone. People would come to my house and be unnerved by my dog studying them. He didn’t look at you the way a dog would, he’d look at you the way a psychiatrist would. I miss that dog and always will.

Why mention this? As a pet lover I consider my pets family – not just some animal that I own. In fact I never liked the term master, or owner, it never felt right. I don’t tell people that I own my kids, so why would I say that about my dog, who is also a member of my family? The fact is my family included several pets of which that Jack Russel Terrier was one. When a pet dies people will say lots of things to you, many of them in an attempt to comfort you. Everyone knows that rarely will this work, but the empathy side of humanity, what is left of it, compels us to at the least try. What else do you do? Laugh?

I am fine, and appreciate, the attempts to comfort me and my family during our time of loss, truly. It is at this time when I have a small amount of hope for humanity – maybe we can be nice to each other. The people who irritate me in a way I lack words to describe are the ones who say “just get another dog!” Allow me to clarify something for the people who think that just getting another dog will somehow displace my feeling of loss for the pet who died – you are a callous jackass who clearly doesn’t care about pets, or look at them like a family member. Chances are you are someone who thinks of a dog like a possession – which in my book puts you one step above a dog fighter – the only difference being that you aren’t actively trying to kill your dog.

I get farmers. They have tons of animals and to the farmer most of those animals are not pets – they are business. I am not sure where the line blurs into caring about the animal as a family member – but the line does exist. Maybe it is when you let that animal into your house, but that really doesn’t explain horses then. I don’t know. What I do know is telling anyone who just lost anyone, be they human or animal, to just get another one crosses the line into being offensive.

I miss my family member, and always will. Him being a dog will never change that fact for me.

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Sucker Punch – Not Totally What You Think

Posted on 01 April 2011 by Thraxxus

A year ago, roughly, we posted an article on the preview for Sucker Punch. Back then we said that the movie looked amazing, for a 12 year old boy. Let me tell you – we were right. The film is packed full of many things that make it a tasty treat, again for the youthful male audience, for reasons obvious that I will still list. What people don’t realize is that the movie CAN BE a positive thing for the female audience – this is the part that was tough for me to grasp – I’ll explain in a second. First – the 12 year old boy reason to watch this film:

  1. HOT, incredibly HOT, women.
  2. All women in this film wear nothing but male fantasy/fetish based outfits. Seriously – every single scene from the get go of the film is fetish city.
  3. The film is almost non stop action. The only time there isn’t action is when they are showing the HOT women not doing action. No really.
  4. The Special effects are nuts – like so amazingly over the top nuts that I will not be surprised to hear about someone having a seizure while watching the film.
  5. The cinematography is crazy – however it creates a problem for the movie – YOU MUST WATCH IT IN A THEATER or else you lose the effect.
  6. Guns, knives, swords, huge blade thingies. Basically a wet dream of combat. Think the Matrix but with more weapons.
  7. Everything dies. A lot.
  8. Diesel Punk – just awesome.
  9. Arguably one of the coolest dragons to ever grace the big screen.
  10. Did I mention the incredibly hot women? Yeah – lots of those.

So why can this film be a good thing for girls? It is not the outfits or the glorification of hot women – no. It is the tremendous amount of ass kicking that they do. The women in this film are empowered by the smallest woman in the film to kick ass, non stop. They rise up against social norms, the tyranny of evil men, take back their lives, and slaughter everyone who has done them wrong. Ok that last bit may not be a great thing – but you get the point. The tragedy is that girls watching this film (like if any at all do) won’t get this point – they will just see that being hot is a great thing, and dressing like a slut is even better. The 12 year old boys won’t mind one bit – really – but the father’s of those girls? I already shudder.

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