What a weekend this turned out to be. Between all of the glitches that I had with technology I thought that I might have had a mental breakdown. Homework problems galore that took up hours of time of frustration, and then I had a phone malfunction on my work cell which created a whole set of problems. In a way it was a relaxing weekend, but not at the same time. I really should get all of my homework done during the week so that I can enjoy the weekends, although that would mean killing myself during the week which would not be fun. Well, for one of my grad school assignments the professor had us fiddling with html code which was a little daunting at first, but then I got the hang of it, although I still can't seem to embed a video from Youtube or create a proper hyperlink that works; it was rather frustrating. I have to say that it is difficult learning to write a new language, but it was rather nice to see the finished project. I would probably fiddle with it more for my own stuff if I had the time and energy for it. I cannot believe that there are essentially only 3 months of 2014 left. I was chatting with a client of mine and mentioned what I was doing in 2004, and he stated that he was an infant at the time; that made me feel quite aged. Always think that it will happen to adults and people older than you, but never yourself; it's kind of a weird feeling when it does happen. So I watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier this evening as a reward for completing most of my homework, and I have to say that I still enjoy it as much as I did in the theater, although I would prefer the I-MAX experience opposed to my television experience. Even though it is a film, it remains art, and something that the character of Steven Rogers stated that made me think, that freedom (not peace) has a risky price tag attached to it. I believe he is correct, and based on what globally is occurring in many countries I would also state that several people would agree with me as well. Something to consider, and these aren't really complex or even basic freedoms, they're the small ones, the ones people often take for granted. Government bureaucracy (red tape) restricts freedom, as do laws, rules, and regulations; another thing to consider when you go to the polls and vote for your government (state, local, and federal). Sometimes in a democracy freedom slips away so subtly that no one even notices. Kind of makes you wander if there is a type of "Hydra" like organization in governments across the world (not conspiracy like of course) but more so like the underlying philosophy; a small group of people or a singular individual believes that they know what's right for everyone, and will impose that will on everyone for their own good since they don't know any better. If you think about it there is historical precedence for it.
Inside Out trailer (the new Pixar film, and it looks quite promising)
August 2010 is when I began writing this blog, and that was over 4 years ago, and it is still going, not as strong but still going. I have reached over 1000 posts finally. My website has halted completely unfortunately, but there should be enough information to keep people busy on that for a while, until I figure out what to do with it eventually. It was lovely to have a relaxing weekend, although I haven't touched any writing in a while. I suppose right now my focus is really narrow on grad school and surviving it. Since I was able to complete my homework in a fashionable time, I was able to watch a movie tonight Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. The film stars Kenneth Branagh, Keira Knightley, Chris Pine, and Kevin Costner. Well, the title of my blog says it all. Ever since Harrison Ford did his last Jack Ryan film, neither Ben Affleck or Chris Pine have been able to break through with the character, and no one can compare to Alec Baldwin and The Hunt for the Red October; the best Jack Ryan film of all time, and possibly best sub film of all time (and yes that is a genre type). So it was weird hearing Keira Knightley without the British accent, but I guess she did alright with the character, even though there wasn't much for her to do. Kevin Costner's character had potential, but it was never fully developed. Kenneth Branagh was potentially a great villain, but became quite powerless early on I thought. Chris Pine....is well...came off as an action hero, not a thinker, or analyst as he so frequently reminded everyone. The story was boring, the plot mediocre, and the screenplay choppy. It wasn't a horrible film, but it wasn't good; it was merely tepid and received a similar response from film goers. Hopefully they'll either give some thought to the next screenplay and set of characters, or stop making films built around this character. Well the week awaits with all of its troubles and splendors. May everyone have a lovely time.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit trailer
The Hobbit: Battle of the 5 Armies trailer (looks good, should be interesting to see the conclusion)
I think that last year I stated that October was the month from hell, well it looks like September has been that as well for this year. I'm not certain if it's the same exact reasons as it was last year, but it seems that way. Grad school full time and working full time still are not a really good idea, but I have no other alternative, unless I want to be stuck in an unpleasant field and place my entire life. Work has been especially stressful because we have been so short staffed, yet still remain quite busy, and you can see the toll that it is taking on the departmental staff. As obvious by lack of blogging posts and absence on Twitter, I haven't been writing much of anything except for work and academic language, and it isn't really that fun or interesting most of the time. This sucks truth be told, but I find that I have very little energy for such things after school and work stuff, which dominates my life right now. I just started watching this show (which is my mindless escape from reality) called Boss starring Kelsey Grammer as a Chicago Mayor Thomas Kane (is this a parallel to previous Mayor Tom Daley, not sure but I wouldn't be surprised). It is an intense political show which lacks the finesse of House of Cards, but I think it is a more accurate portrayal of real life politics that take place today in Chicago, which power, money, and muscle dominate rather than the virtues of democracy. Illinois politics are some of the most corrupt in the United States (it has a number of previous governors in jail for corruption charges) and it is all because of Chicago and the greater surrounding area around it. I would say that very little honest and decent politics come out of Chicago. I am only going to write this once and let it be; President Obama did come from Chicago, and after watching this show, it kind of gets you thinking. Kelsey Grammer's performance is amazing; wow! Watching him in his character is awesome! All of the secondary characters are good as well, but they all revolve around him and as the show progresses you begin to understand how this man (Mayor Kane) has the "keys to the kingdom." If you haven't seen it and enjoy well written and well acted political dramas, then you'll like this show. Speaking of political dramas, President Obama seems to have finally found some guts and has finally decided to do something about the apocalyptic mess in the Middle East. Granted it is far too little, too late; I highly doubt bombs will destroy anything right now and will just create more animosity and strife. I also find it interesting that he finds a voice of justice and determination when a non-governmental force is violent and kills civilians without pause, but when an organized government is doing it against it's own people, well apparently to the Obama administration that is an entirely different matter. I don't even know how I can empathize with the people who are suffering out there in Iraq, Syria, Iran and other places where the violence is spilling out to. After what seems like over three years of blogging about the growing issue, I don't know if there is anything left to say. I try to make people aware of what is happening out there, and the only thing I can say is there is a mid term election coming up; please vote for people who want to protect not only our liberties and freedoms, but also help protect those in the world who cannot protect themselves. It is our greater duty as the most free, wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world. For now at least.
Boss Season 1 Feature
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
Into the Woods trailer (I hope Disney doesn't kill it)
Tonight I watched a film that I had never seen before today oddly enough considering the subject matter. Saving Private Ryan was I doubt I have to say it, a great success and feat for Steven Spielberg as filmmaker. Well written, well shot, well cast, and well produced it was quite something; I don't know if I've seen quite another war film like it. Tom Hanks proved once again that he is one of the finest actors of the current age, and only the best can be said of the supporting cast as well which was peppered with great talent. D-day in Europe, what happened at Normandy was an incredible gamble by Eisenhower and God only knows how it worked due to so many things going wrong that day, and the many thousands that perished like cannon fodder. If Hitler hadn't been stopped though, many more thousands would have died in Europe, Africa and perhaps farther westward and eastward. Was war with Hitler avoidable; no. The man had war on his mind from the very moment he became a political figure and nothing would have changed it; the man was still in denial that he was going to lose up until the moment he blew his brains out. Some men can never be reasoned with no matter how much one tries. Considering the difficulties that people are experiencing in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq I honestly don't grasp quite why nothing is being done since we've seen in our past what happens when evil goes unchecked and liberties are crushed. There always is a price to pay, but it doesn't amount to the price that willful ignorance costs....ask the German people about how that feels. To me it seems as if evil men and women have strong footholds around the globe like never before and the people who are free are doing nothing but remaining behind their safe havens and comfort. What to do about it? That I am uncertain, but something certainly needs to be done. The greatest measure of a person I think is what he or she is willing give up to help another person without any reward or benefit. I often think about that in my line of work in the mental health business, specifically in the realm of psychiatric crises. After watching this film, I also thought about what I would have been like if I had been on that beach. Bullets flying everywhere, dead bodies wrangling in the ebbing tides of the ocean with blood and body parts everywhere. Would I have made it? Would I have gotten shot in the head, lost a limb, or sat hidden cowering somewhere? I suppose every man would like to think that he has the guts to act like an action hero, but in reality where people die left and right in war, it's a whole different matter. I salute all of those brave men who pushed to take Normandy, and since then all of the men and women who have died in the pursuit of liberty and making a better world for those left behind.
Well, I have been writing nothing whatsoever which is quickly becoming the story of my life; the writer who doesn't write. Between grad school and working 50 hours a week, I'm finding it difficult to remain sane, so I end up doing a lot of nothing when I am not doing the aforementioned tasks. The good news is I have been doing grad school for over a year now, and I essentially have half a year remaining! I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In three months it will be December! Wow. Time flies, and apparently the more stuff one does, the faster it goes by. Well, I hope that everyone is doing well enough. Please do remember the people in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering due to the conflict taking place in their home along with the countless others around the world who are suffering cruelly because of tyrannical rule (China, North Korea, Russia, etc.)
Saving Private Ryan trailer
Beach Landing scene from Saving Private Ryan
Dracula: Untold trailer (looks good, but not at the same time. Depends how they play everything out.)
I think that I have come to the conclusion that my life isn't going to be steady and consistent regarding much of anything until I have completed graduate school. So yeah, lot's happening on in the world, none of which seems to be very good or pleasant unfortunately. I almost feel like I'm beating a dead dog regarding these issues concerning Syria and Ukraine so I won't expound on them for now, but I will say what's continuing to be allowed and unchallenged is highly disconcerting. In other news. After an....extended weekend of camping I took an additional day off to chill and get caught up on stuff (including homework), and I watched Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm just going to say this right up front; it was trying to be Iron Man and it failed miserably. I don't know how many times I grimaced or rolled my eyes, but it was a lot. I didn't care really for any of the characters, which essentially were all annoying, and the villains really did seem to suck, though all of them had great potential. Chris Pratt played the exceptional immature, obnoxious, humorous, and frat like super hero/thief ever; I however do not care for that type of character, and it wasn't written well enough either; though I am certain frat boys and the like will idolize this "cool" ladies man wannabe with all of his awkward romantic moments. Dave Bautista as Drax was boring, as was Vin Diesel as Groot. Zoe Saldana as Gamora was very disappointing, and I'm beginning to think that she is a lot more talk than show when it comes to talent. Lee Pace was relatively good as the villain Ronan, but I think they could have done better with the story and the character. Bradley Cooper as Rocket reminded me a lot of his character in American Hustle; a lot of shouting, a lot of rude comments followed by condescending fight talk, with some pity "I feel bad for myself" talk. Between the characters there were some good laughs, but I think I laughed more during the previews than I did during the film. This film was visually quite stunning and beautiful. The action sequences sucked though. The theme for a lot of summer blockbuster films lately has been to simply overwhelm the audience with special effects action sequences rather than craft something dynamic, new and interesting. I believe I am getting comic book film burnout; there are just too many of them that it's beginning to get all mushed together. The 3-D was completely unimpressive. I am getting irritated with filmmakers and their use of 3-D; nothing is popping out, which is what I thought that the entire point of 3-D was, not just to add depth, but to make the audience feel like part of the film, as if they were in it and could experience it just like the characters. As I told my sister, it was very entertaining, but that's it. I don't discourage anyone to see it and I won't encourage anyone to see it. Anyone remember the show Continuum? Well I just finished season 3 tonight and it was amazing! Just when you think that you have seen it all and can't be surprised by anything, low and behold you're blown out of the water. Definitely recommend that show. Back to the grindstone tomorrow. May the Force be with us all.
Chris Pratt interview for Guardians of the Galaxy
Big Hero 6 trailer (this is what made me laugh before watching the aforementioned film. I looks quite hilarious.)
Apparently my last post according to Google was at the end of May. For me, life has become quite hectic and busy with grad school and work dominating more and more of my time and energy. Due to some staffing difficulties at my job I am being forced to take a good many on-call shifts where I have to work extra aside from my typical shifts (which have been increasingly draining). Then when I am not working I am partaking in grad school work, homework, projects, and lots of academic reading (which is extraordinarily boring). There is very little time for self-care and relaxing, or even having fun. Of course as a result of all of that, my writing has taken a beating (as have many other aspects of my life); I have not been doing any as I feel like I am in survival mode right now. The world certainly hasn't improved either since my last post, and has gotten worse with the crisis in Iraq growing, Syria still burns and rages on, Afghanistan is threatening to splinter, Ukraine is getting better but still is in the throes of danger from Russia, there is a child humanitarian crisis occurring in the U.S., and it seems as if the United States is loosing more and more allies with each passing month, or fracturing relationships with other nations. Even though I didn't live back during the 70's it really seems like history is repeating itself; doubt, fear, no faith in government, scandal plaguing the U.S. federal government, and despotism and radical terrorism on the rise. Essentially, things aren't looking up, not to mention that many of the economic systems of the world remain quite shaky. It would seem that the people of the world need a large boost of confidence and competence...or rather the leaders of the world's nations. Keeping in tune with the post's rather humdrum nature so far, I saw Transformers: Age of Extinction recently and was reminded that once again Michael Bay should move on to something else. Very loud, very computer animated, and very violent and destructive; not a very good combination when you have lousy screenwriting and poorly directed action sequences. The bright spots to the film were Kelsey Grammar (as an excellent villain) and Stanley Tucci as a world class scientist creating his own transformers. More bright spots to the film were no Shia LeBeouf or his character's parents, as well as some other obnoxious reoccurring characters. Mark Wahlberg is an excellent actor, but it wasn't his fault (or any other character) that the story and screenplay were atrocious (seriously, people get paid thousands and possibly millions of dollars to just write usually 135 pages of material and they can't even write something even a little bit decent). The film was incredibly deafening, and the action sequences were relentless. None of the action had any real taste or ingenuity behind it; there was no flow, just brute tactics, no dynamism. If all you want from a film is action, then you are watching the right film. For someone like me though that has seen high quality acting, high quality writing, and high quality directing and amazing action sequences (George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and Bryan Singer) it is a very difficult film to watch. It's like when you've eaten really good chocolate or cheesecake, it's hard to go back and eat the not so great stuff. May sound snobbish, but it's the plain and simple truth. If you want a great action flick I would suggest X-Men: Days of Future Past. That film demonstrates two things: Bryan Singer is the only person who can create well made X-Men films, and the film also stands as a great example of an action film that has excellent acting, dynamic action, and good writing. To end on some good news, I have less than a year of school remaining before I graduate with my Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology! Very excited about that; now all that remains is surviving up to that point.
Transformers: Age of Extinction trailer
Hemlock Grove season 2 trailer (just started watching it, pretty intense so far)
So I got up bright and early this morning and went and saw X-Men: Days of Future Past. When I first heard of the film and saw the previews and trailers, I thought that it would be dreadful, but after my experience today, I discovered that was not the case. Bryan Singer directed the first X-Men film, and second, and should have directed the 3rd and spinoffs as well. Between him and the writer Simon Kinberg, they produced one of the most excellent Marvel based films I've seen. It is dark, well written, a fantastic cast along with fantastic acting, and well filmed. I really enjoyed the film. Honestly, there isn't enough good things that I could say about the film currently. Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Peter Dinklage, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Halle Berry, Shawn Ashmore, and Evan Peters (Quicksilver) all contributed to make a rather splendid film. Peter Dinklage played a great villain, although I occasionally thought of Tyrion Lannister when he spoke. The best part of the acting scenes involved Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, and Hugh Jackman; very well written. I do have to say that I was impressed. The Sentinels from the future were impressive both visually, and also as villains in the film; they came across as deadly, vicious, and effectively intelligent being essentially the perfect villains. The action sequences were dynamic, impressive, well done, interesting, and done tastefully. The music by John Ottman was equally good, and it was delightful to hear some familiar themes that he composed for the 2nd X-Men film. He also did a fine job of editing; of bringing two concurrent timelines seamlessly together. As far as action.adventure, and comic book adaptations go, I highly suggest watching this film. It was very enjoyable, but also very dark (which is how I like them) but it really makes the journey that much better. All of the films are weaved together into this one, so that was a nice touch. I'm curious to see what the new film will be like. Oh, and don't forget to stay until the credits are over as there is an interesting foreshadowing of things from the past which will impact the future. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal today about the British Foreign Minister expressing his disappointment and disgust with China and Russia for vetoing a U.N. Security Council Resolution for indicting both the Assad regime and the rebel for war crimes at the Hague. He said something to the extent that it was a travesty of of justice that these two countries opposed this course of action. I'm sure that the rebels fighting Assad are concerning themselves with what the world considers war crimes, and the same for Assad. Both factions are fighting for survival, and human behavior has shown time and time again that when the chips are down and one has everything to lose, the rule book goes out the window, as does morality and ethics. You don't have time for such civilized constructs of reality when you are fighting against a ruthless foe that is determined to utterly, and ruthlessly destroy you. Syria has become an inexcusable, violent mess of which there is no good way to solve the civil war. Egypt is still uncertain, as is Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and also more recently Thailand. There is so much evil and hate in this world right now, no wonder films like Marvel comic book heroes are so popular; everyone wants to escape reality. God help us all.
In a way the month of May has gone by very fast, but at the same time it has gone by very slowly and thus long at the same time which of course doesn't make any sense but there you have it. I spoke to one of my co-workers today who had a rather fascinating story about someone she saw. So this kid had a friend of his with him, which he pulled a chair out for and pushed in, he was shouting at this friend and telling him what to do, and was freaking out when the friend was getting angry. This is my job, this is what me and my co-workers get to deal with potentially on a daily basis. Makes life so much more interesting. So I watched American Hustle tonight and about fifteen minutes into the film I was bored out of my mind and had thought 40 minutes had gone by. I contemplated stopping the film, but I pushed through, which isn't entirely true. I got on my tablet and played Magic: The Gathering card game and every now and then looked up to see what was going on. Almost two and a half hours long of nothing but shouting, searing, people getting hysterical, and a lot of dramatic nonsense about love, money, and power. All of those themes are great in a story and film, but honestly this film was written very poorly. Christian Bale's character was very interesting and could have been something much more awesome, but it was written terribly. The same thing with Amy Adams and her character; both together had the potential to be amazing, but fell horribly short. Don't honestly know if it came down to chemistry, acting, or truly the writing but that is what I am choosing. Bradley Cooper I wanted to strangle the entire film from the moment he walked on screen to the moment he stepped off. The best part of the entire film, which was a breath of fresh air was Jennifer Lawrence and her character, who was interesting and well written to boot. Why couldn't they have done that with all of the characters. Jeremy Renner's character was boring and ridiculous, but of course had potential. David O'Russell, who wrote and produced the film, has been hailed as a great for this film, which was also raved about by critics and audiences alike; God only knows what they saw in the film as I saw nothing. Don't recommend this film, and I doubt that I will ever watch it again. Not certain how many of you are keeping up with Game of Thrones but it seems that Lannisters are not the only ones keen on paying their debts. Season 4 is shaping up to be the best season yet, possibly because it may have the least amount of flagrant sexual content, but also the story is moving much more fluidly, not as much focus on pointless characters, and the stories are becoming more dynamic and interesting as are the story plots for what is going on. It is also shaping up to be the season where a good number of villains are dying, which is a great change for once. I think the show writers are finally coming up to the fifth book, so it should be interesting to see how George R.R. Martin finishes up the book series or rather contends with the fact that the writers are catching up to him. Well good night everyone.
American Hustle clip
Guardians of the Galaxy trailer 2 (Looks much better now)
Back in 1998 the seed of blockbuster comic book film adaptations of Marvel superheroes began with Wesley Snipes as Blade in the film Blade directed by Stephen Norrington. It was successful, and had three sequels but didn't really have the mass appeal that studios were looking to capitalize on. Enter the new millennium and in the year 2000 the first X-Men film was released directed by Bryan Singer with a fantastic cast and launching Hugh Jackman and Ian McKellen's acting careers to infinity and beyond. It was this film that truly ignited the summer bonanza of comic book film epics, two films and three spin-off films followed, with another one due out in summer 2014. Some of the Marvel adapted superheroes have paid off more than others; Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Avengers have been the most lucrative. The brand of Marvel has become so successful in adapting films, that the market is becoming saturated with films starring the comic book superheroes, and even super-villains. Not including the films that are still being developed, since 1998-2015 there will be at least 35 Marvel produced comic book film adaptations and it appears that it will only increase from that point on. I was 12 years old in 1998 and now I am 28 years old, and in the span of 16 short years there have been more film made from that same topic than anything else: Harry Potter, James Bond, Star Wars, Star Trek, Pirates of The Caribbean, Underworld, Jason Bourne,The Matrix, or Lord of the Rings. I haven't even mentioned DC comics, which includes all of the Superman films, the 3 different Batman strains (Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, and Christopher Nolan ), and The Green Lantern. Than there are other comic book films like Spawn, Hellboy, and Dick Tracy as well. America's addiction to epic escapism is staggering, but I think it may be related to the peter pan syndrome; not wanting to grow up and become a responsible individual. It is rather interesting (although not altogether suprising) that the majority if not all of these comic book films are targeted towards men, young men, and boys all of whom in American culture on average have been having extraordinary difficulty maturing at young age. A perfect example of America's reflection of American men was a film recently released starring Zac Efron and Seth Rogen called Neighbors. However, that is a discussion for psychological research. I personally believe that Americans will eventually tire of these films, at least I hope. When I was watching the Amazing Spider-Man 2 it seemed boring.....well, kind of like a ride that I've been on several times, and therefore has lost its thrill. Maybe that will happen, maybe not. As long as Hollywood makes money, they will continue to churn out comic book films like a factory. Here is a list of all the Marvel adapted film released since 1998 (I don't think I forgot anything): X-Men, X-Men: United, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: First Class, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, The Fantastic 4, The Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Catpain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3, The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Blade, Blade II, Blade: Trinity, Hulk, The Incredible Hulk, The Punisher, Punisher: War Zone, Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Why don't you try rating them all from most to least favorite? Films being developed are sequels for several of the above mentioned films, a film on Ant-Man, the Sinister Six (Spider-Man villains), Dr. Strange (which could be great if done correctly), Deadpool, and several others I cannot recall currently. DC is also beefing up as well with A Batman vs. Superman film, the Justice League, and possibly rebooting the Green Lantern. I enjoy a lot of these films, but sometimes too much of a good thing can be....well, I'm sure you can figure it all out. I would personally rate The Avengers as the best Marvel produced film yet followed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then Iron Man, X-Men: United, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Thor. Who knows how well the new ones will be, or the films that follow afterwards. One thing is for certain though, these days everyone either wants a hero or wants to be a hero; in other words people want to be someone unreasonably exceptional, or be saved by someone unreasonably exceptional (it's all tied to the difficulty America is having with stagnant social mobility). Have a good night everyone.
It seems like the week went by really fast, but was also really long as well. Grad school started up again this week, and thank God there are no statistics involved. Instead I am taking a course in personnel selection and job analysis. I suppose it would sound boring to most people perhaps, but to me it is a rather fascinating subject. It should also be interesting to see my master's project continue to take shape. I have once again given in and now have a Twitter account; merely look me up by name I suppose and voila, there I am. I'm using is mainly to chat about my trilogy, but I've quoted House of Cards as well (how could I not; such an awesome show). It's hard to imagine that May is halfway over already, and that I have a year of graduate school under my belt; I would have never imagined back when I was in high school. So oddly enough on my Netflix queue I had The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, which if you haven't a clue who he is, then that is indeed a bloody shame. He is perhaps most famous for his role in The Pink Panther as Inspector Clouseau, and then Dr. Strangelove in Dr. Strangelove. In this biographical film starring Geoffrey Rush as Peter Sellers, it was definitely a side of the man I had never thought of before when watching his films. If it is accurate, he was a very manic individual, with a short temper, psychotically selfish, and God only knows what kind of mental illness he had. Rush performed perfectly, and I swear that he actually looked like the man himself, mannerisms, looks and everything; it was rather remarkable. The film was also peppered with greats like Emily Watson as the 1st Mrs. Sellers (he had 4 wives), Charlize Theron as the 2nd Mrs Sellers (I think she was supposed to be playing a French woman), John Lithgow as big time Hollywood director Blake Edwards (a longtime collaborator of Sellers'), Stephen Fry as of some sort of mystical guide to Sellers, and Stanley Tucci playing Stanley Kubrick (he was sublime, even though it was a very small part). A tremendous cast, and it was relatively well written by Christopher Markus based off of the book by Roger Lewis. There were times when there were things in the film that didn't make sense, but overall I'd say it was pretty good; I could see myself watching it again. If you like excellent drama then you would like this film, and to top it off it was produced by HBO. Peter Sellers unfortunately died of a heart attack in 1980 at the age of 54. His comedic skills are still making people laugh, but now you get a glimpse of the man behind the laughter and his struggles. There you have it. It is the weekend, so I am going to relax and enjoy myself; I suggest all of you do the same as well, as best as you are able.
Geoffrey Rush as Inspector Clouseau in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
So I saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this morning, and I have to say that I was quite disappointed with what I saw. The special effects were well done, and impressive. The action sequences were....okay, but not as dynamic and invigorating as I had thought that they were going to be. Perhaps the most irritating part of the film was the screenplay; the dialog annoyed me overall in general, but no more so than between Peter Parker and his lover Gwen Stacey. Both Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are amazing actors, but they were not given much to work with unfortunately. I don't know how much I yawned or rolled my eyes while the two of them were in scenes together, but it was ridiculous. It was like watching to teenagers whine and complain about why they couldn't be in love and all of the angst that comes along with it. It was dreadful, very disappointing, and not as good as the 1st film. Andrew Garfield was a great Spider-Man in the 1st film, and he still has that certain charm in the 2nd film, but he really comes off as this go-lucky, immature frat boy that simply is going along in life getting his thrills and dating "the love of his life." There doesn't seem to be much growth in the character. The same thing goes for Emma Stone and her portrayal of Gwen Stacey, more growth/depth would have been nice rather than all of the silly romantic crap occurring. Jamie Foxx as Electro/Max Dillon was perhaps one of most enjoyable performances and parts of the film that I would have loved to seen woven through the screenplay much better. He was a great character and well acted, and relatively well written. Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborne was pretty good, although I feel like the character could have been.....better, once again I believe that the character wasn't written that well. I enjoyed the plot tie in to the "Green Goblin" villain, Oscorp, Ravencroft, and the beginnings of the "Sinister Six." The plot involving Peter's father, Richard, and what was really going on at Oscorp was compelling, but not a real central plot point, it seemed more of a superfluous side story. It should have been the central plot to the entire film, but instead the writers focused on the romance and Harry Osborne attempting cure himself; as I mentioned before, very disappointing. It was diverting enough, and perhaps I would watch it again, but I'm not entirely certain about that. I don't know what is going to happen over the next few years with all of these comic book film adaptations coming out; I guess they'll keep on making them until they are unsuccessful and generate no revenue. Honestly if you're looking for a good fluffy flick, and are young then this film is for you. In other new it was a great relaxing day for me, only one more of which I will be able to enjoy before grad school kicks into full blast this coming Monday. I can't believe I have completed one year of grad school already! This year is almost halfway over; time just cannot seem to pause, or slow down as one ages, or becomes more responsible and busy. That's all I've got for now. The world seems to be getting more chaotic and dangerous with each passing day, and apparently (at least in the U.S.) people are acting and displaying hostile and psychotic behavior. I say this working in the mental health field and talking with individuals who also work in this field across the levels of intervention and treatment. I have also spoken with people in law enforcement and they have seen a similar increase in behaviors as well; it is all very unsettling. Kind of like the rumblings before the giant earthquake.
So after a very long wait, Book 2 of a Warrior's Tale "Dishonor's Scourge" is now completed and available. The cover is awesome, the story of my characters is amazing, and I now only have 1 book left to finish in the series after starting it so long ago. I'm not quite certain how to summarize the book, so I'll just post the summary that is on the back of the book. My plan was to have more of a blitzkrieg of information to post, but I guess that will have to wait until I have more time on the weekend, or during one of the weeknights.
The 2nd book takes place right after the 1st book, with the exception of the Prologue, which does need to be read. Gash, Sqoe, Shenari, and Naceilia continue on their adventure, while Archous and Siran go on an adventure of their own (so to speak), while Lord Gaul and Overlord Zeinar continue to beat down the remaining armies of Caroth-Nor. There are several underlying storylines going on, and a lot of intrigue that is going on that won't make a whole lot of sense until the third book. There are some new characters as well, one of which was a whole lot of fun for me to write, which I will go into detail more later on this week, and I will also discuss how the characters have grown and changed since Book 1, and possibly where they are headed for Book 3. There are a few surprises in Book 2, but I think I'm saving the majority of those for Book 3. Overall I would say that "Dishonor's Scourge" is better written than "The Curse of a Warrior" and a whole lot more interesting and exciting as well. I am curious to see what everyone thinks of it. Now I just have to start writing Book 3 and finish the screenplay for Book 1. So much to do and no time to do it!
You can find the book on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, my book website, and also if you ask a bookstore they should be able to order it for you as well.
Well somehow I finished surviving the month of April. If it weren't my vacation, I think grad school and my job would have killed me by now. Fortunately, I have one more week of freedom before classes begin again, and I have to once again have that precarious balance of work and school, both of which are incredibly demanding. Despite having most that I want, I would settle for a relatively stress free life at the moment, which appears most elusive currently. I will not waffle on much about my place of employment other than the fact that I am weary of the job mentally and emotionally; it's pretty bad when your co-workers say that you've been getting worse over the past two weeks, and even when your clients make comments about your apparent stress level that is when you know you've got it bad. Even in the world there seems to be nothing but bad news; it's like the 70's (in the U.S) all over again, and what we need is a burst of confidence and invigoration that we got during the 80's. Nothing good is coming out of Ukraine or Eastern Europe with the great shadow of Russia looming over. Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan all seem to be relatively bad news lately. There is some good news that I will be sharing tomorrow evening that has been long awaited. Don't forget to check it out, provided nothing catastrophic occurs. I was finally able to watch Saving Mr. Banks tonight. Tom Hanks as Walt Disney was perfect, and although I am uncertain what P.L. Travers was like in reality, I am certain that Emma Thompson did an excellent portrayal, as her performance was excellent. Thank goodness Walt Disney changed it the way that it ended up being; if Mrs. Travers had gotten her way then I think the film wouldn't have nearly been quite as delightful, regardless of what my sister thinks or claims. It was humorous, moving, and thoughtful; it really shows where writers draw their inspiration from when creating a type of fictional world. I found the background story of where Mary Poppins came from to be quite interesting, a perspective that I never really considered. I definitely recommend the film, and although it isn't meant for young kids, I believe older children could watch it and enjoy it and in that regard it could be considered a family movie. Well I am currently falling asleep, so I bid thee all a fond goodnight.
Saving Mr. Banks trailer
Saving Mr. Banks clip
Rebels trailer (looks good, but I'm still not holding out much hope or expectations).
So my vacation is almost up, and I shall return to yonder U.S. Midwest. It has been a lot of fun and very enlightening on several levels. I feel like I have a much clearer direction for life than I did 2 weeks ago, and more confidence in what I am doing as well. I wish I could have done more writing, but grad school will not relent, and I wanted to spend time with people more than myself, so thus something for another time; I just have to get through another year of grad school and then I shall be oodles more of free!!! So today I decided to get up early and go watch the film Noah. I had heard bad things and good things and also had my own preconceived notions, but nothing really determined. Now after watching the film, I certainly have a strong opinion of it. It is bad. The film started out really strongly with it's take on the Biblical account, even though it took a number of liberties, but it wasn't bad at that point in the beginning. Then everything started going wrong once Noah began building the Ark. The acting was excellent and compelling, but Darren Aronofsky strayed so far from just the spirit of what was written in the Bible, forget the facts, but the man truly did not study the entire Bible. Noah and God were depicted as cold, ruthless, and out of touch with what people needed; also God was not depicted as the ultimate ruler and authority of the cosmos, but rather "The Creator." Mr. Aronofsky was partially responsible for writing the screenplay, and even though it may have been written relatively well, the man took such liberties that it actually worked against the lot, story and characters. I am all for adapting and even taking artistic license with Biblical accounts of people and their struggles as long as the truth remains. Honestly, it wasn't even that great of a film regardless of the severe lack of accuracy it possessed. It was interesting at the beginning, since that was an unexplored part of the story, but then it became so boring and convoluted when Noah began building the Ark, and then during their stay on the Ark when the Flood came it became even more boring all the way to the very end, which sucked. Russell Crowe made a good Noah, but I would have chosen differently, someone less action based, but his performance was excellent. Noah's wife played by Jennifer Connelly was well played, although I would have written her character a little more gutsier and less submissive. Logan Lerman was Ham (he is best known for his work The Olympian Series) and he did well with his character, although his character was completely and utterly written wrong. Ray Winstone was the villain, Tubal-cain, and he was written well and did a good job with his performance. I would have liked to have seen his relationship with Noah grown a whole lot more, but alas it wasn't. Anthony Hopkins played himself as Methusaleh (an almost Yoda like comparison to his character), and the rest of the cast did relatively well, even Emma Watson as Ila, Shem's wife, did a very good job and her character was written well, although once again I wish they would have done more with it. The special effects were okay, the music by Clint Mansell was actually quite good, the cinematography was well done, and I have to say that the only bit of the film that was perfectly accurate was what the Ark looked like, and it looked quite believable. Noah is an interesting film that people can dialog about the actual story and the significance of what happened, along with the fall of humanity from perfection, and how it moved forward and what people were looking forward to, but as a film all on it's own, I wouldn't waste my time again watching this film. Why you ask? Two major things: huge inaccuracies that take away from the story, plot and characters, and it is just plain boring. I can watch boring or depressing films, if the performances of the actors and actresses blow me away, but not if they don't. You won't miss out on much if you don't see this film; the director did better with Black Swan.
Fargo television series trailer (looks interesting and it has a good cast; who knows)
The vacation is going well here in San Diego; my escape from reality, and I really do not want to return to Illinois. The weather is beautiful, all of my friends are great, and there is so much more to do, and of course there is the beach. One thing that has changed is that all of the drivers are a lot crazier than I recall when I used to live out here, or perhaps I notice more than I used to because I've been doing a lot of driving since I have been out here than what I did before. Grad school has still been a pain in the neck to do while I've been out here; all I did for most of yesterday was school work, not pleasant but I am that much further to graduating and being finished....at least until I decide to acquire a doctorate degree. So, Game of Thrones Season 4 started out with a bang yesterday. I didn't see it as it was broadcasted I had it recorded and watched it earlier today. Fortunately they started off on the right foot with episode 1 thank goodness. Tyrion Lannister had a sizable role, as did Arya Stark, and Daenerys Targaryen so all of the good characters that I enjoy. There were also some good new characters, and then it was nice to see some of the good guys get back on top, and from what I understand that is supposed to be more prevalent in this season, which will be nice after the doom and gloom of the previous seasons. I have to confess that I did sneak ahead and investigate what happens to several of the characters and storylines, and I have to say that it was a mixture of bad and good, and I also spoke with a good friend who's read all of the books and answered several questions that I had, including a very fascinating theory that John Snow isn't the bastard son of Ned Stark but rather of some other people, whom I will not say, but it does seem very plausible. The cast continues to be excellent, old and returning; Peter Dinklage as Tyrion just keeps getting better and better, Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister is villainous/cold perfection just to name a few. It should be interesting to see how the series continues to progress and how they will intertwine the books and show, although I do have a really good feeling about the season is going to end, so we shall see how close I come, and if I am correct then it will be superb, although I guess every season has ended with the dragon mother so I might be most likely wrong already. Oh well. My vacation is down to about 5 remaining days, and then I have to return home. Blah. If you are able then you should take a vacation; it has been a lifesaver for me. Valar morghulis.
If I were to describe the remainder of the month of March, it would be this: no time. Between school and work I had a small amount of time to take care of myself and relax, let alone do any writing or watching anything substantial enough to write about. Now however, I have been on vacation in San Diego for about a week now and it is wonderful! It has been a lifesaver to escape from reality and do just nothing except relax and see old friends again, and not have to worry about the angst of the workplace, although I still have to worry about grad school work, but that isn't too bad, or rather something I can handle while on vacation. I've been to the beach, been shopping, done a lot of driving, and spent a lot of good time with good people. Well progress on Book II of my trilogy has finally reached a big mile marker and I think it should be available this month. Here is the title of Book II of A Warrior's Tale "Dishonor's Scourge." Shortly I will be posting the cover for the new book, and then hopefully I will be posting a link for where to get the book from. Today I took a big departure from reality and watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it was lovely! Of all of the Marvel films that I have seen and that have been produced this I believe is perhaps the 2nd best thus far, with The Avengers of course being the first, and the original Iron Man being the 3rd best Marvel produced/based film. Chris Evans is Captain America, no question, and he gets deeper into his character (as much as possible) in this film, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury was perfect and had a larger role in this film which was great. Scarlet Johansson as the Black Widow was just like before; intelligent, beautiful, and deadly, but with a more human side. For the new people, Robert Redford was an awesome edition to the cast and gave the film a good deal of credibility, and of course the man's talent is superb. Emily VanCamp's character was a little disappointing unfortunately as nothing was really done with her as it could have been. Anthony Mackie as Falcon (the guy with wings and a jet pack) was a great edition; not obnoxious, cool, and relatively well written. All around it was a very good cast, even the small roles, and of course the cameo by Stan Lee. The plot of the film is rather complex without giving too much away, but suffice to say that SHIELD isn't everything you thought it was, and that there shadows in the background calling all of the shots. The film was a lot of fun and was directed quite well for an action comic book film adaptation. The action sequences were really well done and choreographed. The music by Henry Jackman surprised me delightfully. It was actually a very well done, decent score with some good motifs; but none as more memorable than the one for The Winter Soldier. It was haunting and modern, and just perfectly fit the character. I think the 3-D was pretty good, from what I remember, although not too many things popped out; the depth and sound were awesome though. There were a lot of things that I enjoyed about the film, but none I enjoyed more than The Winter Soldier character; talk about a super cool villain and character, he was a lot of fun to watch, and an extra dimension within his character, though I will not spoil anything. Make certain that you stick around until all of the credits are gone; you will get a sneak peak of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. If you like this genre of films then you will enjoy this one, and if you like good action films, then you will enjoy it too. Well I am going to continue to enjoy my San Diego vacation, sunshine, warm weather, and excellent company and continue this escape from reality.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier preview
Captain America: The Winter Soldier featurette
Godzilla trailer (I do have to say there are possibilities)
I may not live in a daily reality where I am starving, under threat of death, fighting for my survival or living through any other extreme trauma, but it has been a long, stressful and hellish month for me; at least if I was fighting for something I believed in, perhaps I would feel like I'm actually doing something useful with my life rather than just getting ready to do something useful with it eventually. People call it March madness for basketball, I call it that because crazy people get crazier at least here in Illinois. Kids have been going into crisis up the fricking wazoo; cutting themselves, overdosing, threatening to hurt themselves and others, and having psychotic breaks with reality. All the while the program is putting on spring break camp for those with mental health needs, and people are rushing to get stuff done, stay above water, and of course run the camp, which means that we're short staffed because they're aren't enough people to adequately take care of all of the needs, which puts pressure on those not directly involved with camp. I also have grad school, which of course is Statistics this term and another part of my capstone course which is becoming increasingly more and more challenging. I also have to keep tabs on my book progress. I don't know how people who have second jobs, work on-call and have families are managing to remain sane; I am barely keeping my head above water. I swear I'm working close to 50 hours a week and then doing work at home on top of what I am doing for grad school. Thank God I am going on vacation this weekend! Yep, that's right I am returning to sunny, warm and beautiful San Diego for a whole 2 weeks! Granted I will still have to grad school work, but I won't feel overwhelmed like I do now. I just have to get through this week without blowing up, getting fired from saying things I shouldn't, or screaming at anyone; hopefully I will get through it all unscathed. Some good news is that I am okaying the cover art for Book 2 of A Warrior's Tale, so God willing it shall be out very soon. And I just have to say that the cover is amazing! I had no input on it whatsoever and the people or person who put it together was spot on. I was stunned with delight! You know what all of this means right, I have to start writing the third and final book. Where am I going to find the time? That I will worry about later. So much has happened since the last time I wrote, so I will have to summarize. President Putin of Russia has successfully pulled a Hitler and annexed Crimea without firing a shot (I think), and he is increasing his military presence along Ukraine's border. I don't know about ya'll but this is very disturbing and alarming, and I wish more Americans felt that way. The USA is Superman and Russia/Putin is Doomsday (got that reference from my brother in-law) and the only country that can and will stand up to Putin is the USA, no one else has the economic capacity, resources, or conviction of values (certainly not China) to do this, yet President Obama has only made threats and along with the EU sanctioned Russia and some of its wealthier elite, which I doubt will have any significant long term effect. Didn't they read history about when Napoleon and Hitler invaded Russia? Russia outlasts and survives everything that has been thrown at them, even the Mongol hordes; I think they will survive some sanctions. You have to ask yourself concerning an ex-KJB agent who thought the worst event in the 20th century was the fall of the Soviet Union; what's next? Between Syria and Ukraine, Russia's meddling is really costing a lot of lives and messing up geopolitical terrain. It seems reality sucks everywhere. So I decided to take a few breaks from it today when I was doing nothing when I should have been doing homework and work. I watched Gangster Squad which was surprisingly a good and entertaining film about a group of men back in 1949 L.A. who decided to work outside of the mainstream law and bring down a mobster and his flourishing empire. Sean Penn is the villain mobster, which he plays all too well. Josh Brolin is the hero, honest, traditional values minded detective/soldier who spearheads the operation, and he plays it very well; kind of makes you want for the olden days. Then there is Emma Stone who plays the good looking squeeze of the villain who falls for the young sidekick of the hero Ryan Gosling (who has come light years since Young Hercules) who was amazing; these two were the best part of the entire film. The film was perfectly cast with excellent talent left and right. Granted several of the fight scenes with bullets flying everywhere and no one getting hit was unrealistic (at least I would think so), but it was highly entertaining, the plot kept going, was surprisingly well written, and was shot very well. The film's pleasantness and delight actually surprised me, although it was very gritty, but it was very entertaining and I would definitely watch it again, and if you were going to watching a gangster style of film (which I often don't care for) then I would certainly recommend this one. Well I think I've waffled on long enough. Have an excellent weekend everyone and try to do something to help the people over in Syria and Ukraine; try calling one of your government representatives as that is what they are there for.
Gangster Squad trailer
Maleficent most recent trailer (looks so fantastic, and hopefully it will be thus.)
Da Vinci's Demons season 2 trailer (new season begins today!)