Saturday, September 28, 2013

Family or Faith?

For me it has been a very off week. At work I felt as if I had very little motivation to do anything, but when I spoke to many of my co-workers, they felt similar. I am uncertain why we felt that way, but I suppose that September has just been a very busy month to the point of exhaustion, and now it's almost over, so some tired apathy I suppose is inevitable. I have been quite busy with graduate school in conjunction with work. Pretty much my life is consumed by the two, and what's remaining is what I use to unwind and stay sane. I cannot complain though; when I am finished with higher level of degree I will certainly be reaping the benefits of it tenfold. Enough though of such things. I read something quite disturbing tonight in the Wall Street Journal (actually I read several things, but this one stood out). I don't know how many of you are aware of the oppression in the Sudan, especially in the region of Darfur, but the butchery that has been going on there has gone on for too long, and no one has done anything about it. Apparently, President Obama (before he attained his current position in the U.S. government) made a remark that ignoring the bloodshed going on would be "a stain on our souls." Yet he has done absolutely nothing in that region of the world, and he is doing nothing in Syria but giving the Assad regime time to tighten it's grip with the help of Russia and Iran. You know, there's a line from the Captain America film about why the hero want's to go to Europe and fight Nazis I believe he said something to the extent of "I don't like bullies." I don't care for bullies either. I am concerned about the fate of the world and the defenseless people in it when no one will stand up to the bullies in the world, as the United States used to. Our credibility to bullies though now is a joke, even America's allies probably don't think much of us anymore. Russia seems to regaining it's influence in the world, China continues to grow and cultivate its influence, and Germany is the reckoning force within Europe; the United States is like the Old Republic in Star Wars; waning due to decadence, greed, and government strangulation. Yes I am being very harsh, but people say that history repeats itself for a reason; people never learn and always make the same mistakes. In other news. I started watching Season 3 of The Borgias (talk about decadence) and it is good, but not as good as the 1st season was, nor second so far. The characters are continuing to grow, some for the worst some for the better, but honestly I don't see this show going past a fourth season, and I would be surprised if it even it gets another season after the 3rd. I'm not certain why television and film producers have been fascinated with portraying incest, but it is becoming quite....bad. You know what this world needs until Jesus returns; a fighting force of men and women that use guns and money to battle and eliminate tyrants and oppressive dictators, like G.I. Joe.

The Borgias documentary feature on incestuous characters

The Borgias episode preview

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Living in the Shadows.

What do you get when you combine the 1970's, an old soap opera, Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, witches and vampires? Well.....something that is very unusual, at least for film, but considering all of those elements are strange to begin with seems to work. Dark Shadows was definitely a unique film to be certain. It seemed to me that Burton tried to make it serious, yet also very playful and comedic. This is of course a usual trend for Burton and Depp when they work together, like Sleepy Hollow for example. At times it worked quite well for the film, then there were times when it didn't quite work as well. The film stars Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, who of course did a spectacular job as he usually does. Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins, was equally awesome as the matriarch of the modern family. Helena Bonham Carter was Dr. Julia Hoffman, and she was hysterical at first, and then her character became a little...well, not as interesting or humorous. The best part of the entire film (aside from Depp) was Eva Green as the witch Angelique. I don't know if I have ever mentioned how much I enjoy her presence on screen, but she is truly fantastic, and I have actually seen almost all of her films. Based off an old soap opera from the 1970's, it follows the story of a family whose patriarch was cursed by a witch because he failed to return her love. Buried for almost 200 years, Barnabas Collins awakens from his grave to find his family in turmoil, and he goes about trying to eliminate the curse and bring his family to prominence once more. It was an entertaining film, minus a very awkward and poor attempt to make humorous a sex scene between Depp and Green after 200 years apart. I could see myself watching it again I suppose, but it comes across as more of a group film to watch with friends than anything else. Thus I give it a "Yearning Ability" because honestly I don't know why Tim Burton had to create a film based off of a soap opera at all, and then there's some of the stranger performances on the film by the supporting cast, along with his choice of filming techniques. Watch or not, you won't miss much. I had a few laughs myself, but nothing really that great. It was a crazy week at work! I will not repeat the exact stories or what happened, but shall we say that there is no end to the deplorable depths of human nature. Fortunately though one is able to come across good natured people from time to time. When I haven't been working, I have been steeped in homework for grad school, of which there always seems like there is something to work just like there was in college, except now I don't have as much time to work on everything. The good thing is that I am not carrying as large of a load as I did during my undergrad, otherwise I might be shooting myself in the head right now. Apparently according to a news article that I read in the Wall Street Journal, the Chinese government is beginning to clamp down on it's people's online liberties and activities. Warnings are being issued for people to mind what they write and say concerning the government, and of course you can imagine what happens if they do not comply. I am curious what would happen if the Chinese people tried to rise up against their oppressive government and asked the world, or rather the United States for help. Would everyone stand by and watch as a repeat of Tienanmen Square happened, or would something get done. Based on what's happened with Syria, I don't think anyone in the world is holding their breath that the United States or Europe will come to the aid of anyone, unless it serves their own "interests." On that note, may the Force be with us all.

Dark Shadows trailer

Rush trailer (apparently it is supposed to be a really good film, but I don't know how I feel about that. After all it is a racing film, and I don't have a really track record with those.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

There Be Giants in the Sky.

God knows what is going to happen in Syria, but it looks like President Putin is going to be the one who ultimately decides, or should I say the KGB. I will leave it at that, because I have said everything and anything that I already could; I don't know what else to write. Apparently in reality, the bad guys win more frequently than the good guys, and things don't necessarily always end pleasantly or happily. Still, the Syrian people are the ones that stand to lose the most as people of power decide their fate. Well I can't say that work and school have been the best parts of the week, but they haven't been the worst either, and the week is still young unfortunately. Two days left of work remaining, and they promise to be the most challenging of all this week of course. While I was multitasking after work at home doing homework and eating, I was also watching Jack the Giant Slayer which if you were paying attention to the summer box office performed quite poorly, despite having a starring cast and being directed by Bryan Singer. Obviously it is about the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and about how he rescues the princess, saves the kingdom, and brings ruin to the giants. I was actually surprised that I actually enjoyed the film, and honestly it wasn't too bad. Nicholas Hoult was Jack, and he did an impressive job with the role he was given. Eleanor Tomlinson was the love interest isabelle, and she was okay, but was more obnoxious than anything else really. Ewan McGregor needs no introduction, and as the Captain of the guard was fun and of course good with his role, but rather static. Stanley Tucci as a backstabbing servant of the crown was perfect of course, and Ian McShane as the king of the realm was also quite perfect. The action was good, the screenplay was okay, and the music by John Ottman was fairly decent. It was quite entertaining and visually striking, but nothing as extraordinary as great and memorable. I don't know why people disliked the film so much, I would give it an "Admirable Ability" because truthfully I would rather watch that again then G.I. Joe: Retaliation. If you like entertaining films, then you will enjoy this one. Well I have to sleep, so goodnight world, and remember to keep those who are oppressed by tyrants in your thoughts.

Jack the Giant Slayer

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Look Closely......

Another week in paradise is over. The weather has finally begun cooling down thank goodness, and now I find myself for frosty than warm; not certain how much I am going to like the trade-off. We humans are never satisfied. By the way, whoever decides and decided what APA format is for writing papers, research, and citations for academic work should be....well....told quite firmly that using a format to write papers should make the process easier, not more difficult. Part of my grad school homework was about familiarizing myself with the inner workings of APA format; not a whole lot of fun. That was half of my day, and has pretty much been my nightly rendezvous throughout the week. Grad school has become my "other woman," of which my writing isn't very happy about how she has been replaced, so to speak. Between working and graduate school, pleasure is hard to come by, so I try to spend my extra time doing that, which sadly doesn't always include writing like I should. I couldn't actually imagine having a romantic relationship with an individual with all of this going on currently; that would be nuts. I just finished watching the film Now You See Me starring Jessie Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. The film is about four stage magicians who use their tricks to rob a bank, and also create some other mischief. Two agents try to uncover their deceptions, but always find that they three steps behind their foes. This was an enjoyable and fun film to watch. All members of the cast were a delight to watch, and it was nice to see Michael Cain and Morgan Freeman in their less traditional roles. I wouldn't say that anyone stood out in particular, although Jessie Eisenberg I think stole the show pretty much. He is a very talented actor that I highly enjoy to watch on screen...aside from his role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (which has nothing to do with his acting, but rather I find the character abhorrent and distasteful; an accurate depiction of the real life man I am sure). Louis Leterrier is the director and did a fantastic job with the film, and he's had a fairly good track record so far with his short film list. Apparently he's going to make a sequel to the film, but I doubt it will be as good as the first. I won't say anything, but there is a surprise at the end. I give it a very "Strong Ability" and highly recommend it, and it would also be a good date film too. I don't know if any of you have been paying attention to the news lately, but it appears that as long as dictators "promise" to hand over some of their deadly weapons, that it is alright to let them remain in power even though they are butchering their people, and tearing their country asunder. While President Obama is setting one of the worst foreign policies in decade, President Vladimir Putin of Russia is swooping in beefing Iran and Syria up and sending a message that tyrant based regimes will help each other out. I wonder when China and North Korea will join in the fray? Despite President Obama and his administration being the loser in this unfolding scenario, even though they are attempting to save face, the Syrian people continue be the majority loser. Just when they thought they might have an ally, President Obama backpedals on his word and yields to Russian authority. Such a shame. Keep those people in your thoughts, and all of the other people in the world that are oppressed in places like China, North Korea, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Russia, Bahrain, Cuba, Myanmar/Burma, and several nations on the continent of Africa. One day these people will be free.

Now You See Me Opening scenes

August: Osage County trailer (odd, but interesting looking...I think. Good cast at least.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Good Old Fashioned American Swagger.

A day which will go on in American history as a turning point in our culture and define many generations to come has come and gone. So much has changed in the past twelve years, and I find it very strange to look back at on where America was in the beginning of 2001 to where it is now in 2013. God bless the families of those who serve this country in the military, and may God watch over and bless those who have served, who still are serving, and those who have died fighting for the United States of America, and for the cause of freedom, liberty, and equality. Thank you.

I can't really say that much has happened since my previous post, but the heat has turned up immeasurably here in Illinois over the weekend. I believe yesterday I saw the temperature around 103 degrees F. which to me was incredible, especially for this time of year. I thought it was supposed to be getting cooler, not hotter. Work has been keeping me on my toes; lots of surprises and challenges, which never seem like they will go away (good or bad, who knows.) I don't know if I mentioned this or not in one of my more recent posts, but the group home for severely emotionally disturbed children that I was fired from last year is being shut down. Apparently God got me out of there just in time and I dodged a proverbial bullet. Now I have a far better job and am in graduate school, so I suppose it all worked itself out for the best and I came out on top as I always do, thanks to God. Ironically this is the second time something like this has happened to me, although the first time I lost my job because it was seasonal and they decided not to keep me, and then Borders went bankrupted and was liquidated. By that time I was working full time at the group home. If you haven't guessed it, I get on a soap box and often talk about the topic of freedom throughout the world, and the fight against tyranny and oppression. Apparently China is arresting anyone who posts an offensive, or mocking statement of the government if I read the article correctly. These are the individuals who have a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, and the U.S. borrows a ton of money from them, and imports far too much merchandise from them as well. Not very sensible. Now, in regards to Syria, I guess it's not really about helping the Syrian people and giving them justice, it is about President Obama and his administration saving face. He now has yielded to Russia and given Assad more time to kill those who oppose him, by coming up with this lame idea for Assad to hand over his chemical weapons in order to avoid military action against him, which at the moment the world is very divided on. Now, while diplomats and world leaders are arguing, posturing, and waging fights over semantics, the Syrian people are being gassed and butchered; has anyone asked for their perspective on the matter? It is true that there is a great uproar against intervention of any kind in Syria from the general American public, it really shouldn't be so, and it really mirrors American greed and selfishness. What a shame. In other news. I watched the film called Emperor this evening while also attempting to multitask and do my homework. It stars Tommy Lee Jones and Mathew Fox and a cast of well known Japanese actors and actresses. It is about the rebuilding of Japan by General MacArthur, played by Tommy Lee Jones, and also the investigation of war crimes by the Japanese political and military leaders led by General Fellers (Mathew Fox). It is a really fascinating film and story as the plot weaves through the repressed and honor bound culture of Japan from that era. Both men of course do a flawless job bringing their real life characters to life. There is romance, intrigue, drama, and excellent dialog that makes one think. I also like the exploration of Japanese culture, if it was accurately depicted. I'm giving it an "Admirable Ability" and if you enjoy historical fiction based films, then you will enjoy this one, and I think it would also be a great date film as well. Good music, good cinematography, and a good screenplay. Well that's all. Good night and good luck.

Emperor trailer

Kill Your Darlings Trailer (very odd and strange looking, but then again it does have a great cast.)

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Into Oblivion.

Tip of the day: always make certain that your gas is turned on for wherever you are living if you wish to have your dryer appliance actually dry your clothes versus just having them tumble around for hours on end. I just watched an NBC news video about the Syrian Civil War. Apparently the President's administration released some graphic videos depicting the horrors the Assad regime is unleashing upon his people via the chemical weapons, such as sarin gas. It was deeply disturbing, as many of the images were of children, and rows of either dead bodies or dying bodies. I wonder what it would be like to live in such a place where death is more common than joy, happiness, or even life for that matter. I feel as if I am out of words about how to describe the carnage and death taking place over in Syria. May God continue to be with those people, and may Assad reap in full all of the evil he has sown. Switching gears, if one could do that from something so horrible to something light. I did some homework, relaxed, and spent some time with me mother and nephew. Eventually later on in the evening I watched this film called Oblivion and all I have to say is yuck. 40 minutes into the film something finally interesting and exciting happened, and even after that it still slogged on. Tom Cruise did fine as Jack the hero and main character, Morgan Freeman was wasted in this film totally, as was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (plays Jamie Lannister in Game of Thrones). Olga Kurylenko (was in Quantum of Solace) did fine, but the writers didn't do a very good job with her character. Andrea Riseborough played Victoria, Tom Cruise's....assistant, and she did fine, but was a very boring character. Basically aliens came and attacked the earth, the humans fought back and won, but not without a price. The Earth is contaminated and everyone is relocating to Titan slowly. However, Jack is raising questions about the mission he is on, and as he explores the world he once called home, he begins to find out that everything is not as it seems. The plot was simplistic, easily predictable, and nothing really original was done. I felt like I was watching a weak science fiction based love story with a man that loved listening to music on record, loved football and baseball, and liked to shoot baskets. I'm sorry, but that isn't interesting to me, and it once again shows that many of the roles that Tom Cruise plays he does a dreadful job with, or rather the films he ends up choosing are usually just plain dreadful. I'm giving it a "Poor Ability" and am advising people to not watch it. I truly believe it sucks that much. Everyone try to have a good rest of a weekend.

Oblivion trailer

The Fifth Estate (it's an older trailer, but I recently came across. Great cast, and it looks very interesting especially since it is about Julian Assange.)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Back with Vengeance!

WOW! I went back to work on this past Tuesday and everything began really slow as I caught up with all of my phone calls and emails, but then one crisis led to another, and then another and before I knew it, the day was over. I had forgotten how crazy it could get at work, but that was just the beefy main course, the topping on the dessert was yet to come. I also began graduate school work that day, and although it wasn't too difficulty, it did require a lot of time to read and answer the discussion question, and then also comment on everyone else's conversations. I suddenly became aware that graduate school, although being done via online, would truly begin to suck my time away from me, the time after work that I usually used to unload stress. It should be interesting to see how it all plays out, yet I keep asking myself what the hell I got myself into. Today was murder at work, I went from one crisis to another, both had belligerent parents who don't have a clue about mental health, and then I spent about an hour and a half with a family trying to get through to their kid about being polite and respectful to his parents. I am so exhausted right now I can barely keep my eyes open, and I also just finished more homework for graduate school; it never ceases to end. One of the other difficult things this week (although it is rather silly) is that I started watching season 2 of Revenge and I couldn't stop watching it. The show was so addicting and entrancing that I powered through the entire season, which I began watching Monday, as of last night. I have never done that before with any other show save for maybe Dexter and Damages, but there is something about this show that is so delicious and cool at the same time too. Emily VanCamp is awesome! She plays the beautiful, and calculating typical Hampton woman, but also possesses that dark retribution which makes her character so dynamic. Madeline Stowe as Victoria Grayson is flawless; you hate and despise her so much, yet she pulls off that tiny bit of empathy so powerfully that you just can't help it. Henry Czerny as Conrad Grayson does so well, and shows that not only can he do historical characters from period films and shows, but also something that is modern and popular. The show remains full of surprises and twists to be sure (not as many as the first season, but then again the viewer knows so much more this time around), and the drama remains high and grows more intense. People and characters do die. If you like mystery, intrigue, and drama then I believe you will enjoy this show. Switching gears. I am finding it utterly astounding that President Obama and his administration are pushing so hard for military action in Syria, albeit I don't believe that they're going about it the best way, but at least they are doing something. Not quite certain it is helping the Syrian people who are getting butchered each passing day, nor to the region which is becoming increasingly destabilized more and more the longer this conflict is not resolved. I don't know what is going to happen, but I do know what should have happened the moment Assad began killing the protesters two years ago. At that moment, the United States of America should have militarily intervened. Now, I am beginning to have my doubts about what should be done as it has turned into a bloody civil war sweeping up a region. May God bring peace to those people soon. My eyes grow heavy, so I am off to dreamland. Take care and enjoy the weekend, which I am hoping to do in between my bouts of homework and assignments that I have to do.

Revenge season 2 promo (the trailer does not do the show justice)

Robocop remake trailer (ummm....I don't know about this. Hollywood certainly is desperate).

Monday, September 2, 2013

Franklin's Girls.

I have returned to the Midwest once again. I am becoming quite the traveler. I have driven through most of the U.S.A. aside from the upper eastern coast. I don't know if I wrote this down yet in any previous blogs, but Montana is one very large, very wide state. Fortunately the return trip was far less painful than the trip there. I drove 1300 miles in one day. All of the way from Missoula, MT to just outside of Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN. 5:30am-12:15am. What a day it was, but of course the most difficult part came at the end. I had never driven through Minneapolis-St. Paul before, and I avoided it purposefully on the first part of my trip, but I thought the experience would do me good, and I am certain it did, but it was very stressful. That city is just plain HUGE! I drove through the heart of the city, and my goodness what a confusing commuter/road system they have there. There's no real way for me to explain it, but it was definitely intimidating, more intimidating than driving through Chicago or San Diego, or any other major city that I had driven through. The next and last day was simple; I only drove about three more hours before I arrived at my ultimate destination and took another nap around 11am since I started driving around 5:30am. It was lovely to be back in my own home again, and sleep in my own bed. I got everything put away and organized yesterday and then spent the day with my brother in-law and sister. Today I did nothing, and then prepared myself to begin classes for graduate school tomorrow!!!!! I can't believe this day has come! I have been looking forward to graduate school since I was a freshman in college back in 2004, and now 9 years later I am right where I want to be. Today was only introductions and doing tutorials so that I know how to navigate online course stuff for the school that I am partaking in. Also back to work tomorrow; I can't wait to see what mess awaits me. Tonight I watched a rather interesting, yet boring film called Hyde Park on Hudson. The film is about former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his mistresses, but also how he entertained King George VI and his wife Elizabeth the queen, as they attempted to get America to join their fight against Nazism. It had an excellent cast with Bill Murray as FDR, Laura Linney as Daisy (one of the mistresses whose perspective the story of the film was told), Samuel West as King George VI, Olivia Colman as Elizabeth, Elizabeth Marvel as Missy (another misstress but also FDR's secretary) and Olivia Williams as Eleanor Roosevelt. The film had the potential to be very good, and even great, but the screenplay was written that fell; the film almost ran anemic like, and didn't have very good direction or pace. I do have to say that the system FDR had with his mistresses was quite...unique and interesting. Reading a biography on him should be interesting one day. I wouldn't recommend the film to watch, nor do I think that I shall ever watch it again. I was highly disappointed, and not a single performance or element of the film really stood out to me at all. I'm giving it a "Poor Ability," which is odd because usually I thoroughly enjoy the films that Focus Features produces. Oh well. Can't win them all. In other news. President Obama, his administration and cabinet are now attempting to persuade and gather support for military intervention in Syria, finally. But honestly, I think that he is too late in many regards. Over a hundred thousand people dead, Assad still in power, and clearly he believes he can do to his populace anything he wants, because no one will stop him. So much for American compassion, but it has rather turned into American selfishness, just like the rest of world. Once upon a time, America stood out from the rest of the nations of the world, specifically European nations, but now we have become so similar; debating such actions in committees and public opinion polls. Ever since Assad began brutally putting down the peaceful protests that were happening in Syria, I have been stating that the U.S. needed to militarily intervene; that was well over a year and a half ago, if not longer. I'm so disappointed in President Obama's leadership in regard to this matter, and once more I'm going to state that I'm afraid his mistake will come back to haunt this nation one day in the future. Why would nations come to our aid, when we do not come to the aid of others when they desperately cry out for it?

Hyde Park on Hudson trailer

Divergent teaser (looks interesting......I think)