Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Girl On Fire!!!

So the weeks starts off with a bang! Not really. Yesterday it snowed, and I was really depressed. I guess it is to expected for this time of year in this region of the U.S. Thank God it will be a short work week, but I wish that I had more time to get stuff done at work because of that very same reason. Can't win them all it seems. I remember seeing The Hunger Games when it first came out a couple years ago, and I didn't like it, although I cannot remember very well why (I suppose I could read back in my blogs and literally read why I felt that way initially). Now after watching Catching Fire today, I do have to say that I was impressed with the visuals of the film, the storytelling, and the writing as well. I have to say that most of everyone's character grew a little bit more, although it would have been nicer to see Katniss and Peeta grow a tiny, little bit more as well as their rather complicated relationship. But both Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson did an excellent job with their performances. Liam Hemsworth as Gale would have been nicer to see fleshed out as a character as well, but perhaps that will come in the next two films. All of the returning actors and actresses were awesome; the best treats were of course Woody Harrelson (Haymitch), Stanley Tucci (Caesar) Lenny Kravitz (Cinna), and last but not least Elizabeth Banks (Effie). Donald Sutherland proved that he is quite the villainous leader in this film as President Snow, and his cohort Plutarch (Philip Seymour-Hoffman) as well, who didn't have quite as large of a role, but an important one nonetheless. The casting was excellent. Jenna Malone played an interesting tribune, as did Jeffrey Wright and Sam Claflin. I was most impressed with the visuals of this film. I mean the costumes designed by Trish Summerville were amazing, breathtaking and highly intricate at times; I don't know how she came up with the ideas for many of these clothes, but it was quite impressive. The cinematography by Jo Willems wasn't per se spectacular, but there was something intimate, gritty, but....almost indescribable.....beautifully simplistic about how the film was shot, and what was chosen as background and foreground. I'm giving the film a "Strong Ability" and if you liked the first film, then you will enjoy this one as well, and if you haven't seen or heard anything about these films or books (written by Suzanne Collins) then you should; all very entertaining, and also has some thought provoking ideas, especially for this day and age. Well if I don't post before Thor's Day, then Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Catching Fire preview

Interviews with Catching Fire cast members

Sunday, November 24, 2013

8 Years of Blood Finally Drying Up.

Even though I didn't start watching Dexter until it was well underway, it has been a good many years since I started watching the show and have seen characters grow and develop. So far with season 8 (the final seasons) I am actually enjoying it a lot; it came across differently when I watched the trailer than what I've seen so far. A new character this final season is a specialist neuro-psychiatrist who works and researches psychopathy. She has a very...unique relationship with Dexter. For those of you who haven't seen it, I won't spoil it for you, and for those of you who have, well I need not say much. I've heard a lot of talk that the final episode was a big let down, or anti-climactic or something like that, but I'm staying clear until I've been able to form my own opinion. We shall see how the remainder of the season goes. I don't know about how the rest of you have been doing lately, but I feel like I've been getting busier and busier. I thought that things would slow down in November, but they've continued to pick up, albeit at a more gradual pace in regards that is to my job. I had to hospitalize a young man a couple days ago that had suicidal ideation; he was so manipulative and wanted to hurt himself so much that he was begging me to not send him to the hospital. Up until this point in my life, I have never had a young boy address me as sir; it was very....odd. Graduate school hasn't been any more forgiving. I had to do an article critique, which isn't per se hard, just very, very time consuming. If you've ever read scholarly journal articles about empirical research experiments then you share my pain, or perhaps you are counted amongst those who enjoy reading such material. I cannot think of much else that has been happening besides those two things in my life during November thus far, and yet the month will be over by the end of the week. The world seems to still be hanging on somehow; some, particularly in the U.S. political system, only by a thread. It's interesting to note that Syria has taken a back seat to the news and Iran seems to have moved up. Apparently the word of oppressive and cruel dictators is true, which is why the U.S. Secretary of State championed a deal in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear ambitions, sanctions would be eased against the country of Iran. Should be interesting to see if the Ayatollah keeps his word. I also read something very disturbing in the Wall Street Journal which indicates that Bashar al Assad used sarin gas to kill over 1500 people, including several civilians and children. The gas works in seconds by killing the nervous system; I believe it was described as people struggling to breathe.There was a ghastly picture of some dead children that the sarin had poisoned; I have to admit that it was ghostly to look at the picture of the dead boys with their eyes open. And people in the U.S. and Europe are concerned about global warming and if animals have enough rights, or whether or not who can or cannot be legally married. I will leave it at that. If it is possible to move onto something brighter, it is Thanksgiving week, and I believe Hanukkah begin this weeks as well (according to my calendar at least; I have to admit that I do not know much about that holiday). I think there is much to be thankful for, and I especially have much to be thankful for this year. For one year ago I was unemployed, living in my sister's basement out here in the Midwest after living in San Diego. Now I have a great job, I am working on getting my masters degree, I have my own place, and I will be visiting San Diego in the spring of next year! Eventually I shall return there; biggest reason why.....it is too darn cold here. Goodnight and good luck everyone.

Noah trailer (not sure how I feel about this; films in general about the Bible never seem to be good or...accurate to what actually happened).

Sherlock teaser (should be interesting to see what follows).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Make the World Small.

Well winter has finally arrived. I feel like I'm in the north from Game of Thrones. As fall tarries on, you keep thinking to yourself that winter is coming and then finally it arrives and BOOM! You are completely frozen. It sucks. So work was a whirlwind today, of course, as it always seems to be. Nothing out of the ordinary happened, as of yet, but that may change tomorrow, but please do knock on wood for me. Some really good news on the publishing front is that they are putting my second book into production this month, but don't get too excited, I won't believe it until they begin sending me all of the stuff to approve. I am thankful and pleased though to see movement. We shall see though how it progresses. Since Man of Steel was released yesterday on Blu-ray, I decided to watch it tonight (I was watching season 2 of Suits yesterday, very good by the way; I highly suggest it). It was just as enjoyable as it was in the theatre, although I do miss the 3-D, the booming sound, and the super huge screen. I admire the film and what Zack Snyder did for its scope and depth; it came across more than just another comic book film, and I think that has a lot to do with Christopher Nolan of course, but Zack Snyder is just an amazing director that I hope doesn't get trapped in comic book films or toy based films like Michael Bay. It had a fantastic cast; Henry Cavil certainly does an excellent job as Clark Kent and Kal-El. Visually it is quite spectacular, and I especially love the part when they are on Krypton. I think if Zack Snyder were to do a purely science fiction film that he would excel like none other with it. Maybe it's just me. I really wish though that Hans Zimmer would have done something different with the score. It's fine to be sure, but there aren't any really memorable themes or motifs. I'm not going for John Williams' score, but still it would have been nice to have something musical to cling to beside big, booming, thunderous drums. Oh well. It should be very interesting to see what Zack Snyder does with the untitled Batman vs. Superman film, and how they are going to come up with a credible storyline and plausible characters. Anyways. Well goodnight everyone and may the Force be with us all.

Man of Steel behind the scenes

Maleficent teaser trailer (It looks bad, but I can hope....right?)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Before Light, there was Darkness....."

We go from frost giants to dark elves in the world of Thor. So I went and saw Thor: The Dark World today and I found it entertaining. I'll just come right out and say that it was merely okay upon first view in 3-D IMAX. The dark elves were really cool and awesome. They were designed very well and cool, they flew really sweet looking ships; they were completely fantastic villains, which I wish would have been explored more along with why they were trying to destroy the universe aside from the obvious motive of revenge. Aside from that aspect of the film, nothing else really blew my mind away, made me think, or feel any emotion really whatsoever. It was purely an action/fantasy film through and through, but more importantly it was a comic book based film. Perhaps I am beginning to see far too many of those kinds of films and I am becoming bored all they do is attempt to wow the viewer with big, huge special effects and attempt to create intricate fight scenes or chase scenes which only George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are really good at creating.Chris Hemsworth was great as Thor, as was Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, although I would have liked their relationship explored more and her shine more as a character; she seemed relegated to a tertiary role in this film. Tom Hiddleston as Loki was same as before with a few surprises; not a whole lot of dynamism with him or any of the other characters for that matter. Christopher Eccleston was wasted on as the chief dark elf. Anthony Hopkins was also fine as Odin, and a different side of the character was explored more in this film, but it would have been nice to see him go a little further with what he had done. The music by Brian Tyler was impressive; I actually thought that Patrick Doyle had returned to score the second film, but I was mistaken. There were a number of excellent musical motifs throughout the film, but nothing to really hang onto. Did I mention everything about the dark elves rocked, well it is worth mentioning again; this includes design, make-up, costumes, and the coolness factor. The 3-D was alright, but they didn't really shoot the film or utilize the 3-D technique to its full advantage like they could and should have. The director, Alan Taylor, has directed episodes from hit series like Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, The West Wing, Rome, and Boardwalk Empire. He clearly has a great deal of talent which he showed in this film, but I don't fault him for it's mediocre state. The writers: Christopher Markus, Christopher Yost, and Stephen McFeely didn't really do a stellar job with the screenplay; the lackluster dialog and the relatively uncreative plot line with the dark elves and the "aether" didn't play very well. It was like they were trying to write an epic story, have a ton of action, and then more action with cool special effects, and also have comical humor as well while remaining true to the comic. If the writing had been better the film would have been so much stronger, but it wasn't which is why I am giving the film an "Admirable Ability." Don't get me wrong it was entertaining and I'll watch it again, but I don't think that I would own it, or watch it frequently. Life has been busy, I have been sick, God only knows what's going to happen to the American healthcare system, the Philippines have been decimated, I am going to get disciplined for something that happened at work, and my sister and brother-in law just recently celebrated their 1 year wedding Anniversary over the weekend. Paula and Gabriel I love you both! It would take too long to summarize everything that has been going on, so I will just say that graduate school is turning out to be something I didn't expect (in other words I'm not really liking or enjoying it as much as I thought I would). And that I hate the bitter cold along with snow and ice. One thing I have recently discovered is that if you want to stay on top of your job, you have to put in more then 50 hours a week, otherwise you'll sink. I haven't even really mentioned Syria, nor the decimation in the Philippines. A lot of people in the world need help, and I just read something about people protesting in Bangladesh who were attacked by government forces there; another country that could use some freedom. Just remember that even though you can't help everyone; you help those that you can. Good luck and goodnight.

Thor: The Dark World preview

Thor interview

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"Would You Prefer a Lie or the Truth?"

"Remember, remember the fifth of November; the gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."  -V for Vendetta

Yes it is that very time of year again. What is traditionally "Guy Fawkes Day" in England is today. Why I like to continue celebrating, or rather remembering this day is because people need to realized that they can overthrow/change their government if it ever reaches a point that it is oppressive and vindictive. If there was ever a time to consider a change in government, it would seem that this would indeed be the year for many countries throughout the world, aside from the U.S. alone. I really hope that US citizens have realized over this past October that people should not be afraid of their government; the government should instead be afraid of their people. And that goes for any democratically elected body in any part of the world. By the way, please do not blow up a building or undertake any form of terrorism. I was watching the film V for Vendetta this evening and there is a line that I caught "..fear was the ultimate tool of this government.." If you've paid attention to the news then you've noticed that many members of the US government (and those in the banking and finance industry) have used fear to get what they want, but it has also happened in France, Egypt, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, China, and several other places. That is how governments become so powerful, and then too powerful; people become scared and surrender their freedom so that the government can "protect" them, and then before they realize they are without any freedom. I have said it before and I will say if again; a large and powerful centralized government is bad. Local and smaller governments will always be better; but what do men and women with power want.....more power of course, so I doubt that the current US federal government will downsize at all in the foreseeable future. However, all it takes is one spark to start a great conflagration; all that is needed is just the spark.
I cannot say that the day overall has been exciting and or interesting. All I have to say once more is thank God that it is November! Work and graduate school seem to be going much better already, which is an enormous relief. Although I had this client, whose father really, really insulted me last night and was very condescending to me when speaking; not how I would have liked to finish the day, but I suppose you run across people like that every now and then. Hopefully soon though, my job title and responsibilities will be changing. Well that's it for today. I didn't really yack on as much as I did last year, but what I want people to really consider is that they really don't need the government as badly the government wants them to think that they do. Ironically, it is also Election Day in the US; so hopefully people really considered this before they voted for whomever they chose. Remember, "artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use lies to cover the truth up."

V's Speech to London

Hugo Weaving interview

Desolation of Smaug sneak peak