Category Archives: Blogging

Movie Review: Edge of Tomorrow

I’m sure you’ve all seen the commercials for Edge of Tomorrow.  If you haven’t, watch it right now.

When I saw trailers, I expected it to be fairly good, but I was skeptical that it would be done well.  As it turns out, my skepticism was unfounded.

I saw a pre-screening of Edge of Tomorrow, and it more than lived up to the trailers.  The exo-suits were awesome, the ‘Live, Die, Repeat’ theme was used expertly, both for comedic and dramatic purposes, and the acting was (surprisingly) very good.  Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt put on an excellent performance with well-written dialog, in a world full of amusing characters.

One big problems a lot of science-fiction has is over-explaining things.  No, I don’t want to spend twenty minutes listening to you explain the backstory of the aliens and how we’ve developed weapons to stop them.  Edge of Tomorrow doesn’t have that problem.  It drops you into the story and lets you figure things out alongside Tom Cruise’s character.

The movie has a few holes in it (though to be fair, what movie doesn’t?), but it manages to maintain the suspension of disbelief and immersion throughout.  I also avoids the sort of deus ex machina that these movies tend to end with.  It was close to two hours of non-stop entertainment, with action and comedy and sheer sci-fi awesomeness.

I would recommend everyone go see Edge of Tomorrow.  95/100

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Movie Review: Jack the Giant Slayer

“Fee. Fi. Fo. Fum.

Ask not whence the thunder comes.”

So begins Jack the Giant Slayer, a movie coming out on March 1st, which I was fortunate enough to pre-view tonight.

First thing I’ll say is, this is not the Jack your parents read you nursery stories about.  As the name might imply, this movie is the big-brother version of “Jack and the Beanstalk”, and should be treated accordingly. No profanity that I remembered, and no sexuality (the two of which would make me recommend this movie even if it had only been mediocre).  What makes this movie mature is the violence.

Now, it’s not overly gory (though there is some small amount of squick factor), but, as we all know, giants ‘grind your bones for their bread’ and the like. That’s a part of this movie, though not ever explicitly shown on screen.

With that disclaimer out of the way, I will say that Jack the Giant Slayer is one of the best movies I’ve seen recently, certainly far better than the commercials made it out to be.  It built up to an initial conflict about half an hour into the movie, while giving back story and character exposition, and the action doesn’t let down until the end.  Surprisingly, it manages to hold the thrill all the way through and even escalate it for the final confrontation.

I’d also like to recognize Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan in Star Wars II and III, the only decent actor in those movies), for his excellent supporting role in this movie.  He made me laugh and cheer at all the right times.

I won’t go into too much more detail without spoiling it, but suffice it to say that this children’s bedtime story has been retold as an epic fantasy adventure that would rank high on any list I make.  10/10

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Don’t #cut4bieber

It’s midnight. I was getting ready to go to bed. Then I see a post on Facebook, of a friend furious over the ‘cut4bieber’ trend on Twitter. A quick Yahoo search brought up what she was talking about. You can read it here.

This. Is. Sickening. I have friends who have problems with cutting, so this is not something to be taken lightly. Once you start, it can quickly become an addiction, just as real or dangerous as any substance abuse. Any group or cause that actually urges young people to start cutting is, and I don’t use this word lightly, evil.

Cutting is never the right answer, to anything. Threatening that you’ll cut yourself unless someone behaves in a certain way is abusive both to yourself and the other person.  Especially in this instance, when Justin Bieber doesn’t have any personal connection to any of these people.

It’s disgusting, it’s disturbing, and it’s the most clear example I’ve yet seen of the darkness into which America has fallen. Her celebrities use illegal drugs, and her children mutilate their bodies because of it.

God Bless America. No one else will.

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Movie Review: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard regarding The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is along the lines of “There’s too much CGI!”  And I can sort of see where they are coming from, but even having heard those complaints prior to seeing the movie and therefore paying extra attention to the CG effects, I didn’t agree.  Yes, there was more CGI than in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it was also better CGI.  I barely even noticed it, and it certainly didn’t bother me.

Now, I’m not going to talk about the story much, both to avoid spoilers and because it doesn’t seem fair to me to judge what I consider the first third of a movie.  Something I do want to talk about is the tone.

The Hobbit pandered.  Unabashedly.  In a bad way.  There were scenes and lines that clearly had no purpose other than to evoke a laugh from the fans of the LotR trilogy.  A one-liners by various main characters and the entire scene with Gollum completely derailed the otherwise ‘epic saga’ tone of the movie.  Gollum is NOT supposed to be funny in this movie, people!  His scene is supposed to be creepy as all get-out, not comedic pandering to his fans.

The only other thing that bothered me was the dwarves.  I couldn’t hope to phrase it better than a friend of mine, so I’ll just quote her: “Dwarves are not supposed to be sexy, and at least three of them were.”  Mostly Thorin, Kili, and Fili.  Dwarves should be stocky and have big, bushy beards!  Thorin is the ruler, and he just has a trimmed goatee!

In all other respects, however, it was an excellent movie.  The action scenes were intense, and the music fit the story well.  It has very similar elements to the LotR soundtracks, with a heavier low brass section that seemed very representative of the dwarf-focused story.

Also, the scenery.  My goodness the scenery.  The elven city of Rivendell and the dwarf kingdom of Erebor were beautifully rendered on the big screen, and the level of detail was what I’ve come to expect from the LotR trilogy.  It was much, much more vivid the the trilogy, though, with more vibrant and varied colors.

All in all, this movie mostly served as an appetizer for the second movie.  Since they’re not staying perfectly true to the details of the book, I’m extremely hopeful that the Necromancer, credited as Benedict Cumberbatch, will play a bigger role in these movies than he did in Tolkien’s book.  When the complete trilogy is out, I’ll give this movie a rating, but in the meantime, I’ll just say it’s very good, definitely worth watching.

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Commissions

I’m hunting for a job, but not having much luck.  In the meantime, I really, really need a source of income.  So not only am I accepting commissions, I am begging for them.  Details are in the tab labeled ‘Commissions’ up near the top of the page.  I can and will write any genre, on just about any topic.

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The Second War of Secession

For the purposes of this post, and probably for the rest of my life, I will refer to what is commonly known as the ‘Civil War’ as the ‘War of Secession’.  I feel, now that I’m old enough to analyze the war instead of just accepting what I’m spoon-fed, that the War of Secession is a much more apt title.

Having established that, I will now discuss one of the possible outcomes of this whole uproar over the petitions for secession.  This post will not discuss the practicality or legality of the petitions.  My upcoming post on Politics of US, which should be published this Tuesday, will cover that.  This post will assume that the petitions are all shot down and focus on the fallout.

It will probably start small.  Protests in the more conservative states, which grow into riots.  The state governments may ignore them, or even support them, possibly re-petitioning in a more official fashion.  The federal government orders the National Guard to stop the riots, but some of them are sympathetic to the rioters.  The Guard will either split and fight amongst itself, or it will side with the rebels (I’m assuming this since the Guardsmen come from the same background as the rioters of the state they are in, generally, so they’re likely to feel the same way).

So the National Guard doesn’t fix the problem, and, in fact, makes it worse.  Now the Commander in Chief decides it’s time to call in the Army.  The states don’t like that at all.  As soon as the Army starts fighting Americans, several states (basically the old Confederacy) declare independence and fight back.  The Western states, the ones created after the War of Secession and so without historical ties to either side, will either cheer the Federal Government for taking action or scorn it for turning the Army on American citizens.

At this point, California (who as I understand it has been claiming it could handle itself just fine for some years now), would announce that it, too, is seceding, possibly taking a few Western states with it.  By this point, the ‘United States of America’ is limited to the Northeastern quadrant of what used to be a country, and numerous splinter factions begin to emerge.

When the fighting dies down somewhat and the dust settles, we would be left with the USA, which would control pretty much the same territory as the Union at the beginning of the first War of Secession.  South of them, in the territory occupied by the Confederacy, would be the New Confederacy (possibly just called the Confederacy again), which may or may not include the sovereign Republic of Texas.  To the West, the New California Republic takes up all of California and probably Nevada as well.  In between the NCR and the other two or three factions are states that didn’t really join any of the other factions and have now formed a loose alliance, with survivalist nuts wielding sniper rifles making sure that the bigger factions don’t impose on them.

This is, really, an optimistic outcome to the Second War of Secession.  It’s more likely, I think, that all government breaks down for a time, allowing people to re-form whatever sort of societies they can form and want to form.

Whatever happens, it certainly will be interesting.

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Anarchism 2016

Whoo, a political post.  Because there aren’t any of those out right now.  I had a lot of discussions tonight about politics, and it made me feel the need to rant somewhere that’s entirely devoted to my thoughts.  And I just so happen to have a blog.  So here goes.

Obama won.  And, despite being conservative, I’m actually glad he won.  And here’s why.

Romney didn’t really seem that much better.  They both have socialist leanings, and neither of them gave me any reason to think they’ll actually improve the country.  So, since they’d both accomplish the same thing (nothing) and the country should hate whichever one of them does it, I wanted the candidate who claimed to be from the opposite standpoint as the one I believe in to be the one to take the fall.

Hopefully, we’ll realize how terrible things have gotten and swing back to a really conservative candidate.  Like a modern Reagan.

Or, the other option, we keep tumbling down this economic and moral cliff until the country truly tears itself in two and we experience a second Civil War, most likely ending in anarchism.

Huzzah!  I’m already gathering my comrades for my elitist intellectual society, to be formed in the aftermath of the war.  Speak now if you want to join me.  Once the bullets start flying, we will no longer be accepting applications.

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