Friday, April 11, 2014

40 Days & 40 Nights......

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.

Noah featurette

Noah clip

Fargo television series trailer (looks interesting and it has a good cast; who knows) 

Monday, April 7, 2014

"A Dragon Can Never be Tamed."

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.

Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 1 scene

Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 2 preview

Friday, April 4, 2014

Winter Heats Up!

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)

Expendables 3 Trailer (looks promising)