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Lucy

18 Aug

I tend to be a bit of a trailer junkie when it comes to movies.  I’ll get bored every month or so and will go and look at all the trailers that Apple has up and see what strikes my fancy.  When I first saw the trailer for Lucy I just knew that it was going to be right up my alley.  There’s a little bit of action, Scarlett Johansson gets to be a bad ass, some cool science-y stuff going on, what’s not to love right?  Well, apparently no, that’s not really what the movie is about.  I apologize if some things are a bit out of order.  If you see it or have seen it… you will understand why.

The movie starts off with Lucy, no not the Scarlett Johansson character, the first “human”.  The little ape thing is sitting drinking water from a stream.  There’s then a voice over by Johansson that talks about what have humans done in all their existence and lots of sped up video of traffic and people in an Asian city.  Then we come to Lucy, this time the Scarlett Johansson character, and her douchey boyfriend Richard.  I’m surprised I remember his name partly because he’s a general tool bag and also because well he dies 5 minutes later.  Douchard wants her to take a case of something into this office building to give it to Mr. Jang.  He doesn’t know what’s in it and he doesn’t want to take it in because he’s scared so he handcuffs it to Lucy, forcing her to take it in.  As she’s standing in the lobby asking for Mr. Jang there are flashes between her and a scene of a cheetah hunting a gazelle.  This parallels her being hunted by the body guards for this supposed Mr. Jang (so artsy!).  They shoot the boyfriend and cart her up the stairs and into a room.  It’s clear by this point that this Lucy is a little pathetic in a way.  By the time they get her upstairs she’s a bit of a blubbing mess.  I think it bothers me more because I’m so used to seeing her kick ass.

evian

Once in the room, Lucy promptly throws up (though it didn’t seem too realistic) because there are some dead bodies in the bathroom.  Mr. Jang comes out of the bathroom, hands covered in blood.  One of his lackeys pours a bottle of Evian over his hands so he can clean them.  Yes, it was Evian.  The bottle was positioned so the label could easily be read.  Great marking ploy there Evian!  After that fun little bit, Mr. Jang asks Lucy what’s in the case.  The kicker here is he doesn’t speak English so he uses a phone service to translate for him.  Perhaps he has his own special line for his murdering and drug dealing?  He gives her the code to open it and leaves the room while his guards pull out shields.  He really must not trust Richard, seems I was right on the douche part.  She gathers up her courage and opens up the case.  Unfortunately it doesn’t explode, so the movie continues…  Inside are pouches of the blue powder that we’ve seen in the trailer.  The next step is obviously to test the drug.  Mr. Jang brings out a drugged out guy and makes him snort some.  This takes a good deal of work because he is completely out of his mind.  After the dude snorts up the magic blue crystals, he flips out a bit and then just starts laughing before being shot in the head.  Alright… that explained a lot.

While this is going on, Morgan Freeman, Professor Norman in this movie, is giving a lecture to a big audience about the brain’s capacity.  Now I know the whole “you only use 10% of your brain” is bull, but I rolled with it for the movie.  He gives theories that at 20% you can control your own appearance and 40% other people and at 100%, who knows!  In bits of his lecture though there are more clips of animals and such.  The most memorable being when he talked about reproduction to pass on genes.  Yep there was some mild animal porn going on in the middle of the movie.  Yey animal porn.

Now that we have our weird mystery drug.  Lucy gets knocked out and wakes up with a bandage around her middle.  The bad guys throw her some random clothes and take her into a fancy suite with a dragon sculpture on the ceiling.  Three other dudes are brought in that have apparently had the same thing done.  Next enters a guy who actually speaks English.  He explains that the drug is called CPH4, but doesn’t say what it does, just that it will be a hit with the kids in Europe.  Each person has one of the pouches of blue stuff in their abdomen and is given a fake passport to travel to different parts of Europe.  Here come the bags over their heads (because that’s totally not suspicious looking right?) and off they go.

The handlers for Lucy, however, aren’t very smart.  Since she’s a purty lady one guy gets handsy and she fights back a bit.  This sends him into a blind rage (anger management dude, seriously) and he kicks her repeatedly in the stomach before the other guy pulls him off and they both leave with Lucy chained to the wall.  This is where the shit gets weird.  Things have been strange up to this point, but this part is just plain weird.  There’s a cool animation of the drug entering her blood stream just before the poltergeist comes out.  Lucy starts spasming and twitching on the floor having a seizure.  This progresses to her standing up against the wall.   But oh… now she’s in the fetal position on the wall.  Wait… what? Is that the floor? Nope, that’s definitely the wall.  Completely not touching the floor.  Oh look now she’s working her way onto the ceiling.  Then trying to pull herself back to the ground with the chain and then she collapses and is sucked against the wall.  Alrighty then…  I assume she passed out a bit at this point.  We get a screen that says 20%.

When she wakes up, there’s one fluid motion where she grabs a chair, turns it right side up, and sits in it.  In comes random bad guy who thinks he can get some only to have his ass handed to him by super Lucy.  She takes his gun, marches out, shoots all the other bad guys, and then eats all their food.  Someone’s got the munchies!  It’s clear at this point she is no longer the Lucy from the start of the movie.  She has no emotion, no reactions to things; she becomes very robotic and almost inhuman in a way.  After the noms, she goes out and gets a cab driver to take her to the hospital.  Here is where she does some of the impossible; she walks around the hospital with a gun.  Really? She does not even try to hide it would no one really notice this?  Suddenly she can now read Chinese, or whatever language it may be, and finds an operating room.  The poor surgeon and crew are just shocked telling her “Ma’am you can’t be in here!”  Lucy ignores them and looks at the patient’s x-ray.  Using her new super powers she determines that the patient is going to die anyway, so she shoots him.  How merciful right?  She then demands the surgeon take the drugs out of her at gun point.  While the doctor is doing his work, Lucy decides this is the perfect time to call her mother.  She tells her mother how much she loves her and all the new things she can feel, including old memories.  The TMI moment is when she tells her mother that she can remember the taste of her breast milk.  All the while a little Asian man is pulling a pouch of illegal drugs out of her stomach.

Now that the drugs are out, what oh what should she do?  Revenge of course!  She heads back to bad guy headquarters and shoots all of Mr. Jang’s guards.  Once there, she shoos away his tattoo artist and stabs him in the hands.  Shooting him is too good for him I suppose, but she’s going to talk at him for a while.  Now, Mr. Jang doesn’t speak or understand any English, so I imagine the whole situation is very confusing for him.  Super Lucy interrupts his tattoo, stabs him, and starts jabbering.  She wants information about where the other drug mules had been sent, but since he doesn’t speak English, this is kind of pointless.  However, she is not part Vulcan and does a mind meld type thing to get the information out of him.  I mean of course she can do that now right?!

After she’s done, she decides the next place to go is her house.  Her roommate lets her in and talks about a date she had all while Lucy uses her laptop to do some crazy typing and reading.  She then calls Professor Norman from the computer, because oh by the way, she can do that now too.  She talks to him about his research and wanting to meet, makes the lights flicker and do some weird stuff with his radio and that’s it.  Her main concern here is that she has all this knowledge but isn’t sure what to do with it and she is asking him for advice.  He tells her that she should figure out how to pass it on.  She seems to think that’s a good idea and tells him she’ll be there in 9 hours.  Professor Norman is a little weirded out by the whole situation.  It seems very similar to a ghost movie, except a little more sciency.  Before she leaves the apartment though she gives her roommate a prescription and tells her that her kidneys are failing and she needs to change her lifestyle.  Random, but maybe she isn’t a complete robot yet?

Off she goes to the airport; she changes her hair since the police are looking for her for shooting the patient in the OR.  I think it would have been cool if she had changed all her looks for a while, but that would have required another actress.  While getting her tickets she calls a random cop in Paris.  I assume she knows that he is some sort of expert.  She gets his attention by knowing things about him that she shouldn’t be able to (oo he has a red pen on his desk!) and gives him the information to catch the other three dudes with drugs in them.   I think she was around 30% here, I really don’t remember when the different percents happened.  The police catch them all and Lucy is on the plane to get the rest of the drugs.  It’s not really clear why she wants them, that is until a super weird scene on the airplane.  She’s using two computers, with one hand on each typing at an insane rate.  The stewardess tells her it’s time to close them and gets a nosebleed for some reason, so Lucy asks for some champagne.  When she takes a sip, a tooth falls out in the glass.  Because molars totally fall out like that.  A cough and more teeth come out in her hands. This is where shit really hits the fan.  Her skin starts vaporizing and she’s really tripping out.  It’s hard to tell if the other people in the plane can see it or are just freaked out because she is flipping her shit.  She locks herself in the bathroom.  In the mirror you see her eyes are starting to droop and her cells are flying off.  She is literally coming to pieces so the obvious to answer is to chow down on some more of the blue stuff and poof she is back to normal.

Upon landing though, she is detained and knocked out.  The doctor said she should be out all day from what he gave her, silly him, he doesn’t know she can control her own metabolism!  Out she walks into a hallway full of police.  She asks to talk to the cop alone, but everyone has guns pointed at her.  With a wave of her hand, she makes everyone else pass out and drops the bullets out of his gun.  Here she has reached 40%.  She tells him she needs to get the other drugs and they get in his car and off they go.  While sitting in the car, at an absurdly long stop light I might add, she is looking through people’s cell phone data.  There is a neat scene where you see all these streams going up into the sky, but then she finds Mr. Jang’s cell phone and realizes they are sending people into the hospital to get the drugs back.  She takes over the car and drives like a crazy person, mostly up one way streets, to get to the hospital.  Lots of other cars crash and flip, but’s of no concern to her right now.  So maybe she doesn’t care much anymore.  They get to the hospital where Mr. Jang’s people have recovered two of the pouches of drugs.  She does some of her magic which turns the one guy into a mime when he tries to run away and floats the rest.  Fuck gravity man, it’s such a downer anyways.  She takes the case of drugs, rips the last pouch out of the last mule’s stomach and she’s ready to go.  The cop asks why she needs him and she gives him a very impassioned, and almost depressing, kiss and says “To remind me” and walks away.

Off they go to meet Professor Norman with all the drugs.  Mr. Jang happens to see them and follows and he is quite pissed off at this point.  Lucy meets Professor Norman at a university and they happen to have a lot of random lab equipment that is never really used.  They talk a bit and the cop is sent to setup a defense because bad guys are coming.  Tons of cops flood through the front of the building while the bad guys on the other side of the street are loading up their guns.  Neither group noticed each other.  The bad guys casually walk in and shoot up the place.  During this time Lucy is talking with the group of scientist explaining what the meaning of life is, which ends up being time.  Without time nothing exists.  Okay, that’s not too weird I guess.  There’s the reference to a video of a car and if you play it faster and faster at infinity the car will disappear.  After the gun shots happen, they decide to get to work.  Lucy decides she needs to take all of the drugs at once to get her to the last few percent to reach 100% of her brain capacity.  I don’t remember where she reaches other percents past 40, but the last scene is where she goes the last 20% or so.

To take all the drugs, they mix the drugs in water and give them too her in an IV.  This pushes her to 99% and she makes the room completely white and starts building a crazy futuristic super computer.  Outside the room, the cops are fighting the bad guys but one bad guy grabs a random rocket launcher thing and shoots one into the room.  This interrupts Lucy and she starts teleporting to random places.  She’s at the Eiffel tower, then some random cliffs over the ocean, then Time Square.  Its here she realizes she can control time, forward or backward.  She reverses time and you see New York City de-evolve.  She stops at a few points through history.  One you see an old timey New York City, another time a group of very surprised Native Americans, and the last time in front of a raptor.  The raptor lunging at her makes her jump and she teleports through time and space and is now sitting in front of the Lucy primate we saw at the start of the movie.  She reaches out and touches fingers with the freaked out primate (which is similar to the ceiling of the Sistine chapel which was a scene shown at the start of the movie) and then she is zapped again.  This time we have time going back farther, you see earth change to molten lava and then meteoroids coming out of the crust and it goes backwards more to what I can only assume is the big bang.  While this is happening in Lucy’s mind she is still sitting in her office chair in the middle of the room.  Most of the cops have been shot and Mr. Jang makes his way into the room with his gun pointed at her head.  Blackness is creeping over Lucy’s body as Jang approaches, ready to kill her.  But just as he pulls the trigger she hits 100% and just vanishes.  He shoots at the empty space and flips his shit, which I think most anyone would do if the person in front of you vanished and their clothes fell to the floor.  In comes the cop Lucy had called and he kills Mr. Jang who just happens to fall perfectly into the empty office chair.  Still standing however is the giant weird super computer that Lucy created.  One of the scared scientists remarks that it is moving and out pops a very large flash drive.  It is no ordinary flash drive though, its surface looks like space and it contains all the knowledge that Lucy accumulated from being able to use all of her brain.  Once Professor Norman takes the flash drive the super computer disintegrates and that’s pretty much the end of the movie.

Now, does anyone else feel like they just came too from a really bad trip?  Okay good so it’s not just me.  I had gone to see this movie with a friend.  He really wanted to see it so I tagged along.  Even though he loves weird shit, he even found this weirder than he even expected.  Someone in the theater actually turned around and looked at us at the end with a “What the fuck just happened” expression.  It was nothing like the trailer had made it out to be, likely because no one would have wanted to see it otherwise.  It definitely came off as more of a bad-ass action movie with a touch of super-hero-ness to it.  Now there were some parts that I liked, but the whole movie just seemed like a grab bag of stuff, especially when it came to science related things.  I’m not really even sure what to say about the movie besides that it was weird.  The first thing I did think was that Sharknado 2 (which I have been adamantly avoiding) probably has a more cohesive plot and not be as fucking weird as Lucy was.

As far as a rating… well maybe a 2? I don’t even know.  It’s hard to rate something that you don’t even know what you watched.

American Dad – Spelling Bee My Baby

24 May

American Dad is a show I watch on occasion that is either hit or miss for me.  For a while I liked it a lot, but it seems to be getting more and more like Family Guy.  I still watch it, but it’s not great.  This episode is the first episode after Roger tricks Jeff and he gets taken away by a space ship, which was still just a weird thing, I was waiting for it to be a dream or something.

So for this episode, there are two plot lines.  The main line is with Steve and Francine.  They both show up at Toshi’s house where his mother is being the stereotypical Asian mother tyrant and making Toshi and his sister Akiko practice music.  She tells Francine that Steve will never get into a good college because he’s not good at anything.  Later Francine is talking with the gay couple when their baby comes in speaking French after her fencing lesson.  They say they’re already preparing her for college because they want her to stand out from the other applicants.  This causes Francine to panic and she goes to grab Steve to find what he is good at.  They try chess and gymnastics, but Steve just sucks at everything.  Francine is logging into Amazon and needs to spell diarrhea for her password and Klaus said it is an impossible word to spell, but Steve spells it with no problem.  That’s when they realize that Steve’s special talent is spelling.  So obviously if he wins the National Spelling Bee he will be able to get into any college he wants.

Steve wins his first spelling bee and Akiko comes up to him and starts flirting with him afterwards.  Her mom says that he won’t win the National Spelling Bee because Akiko will be willing it.  Once they get home, Francine takes away his video games and says his life will be just words from now on.  She puts cards with words on them everywhere.  He thinks he’s finally escaped with no words in his room only to pull out a porn magazine to find words over the boobs.  Frustrated, Steve sneaks out and goes for a walk and ends up at this waterfall that overlooks the city where he of course runs into Akiko.  They chat and then end up making out for a few minutes.  Akiko says she needs to get back before her mom finds out and asks Steve if he’s coming.  He says he will after his “comfortability” goes down.

Afterwards they show both Akiko and Steve spelling montage, which you would then expect a montage of them winning spelling bees that lead up to the national one.  However, they pull a Family guy and say they aren’t going to do that and have a bunch of weird, random pictures from the internet.  Lame.  The night before the National Spelling Bee, Steve is talking to Akiko online and they are planning to meet by the waterfall again.  Francine finds out and gets mad and forbids him to see her.  Steve gets upset and starts crying and says he won’t do the spelling bee so she agrees and lets him go.  When Steve gets there, he finds a message from Akiko essentially standing him up.  He runs back home and says he’s going to kick her ass in the spelling bee.  We find out though that Francine actually kidnapped her and has her in the basement.  When they leave the next day to go to the spelling bee, she gives Akiko a Wii so she won’t be bored.  Her mother is trying to find her when a cousin of the family that works at Nintendo found where she had logged into the Wii.  Akiko’s mom goes ninja mode and breaks into the house and gets her out so she can get to the spelling bee on time.

They do make it to the spelling bee and while they kids are spelling; the moms go out to fight.  They each have Asian style swords and Akiko’s mom says there is no way Francine can win in a fight to the death because she isn’t Asian.  Just then Francine’s parents walk by looking for the spelling bee and Akiko’s mom realizes she grew up Chinese.  Epic fight scene ensues.  Out of the whole episode, I think this was probably the most amusing, mostly because of the horrible stereotypes.  After a while, Francine’s dad pops in and tells them to stop playing around because it’s down to just Steve and Akiko.  Steve learns that his mom kidnapped Akiko and neither of them wants to beat the other so they go back and forth spelling words wrong.  Francine realizes that her kid isn’t so bad after all and Akiko’s mom realizes she shouldn’t be so hard on her daughter.  Dawww such a sweet moral lesson.

The minor plot line in the episode is Stan and Roger messing with Haley.  She is obviously still quite upset that Jeff was sucked up by the aliens and thinks they will bring him back any day now. Roger and Stan need her to be the line judge for their badminton tournament (the winner gets the prized “shuttle cock ring”), but she’s still at the starting stage of the grief process.  They decide they are going to push her through the five stages of grief.  Roger starts by giving her a front wedgie to push her into the anger stage and it works after she beats the crap out of him.  The next stage is bargaining, but since Roger doesn’t know what that is, they skip to depression by showing her a slide show of all the good memories with Jeff.  At the end she does come out and tell them she accepts that Jeff is never coming back, but she also accepts that it is all Stan and Roger’s fault and takes their shuttlecock.

Overall, it wasn’t a great episode.  The fight scene was amusing, but the rest just seemed out of place and like they slapped and episode together at the last minute.  I much prefer the episodes where Stan is more involved, even though he is a complete douche.  I’ll give it a 4 out of 10 nerd glasses, if you’re quite bored.

rating_nerd_4.0

Iron Man 3

21 May

iron man 3

Movie Poster

Unfortunately, Iron Man 3 is the only Iron Man movie that I have not been able to see at the theater at the midnight release.  Apparently in the States, Disney had a dispute with Regal and AMC Theaters about doing midnight releases.  Something about not wanting to encourage kids to stay out late.  Sure, it’s PG-13, but is that really their target audience?  I don’t think so.  My local Regal was doing showings at 9:30 and later added one at 10, but I had class until 7, which usually runs to 7:30 and I had no desire to rush and tried to eat and then get to the theater and fight for a seat by myself.  So I went and saw it at 1:30pm on Friday.  Plenty of room in the theater, no kids, no creepy guys dressed up like Iron Man (though I did wear my Iron Man t shirt .  Unfortunately there was a whole row of bros, but they actually behaved during the movie.  I feel, given the name of the website, I shouldn’t state this, but just as a reminder, if you have not seen the movie and do not want to know any spoilers, click away NOW, this will be your last chance.

So the movie starts out back in 1999 with Tony Stark before he ever became Iron Man.  He is at a new years eve party with a research botanist Maya Hansen and his bodyguard Happy.  As Maya and Tony are going up to continue the party in their room, Aldrich Killian, who appears disabled with long greasy hair and overall unattractive, squeezes into the elevator to talk to Tony and Maya about his new Think Tank Aim.  Maya accepts a card and Tony pulls him aside and says that he will meet up him on the roof later and for him to wait for him.  At this point, we know that Tony has no intention of going up there.  This is pre-Iron Man when Tony Stark is still a bit of an egotistical, uncaring douchebag.  He goes back to Maya’s room where she is showing him her research on tapping into the genetic or neural coding of living things in order to allow them to heal themselves.  They move into the bedroom and Happy pokes at the plant and rips a few leaves off.  It grows back but then the entire thing explodes.  Maya says that this is a flaw in her research and she is working on fixing it.  In the morning we see Tony leave a note for her, though we can’t see what it says and he leaves expecting to never see Maya again.

Back in the present, Tony is incessantly tinkering because he can’t sleep.  We see him putting in implants that go with his latest suit, Mark 42, that allow him to call his armor to him.  Unfortunately it still has a few kinks to work out with it and the parts are hitting him a little hard.  Eventually the last part knocks him over and it all falls to pieces.  From the very start here we start to see how much the events that took place in The Avengers have affected him and his emotional state.  We really see it when it is having lunch with Colonel Rhodes.  Some kids ask him to sign a drawing and he freaks out and runs to his armor (which he left at the curb like a parked car).  Jarvis tells him that he is having a panic attack and he leaves.  It’s here that Tony learns more about the attacks by The Mandarin, but Rhodes tells him to stay out of it.

iron man 3

Who wouldn’t want to come home to this?

In the last movie, Tony promoted Pepper to the CEO of Stark Industries, which is probably good given his current mental state.   Pepper goes in to work and she is scheduled to meet with a very handsome client.  The client turns out to be Aldrich and Happy calls Tony because he was worried he was going to try to flirt with Pepper, especially since he did not look the same as he did in 1999. Aldrich is there to ask for funding from Stark Industries for his Extremis technology.  He shows it to Pepper as a way to visualize what is going on in the brain in real-time.  Pepper is concerned that it could be weaponized and has to decline.  After Pepper meets with Aldrich, she heads home for date night with Tony.  He had bought her a giant stuffed rabbit (that had boobs, that old Tony isn’t completely gone) and she walks in to find Tony on the couch in the Iron Man suit.  She tried to convince him to take it off, but when he refuses, she goes to find him downstairs working out.  She gets mad but Tony admits that he is a “hot mess” after what happened in The Avengers.  She gets him to come take a shower to take his mind off things and they go to bed.  In the middle of the night Tony is having a nightmare about what happened in New York and Pepper tries to wake him.  He apparently was able to call the suit in his sleep and it grabbed Pepper.  He stopped it before anything else happened, but she got upset and went to sleep downstairs.  I was kind of confused as to why this upset her so much.  Perhaps that he had been tinkering with things so much, but I would have been more included to comfort Tony after the nightmare and try to figure out what was bothering him so much.

Outside of Tony’s relationship trouble, Happy follows the Aldrich’s suspicious bodyguard, Savin, to the Chinese Theater.  He sees him give a case to a anxious looking military guy.  Happy bumps into him to try and determine what is going on, but Savin catches him and attacks him.  The military guy inhales something from the case and he essentially starts to boil from the inside out and explodes like a bomb.  Both Happy and Savin are badly injured, but Savin gets up and walks away as his body heals itself.  The effects of him healing himself as he walks away like nothing happened makes him seem all the more creepy.  The Mandarin claims this as one of his attacks and at this point we think he is still planning the attacks, but using people as the bomb.  Happy is of course taken to the hospital but is in a coma. Tony visits him, but when he is leaving the press swarm him to ask what Iron Man is going to do about The Mandarin and this is where he gets very serious.  Tony offers a personal threat to The Mandarin saying that he is already dead and gives out his home address and says to come and get him.

Back at home, he uses Jarvis to walk through the scene of the explosion.  He realizes that Happy is pointing and looking at something and he finds the dog tags of the guy that blew up.  Tony is able to put the pieces together to realize that the bomb was a person and uses the heat signature of the explosion to find other explosions.  One of the signatures he finds was not claimed by The Mandarin and he tells Javis to plan a flight route to Tennessee so they can go check it out.  Just then the door bell rings and Tony yells at Jarvis for not having the high security protocol in place.  He goes up to answer it in his Iron Man suit and finds a very nervous Maya at the door.  Maya comes in, but Pepper is packing up some bags and says that they are leaving because Tony gave out their address.  You would expect that Pepper would be upset that an ex-fling of Tony’s is in the house, but they actually have some playful banter over the matter, which was funny. But that leads to Tony and Pepper arguing over the fact that they are not leaving when Maya points out that there is a missile headed for the house.  During the slow motion explosion scene, Tony uses his new tech to put the suite on Pepper in order to protect her.  She takes advantage of the suit and uses it to protect Tony and to get Maya out of the house.  Tony cannot find a way out of the house as it is starting to go crashing into the ocean and calls the suit back to him before going down with the house.  He gets trapped as parts of the house are sinking, but frees himself just in time.  This scene for me was both heartbreaking and amusing.  First, we see the cases with the original Iron Man suits explode due to the missiles, but we also see items from the house, like his expensive cars as well as the charred boob bunny, sinking into the ocean.

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Tony and Harley

During his escape, Tony passes out and wakes up from the low power warning as he is zooming across Tennessee and ends up crashing.  He drags his suit behind him until he comes across a shed near a house that he decides to set up in to get warm and repair the suit.  It’s here we meet the coolest side character in the movie, Harley.  Harley is a kid around 10 years old that uses the shed as his place to tinker and play with this, probably much how Tony got his start.  He is not freaked out by Tony, who tells him he’s a mechanic, and the suit and Tony convinces him to help him out by giving him something he can use on the kid that bullies him at school.

They go into town to get some things to work on the suite with and they come across the bombing site that Jeeves had found.  There is a small crater and five shadows from the victims that were killed.  If the guy who was said to have used a bomb had actually used a bomb, he would have had a shadow too.  He goes to find the supposed bombers mother and she gives him a file on her son.  For me, this part was a little confusing because it was clear Tony had not talked to her, but he was playing along like he had and expected the file.  It all makes more sense when the woman that the mother was supposed to meet comes in and tries to arrest Tony.  Being a small town, the local cops int he bar intervene and all hell breaks lose.  The woman starts using her power to burn the cops with her hands as well as shooting them.  Tony nabs the file and the dog tags from the mother and runs out.  He gets the woman into another empty restraunt and tosses the dog tags in the microwave and rips a gas line, causing the building to explode.  Thinking that he has escaped, he runs into Savin who has nabbed Harley.  Harley uses the item that Tony gave him and Tony uses a small pulse he had rigged up to kill Savin (but at this point we know better than to think that he’s dead).

Tony takes Savin’s car and sends Harley back home to keep an eye on the suit and work on fixing it.  He takes off, while looking a the file from the bombers mother. He is on the phone with Jarvis and Harley who determine that the broadcasts from The Mandarin are coming from Miami.  He asks if the suit is ready yet, but when Harley says that it’s not he has to pull over because he is having another panic attack.  What is Tony Stark without the Iron Man suit?  The kid is able to calm him down with one simple question, “Well you’re a mechanic right? Why don’t you build something?” Off to the hardware store he goes where he buys a ton of seemingly random stuff and assembles it into various gagets and bombs in a hotel room.  I really loved this part because it really gets to the core of who Tony is and that the suit is just a part of him.  Once in Miami, Tony uses his new toys to get past all the security and quickly finds The Mandarin.  For a turn that I did not expect, The Mandarin is not really a terrorist, he is a silly British actor named Trevor.  He finds out that Aldrich is really the bad guy, but Savin comes in and knocks Tony out and captures in.  The funniest scene in the movie for me is when Savin asks Trevor why he didn’t push the panic button and he says “Well, I panicked  then I handled it.”  I can totally see myself using that line at some point.

Oh yeah, this movie isn’t just about Tony Stark, we have some side characters that need to be involved too!  After watching her house be destroyed and sink into the ocean as well as crews go over the house, it still isn’t clear if Pepper thinks that Tony is dead or not.  She takes Maya to get a safe place so they can talk.  Maya tells Pepper about her research and how she thinks that Aldrich is working with The Mandarin.  Her guise was working, but Aldrich became in patient and bursts in so they can take Pepper in attempts to get Tony to help with the Extremis technology.  Back in the secret lair Aldrich tells Tony he has Pepper and has started her on the Extremis procedure.  It’s here we learn that the Extremis technology is what’s been causing people to blow up and it’s not on purpose, it’s an inate flaw in the science.  Maya tries to get him to help because she couldn’t figure out the note he left all those years ago, but that it must be the answer.  Trying to play to her true nature, Tony reminds her that she isn’t like Aldrich.  She has a change of heart and threatens to kill herself because she feels Aldrich cannot continue without her help.  His ego is too big, perhaps a side of Extremis, and shoots her and leaves Tony with two guards as he goes off on the last piece of his evil plot.

We also learned at Rhodes had gotten captured while inside the Iron Patriot suit and they eventually force him out, but he comes out fighting.  Unfortunately he is outnumbered and Savin takes the Iron Patriot suit.  While Rhodes is escaping from where he is being held, Tony is trying to as well.  The alarm on his Dora watch goes off and the guards are not able to make it stop.  He says they’ll be sorry very soon and keeps making the motions for his armor while the guards taunt him.  Finally a hand and foot show up and Tony is able to blast away a small onslaught of bad guys.  The last guy that shows up, Tony simply points his palm blaster and a gun at him and he drops his gun and says he doesn’t like his job anyways and that these guys are doing weird shit and runs away.  He’s wondering where the rest of his suit is when it cuts back to Tennessee where the rest of the parts are trapped in  Harley’s shed, which he promptly frees.

Once outside, Tony sees the Iron Patriot suit going after Aldrich’s plan and he calls to see if it was really Rhodes.  They meet up, still at the Miami machine to go and harass Trevor for information.  The Iron Man suit is still not completely functional, so they take Trevor’s speedboat to go after Aldrich.  While Tony is trying to charge the suit, Rhodes calls the Vice President to warn him about the attack on the president.  The Vice President seems considered but when a guard asks if he is okay, he says everything is fine and goes back to celbrating what appears to be a birthday for his handicap daugther, showing that he is also in with Aldrich.  We cut to seeing the president gettign on Air Force One just as the Iron Patriot suit lands and gets on the plane as well.    Iron Man shows up just after Savin stuffed the president in the Iron Patriot armor and sent him to Aldrich (apparently Savin can reprogram the suit to do whatever he wants).  Iron Man blasts Savin through the heart and kills him for good, bu tonly after Savin blew a hole in the plane which sucked out all the passengers.  He goes after them to save them all which I found to be a cool scene.  He has to get the panicked people who are falling to work together and grab on to teach other because he cannot carry them all.  He drops them in the ocean and flies off over a highway where he gets hit by a truck, which makes the suit fall apart to reveal Tony was not actually in it (Thank god, I remember thinking “Oh come on!”, thinking Tony had been killed in a stupid way).

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Badass Pepper Potts

Back on the boat, Tony and Rhodes arrive at the oil rig where Aldrich is with his gang of Extremis goons.  Rhodes mentions how he would apprciate some backup, since the Iron Man suit is gone, and Tony itiations the house party protocol with Jarvis.  Back at the ruins of the house, the basement opens up (much to the surprise of the poor construction guys trying to clean the place up) and out come all of his suits.  I was thrilled because (even though I knew better from the trailer) it was still nice to see that all of the suits had not been destroyed.  When the suits finally show up, Rhodes asked for one, but Tony says they are only coded to him and takes a suit to go off and find Pepper.  He attempts to save her, but Aldrich, as this ridiculous molten man, interrupts.  The fighting causes the carrier to shift, and Pepper falls to her (presumed) death.  I did not believe she was dead (they were injecting her with Extremis), but I kind of expected Tony to give up and let Aldrich smack him around a little, but Tony decides to fight.  Aldrich is clearly more powerful and skilled, but the prodigal son (the newest suit) returns and he puts the suit on Aldrich and tells Jarvis to blow it.  Yey Tony wins! Well… except for Pepper being dead and such.  Right? Nah, we know better than that by now.  Aldrich slowly approaches Tony, determined to kill him, when out of no where Pepper, in all of her badass-ness, shows up and hits him out of the park with some debris.  One of the remaining suits sees Pepper, and since she has the Extremis heat signature, goes after her, but she quickly takes it down.  She uses the arm of the suit to blast away Aldrich for good.  When she stops, she turns to Tony and says “Wow, that was really violent…”.  She is terrified of hurting or burning Tony and especially worried that she will never be the same, but Tony promises to fix her.

The last few scenes leave a bit to be desired and are, in a way, confusing.  Tony is able to fix Pepper, though they say how or what became of the Extremis technology.  He also decides to have his arc reactor removed.  I was quite concerned about him removing the reactor because it is such a part of him and an iconic part of the Iron Man that I know and love (remember, haven’t read the comics or anything else, so I don’t know if he ever does this in those).  I also had the impression that it was impossible to remove the shrapnel in his heart.  After it’s removed, he chucks it in the ocean with the rest of his house and makes a point to say that you can take away his suits and his toys, but you cannot take away the fact that he is Iron Man.  So many questions still remained for me, would Iron Man be back without his arc reactor? Will he make more suits?  At the very end, after the extra scene in which Tony is talking to Dr. Banner about his emotional issues after New York (not the best after credit scene in my opinion) there is text that says “Iron Man WILL return”.

Thinking back over the movie, I really felt that I should have made the connection to Maya and Aldrich much sooner than we did. We were shown her work for a purpose at the beginning, but it didn’t really click until Aldrich came in to capture Pepper.  I suppose the rest of the movie was so engaging that it kept my mind off it and prevented me from making that leap.  I did really like that Rhodes and Pepper were included in the movie much more than others.  Rhodes is just a cool guy and while Tony likes him, it’s clear he does not want a sidekick.  Tony said that all of his suits are coded to him, but we know he can put the Mark 42 on other people, so that may just be an excuse.  Also, while I do not care for Gwyneth Paltrow, I do love Pepper Potts and she totally kicked ass in this morning.  I loved seeing her in the Iron Man suite at the beginning, especially when she couldn’t get it to work right.  However, the effects of the Extremis plus the Iron Man suit at the end was a killer combination.  I would have loved to see her as a full on superman, but I think that being in situations like Tony was in The Avengers would be even harder on her.  I am not sure she would be able to handle it.  I could see her trying and end up becoming a supervillain that Tony would have to fight, that would be a very interesting story.

My favorite thing about the movie overall though is how they tied in The Avengers.  I have seen other people say that this was the perfect movie to come after it and I agree.  I really didn’t expect there to be much tie in, but it was great to see the vulnerability that Tony was dealing with.  Really though, how does a normal person deal with something like that?  Tony doesn’t really have super powers per se, not like the Hulk or Thor.  It’s definitely a side of superheroes that we don’t really get to see.

Overall, I loved it.  The bad guys were not my favorite and seemed a little strained at times, but how Tony deals with everything, even when he doesn’t have his fully functional awesome suit is great.  I loved Pepper and Rhodes.  And Harley? That kid is just awesome.  Plus I love how Tony decked out his tinkering shed.  I loved how they bantered and how, even though Tony acted like he doesn’t like kids, he connects with Harley.  I think he probably seems some of himself in him.  The ending did leave a little left to be desired and I was really worried when he was getting the arc reactor removed, but Iron Man WILL return and I cannot wait. I give it 8 Iron Man helmets out of 10.

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Doctor Who – The Bells of Saint John

28 Apr

How can I be writing about geeky things and not have written about Doctor Who yet?  Well… I’ve been busy.  I am up to date, minus the most recent episode (since Xfinity decided not to POST IT YET /rage).  But I’m going to go back and write about the episodes that I have watched since starting this blog.  The first of which was The Bells of Saint John.  I have to say I was a little underwhelmed by this episode.  I had hyped myself up a lot because of the Snowmen episode and I really wanted to know what is going on with Clara.  The premise of this episode is that The Great Inteligence has hired a group to farm human minds.  Basically, humans are getting sucked up through the wi-fi.

So the episode starts with The Doctor living with monks when the phone in the Tardis rings (apparently it does that).  It’s actually Clara on the phone asking about the internet and how to make it work on her computer.    The catcher here, that I didn’t think much of until later, is how did Clara get the number to the Tardis?  She says that the lady in the shop gave it to her and said it was best help line in the universe.  A lot of people have had a lot of suspinions.  My theory is that it is possibly Rose or River.  Those are the most likely to have the number to the Tardis, but then the question is how do they know who Clara is?  She could be the daughter of Rose and meta-crisis Doctor or even River and The Doctor.  But we’ll have to wait and see.

It was amusing to get to watch The Doctor play tech support.  He walks her through setting up her wi-fi and realizes it’s her when she uses “run you clever boy and remember” to remember the password.  Somehow he is able to track her and shows up at her door.   There was an amusing scene where he says he’s The Doctor and she says “Doctor who?”  She is a little weirded out and talks to him through the door camera.   When she refuses to talk anymore, he goes to change out of his monk clothes (don’t be a monk, monks aren’t cool).  While he is in the Tardis, one of the waystations shows up and starts to download Clara.  He comes back just in time and is able to get her computer and reverse the download.

They chat for a while after she wakes up, but are shortly in danger again as a plane is about to crash into them.  They flee into the Tardis, which is this Clara’s first time which didn’t give much time for a “it’s bigger on the inside” scene.  They land on the plane and fix the wi-fi and stop the plane from crashing.  This scene was a little weird.  I think I would have prefered if they had skipped this and had something else instead.  It just seemed a little odd and flighty.  It’s hard to explain.  Perhaps the point was just to freak out Clara more.  Once they fix the plane it’s back in the Tardis and they land somewhere the next morning and The Doctor gets a motorcycle out of the garage (yep, there’s a garage in the Tardis) and they go to have coffee.

The Doctor is using the computer to try and find where the people who are running the wi-fi operation are to get to them and stop them.  Clara had computer knowledge added to her when she was downloaded, so she takes over hacking while The Doctor goes in to get coffee.  This is probably the creepiest part of the episode.  The woman running the operation talks to The Doctor through various customers and employees at the shop to proove how powerful she is.  Wi-fi is almost everywhere now, so it’s scary to imagine that this is possible.  Unfortunatly she is only distracting The Doctor so they can download Clara.   Clara had found where they were, so he hops on his bike and speeds off to rescue her again.  We find out when he gets there, that he really hacked the wi-fi waystation and sent it there.  He downloads the lead woman there, which forces the group to un-download all of the people they have.

After they do that, Unit shows up at the building and is trying to get information out of wi-fi group.  The woman in charge is talking to The Great Inteligence and is told to restore them to their original personalities.  When Unit comes in to get her, she is talking like a little girl and asks for her mommy and daddy.  This is something that no one else has really mentioned, but this group must have been started a long time ago, if she was a small child and is now in her 50s or so.  The Great Intelligence was the same that was in the snow in the Snowmen episode, but it is still out there.  I feel like it is something we should be concerned about, but I don’t think The Doctor ever found out who had hired this group.

The episode ends with The Doctor coming back to Clara’s house.  He asks her to come with him and she says to come back tomorrow and ask her again.  He thinks this is silly, since he can just fastfoward to the next morning, but does it anyways.  Some people have pointed out that since Clara is a governess type personality and this Doctor is very childlike, this was for her to set down her ground rules.  I did like that she wasn’t completely eager to go of with him that second.

Now don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy parts of this episode.  But th emain part that underwhelmed me was the amount of dramatic coding and such.  I loved the twist at the end, that it wasn’t really The Doctor himself, but the overall action and suspense was limited for me.  Especially after the Snowmen episode.  This episode did bring up a lot of new questions and still didn’t answer any. Who was the lady at the shop and how does she know about Clara?  What is really the deal with Clara?  Though I am glad that she did not die in this episode.  It would get very emotionally draining if we had to watch her die every week and the Doctor had to find her again.  Overall, I have to go with 6.5 Tardis (Tardi? What’s the purple of Tardis?!) out of 10.  It just didn’t live up to my expectations.

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Jurassic Park 3D

26 Apr

t-rex objects in mirror are closer than they appear

Ruuuuuuun!

Yeah, yeah, I know.  I’m a sucker for novelty things like when movies are re-done in 3D.  Hell, I even went by myself to see The Lion King in 3D in theaters.   Though to my defense, I am picky about the movies I see in 3D and have only seen a handful.  But when one of my favorite movies is put back out on the big screen AND it’s in 3D?  I just have to check it out.  Jurassic Park was originally released in 1993, so about the time I was 5 or 6.  I am sure I did not get to see this in theaters when it first came out, and even if I did I probably wouldn’t remember it.  However, I do have fond memories of watching it on TV when I was a little bit older.  Every kid goes through a “OMG DINOSAUUURSSS” phase and Jurassic Park fell right in the middle of mine (which is probably why I like it so much).  Before watching the 3D version, it had been quite a while since I have seen it last and I was very curious to see how the 3D effects would play out.

Since most of you have scene Jurassic Park, at least the 2D version, I will try to stick to talking only about the 3D in the movie.  However, it was amusing seeing how many details I didn’t recall and some of the things that were just over my head as a kid.  Some of the little things that stood out to me where the horrible Australian stereotype used for Muldoon (the game warden guy).  He wasn’t a main enough character that I even thought about it.  I also never really noticed how much Ian flirts with Ellie throughout the movie.  I also didn’t know he was a chaos theory guy, but perhaps that is one of the things that was over my head.  Since I actually know a little about chaos theory now, it made him a little more appealing to me.

The opening scene was also something I didn’t quite remember.  Muldoon and a group of workers are around a large, secure paddock bringing in a big container.  They get the container into place and of course the creature inside tries to escape.  What did surprise me is before they get the animal (a velociraptor) contained or stunned, it does kill one of the workers.  I was kinda shocked that someone died within the first few minute because I didn’t really remember this, especially since in my mind it was a movie geared toward kids.  However, I think it really set the stage for the danger that will be throughout the movie.  As far as the 3D goes for the start of the movie, it was okay.  It gave a sense of depth, like the creature inside the crate was really alive and dangerous, but it didn’t add a lot to it.  The next scene, however, had a really cool 3D effect.  I didn’t quite recall this scene either, it is where the lawyer is going to check out a mine where they are collecting amber with mosquitoes in it.  This scene seemed overall unnecessary, but there was a part where a worker holds up a piece of amber and the camera zooms in on it.  The 3D here on the amber was very pretty and just plain neat.  It’s hard to describe, but it made it look real and gave a depth to it so you could really tell the insect was inside.  It definitely made me go “Woah”.

For the next little bit, the 3D is not impressive, and there are a few scenes that appeared to be in 2D.  We are at the dig site with Dr. Grant and Ellie Strader (who is also a Dr., but I thought it was interesting that she is always referred to as Ellie, same with Ian).  We see people working to uncover some fossils  but by far my favorite part is where Dr. Grant scares the crap out of this punk ass little kid that’s hanging around for whatever reason.  He pulled out a raptor claw and tells the kid in detail how one would hunt, kill, and eat him.  The look on the kids face is priceless.  Anyways, helicopter lands, John Hammond comes to talk to Dr. Grant and Ellie to convince them to come with him.  He says he’ll fund their dig for three more years and they jump on it.  Having been in grad school for sometime, I very much understand why they pounced on the funding.

Off they go into the helicopter were we finally meet Dr. Ian Malcolm.  Understanding that he was into chaos theory made some of his actions in the movie make a bit more sense.  The 3D in the helicopter was pretty good and everything stands out and pops just a little bit more.  THey land and get into the Jurassic Park jeeps and come across the dinosaurs for the first time.  While I do enjoy this part, I was underwhelmed by the 3D.  The dinosaurs didn’t really stand out or appear to have all that much extra depth to them.  Perhaps because it was mostly distance shots, but I was definitely not impressed for the first scene with 3D dinosaurs.  Thankfully the next 3D dino encounter was much better.  During the tour of the facility and explanation of how they lab was able to re-create dinosaurs, Dr. Grant, Ellie, and Ian stop the ride and burst into the lap to get a closer look (does the absurd violation of lab protocols and possible contamination here not bother anyone else?).  We get to watch one of the eggs hatch and see Dr. Grant holding a baby velociraptor.  I did like the 3D here because it helped the little creature look real and actually alive.

Now the movie really picks up.  We meet John Hammond’s grandchildren, Lex and Tim, and they all go off on a test run of a tour.  Few dinos are seen until suddenly Ellie hops out of the moving jeep to go look at something.  They all follow and discover a sick triceratops.  I don’t really recall a lot about the 3D here, so I suppose it wasn’t anything special.  Ellie goes back with the vet while the rest go back to the jeeps where they end up stuck in front of the T-Rex paddock when the power goes out from a tropical storm.  Bump bump.  The water on the dashboard starts to ripple.  Bump bump.  Tim notices the ripples and they are looking out the car windows when a goat leg falls onto the clear roof of the jeep, which causes the lawyer to flee from the jeep to the small bathroom near by.  They soon find out that the power for the fencing had been disabled (we know it was the deceitful Dennis Nedry) and out pops the giant dino from its paddock.  The 3D here was pretty well done.  The added depth makes the T-Rex look even more real and menacing, especially when it breaks in the top of the car and the kids are trying to stay away from its teeth.  While there could have been a lot more done here, especially if it was originally shot with 3D in mind, it was not disappointing.  It was also pretty well done when the T-Rex breaks down the bathroom building and chomps on the lawyer. I even knew he would get eaten from the start of the movie when I was little.

In the entire movie though, the best 3D is probably when they are in the trees, especially trying to escape from the jeep.  When the jeep was pushed over the edge of the paddock, Dr. Grant has to climb up to save Tim.  As they are going down, the jeep slips and they have to scramble down through the branches.  Because there was so much going on with the branches, the jeep, and the people, the 3D depth really added to the franticness of trying to get out.  The 3D was also amusing when they are back up in the tree for the night and a brachiosaurus is nearby.  Lex is trying to pet it when it sneezes all over her.  Thankfully this is not a “4D’ movie and we didn’t actually get sprayed with dino snot.  Later we get another 3D dino experience when the herd of running dinosaurs comes through and they have to hide.  While it’s a cool scene, it wasn’t my favorite of th emovie.

Another good part of the movie, that I think is another classic moment, is when the T-Rex chases the jeep when Ellie and Muldoon go out to find the grandchildren   They find an injured Ian and put him on the jeep and they go off to look more when the T-Rex decides to come back.  They all scramble back into the jeep and take off with the T-Rex in tow.  The best part is the show in the side mirror with the T-Rex running with the “objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear” text.  It really made the T-Rex look like it’s about to jump through the mirror at you or catch you.  This is possibly my favorite scene in the movie, though it’s hard to beat out the raptors.

Ahhh the velociraptors.  Watching this movie again, I had forgotten that they really aren’t in much of the movie.  They are what stands out the most to me, but I could also be mixing movies together.  The first encounter with a free running raptor is when Ellie and Muldoon go to turn the power back on.  Muldoon runs into some in the trees while Ellie runs in to flip the breakers.  Ellie also has one try to attack her in the breaker room.  In the breaker room, the 3D was underwhelming because it was such close quarters.  However, we do get raptors again coming after the children in the kitchen.  This is another iconic scene of the movie and I did like the 3D here.

The only other big scene with 3D in the movie was were Dennis Nedry (NEWMAN!) is trying to escape during the storm.  He’s flying through mud and muck and crashes.  Here he comes across one of the little dinos that spits acid.  While it was a cool scene, I felt the 3D could have been better.  This was a great scene to make you jump, but I feel if it had been shot in 3D originally, it would have been more effective.  I think the downpour of rain also hinders the 3D conversion because you have so much going on.  The one thing that caught my eye is the canister of embryos he was stealing gets dropped and covered up by mud.  It made a point of showing this, but in the other two movies, this has never been brought back up.  I am hoping it has some purpose, perhaps in the new movie.  I stayed after the credits, but no sneak preview of it, since it is set to come out in June of 2014.

Other than the 3D, the movie brought up some interesting thoughts for me that I had not considered.  Even today, I am still amazed by the technology and innovation used to create the dinosaurs in this morning.  For most scenes, they are not just CGI that is put in, but mechanised creations or suited actors.  I highly suggest looking at how the raptor suits that were used were created.  That is something that I feel is just not done as often in movies today.

Also in the movie there was lots of talk about even though they can re-create dinosaurs and essential bring them back from extinction, of the idea of if they really should.  This theme was definitely well over my head when I was first watching this morning, but being in science and seeing a lot of research, there is an ethical and moral dilemma with a lot of topics.  Just because we can doesn’t necessarily mean we should and this movie really hits at the danger of playing with science and technology that we do not fully understand and cannot control.  However, given the level of security and the circumstances, was it really that the dinosaurs were uncontrolled and dangerous, or was it a series of unfortunate events that lead to it?  Without the sabotage by Dennis (NEWMAN!), the fences would have not failed and a system reset would have not been required, though it is hard to say what other situations could arise.  Another idea is that nature will always find a way, which Ian says several times.  We see at one point that the dinosaurs did find a way and have been mating and breeding.

Overall, I think they did a pretty good job with the 3D version.  Not every scene was in 3D and there were some scenes where the 3D did add a lot.  Yeah it is also ploy to make more money off an old movie, but it also brings a new life to what I consider a classic from my childhood.  For those like me that loved this movie on TV, but never got to see it in theaters, it gives us that chance to have that experience, which I appreciate.  Even if it had just been released in 2D I probably would have gone to see it just to see it in a theater.  It’s kind of the same reason why people want to go see new movies at midnight the night it opens.  It’s all about the experience.  Overall, I give it 6 dino bones plus two and a half DNA strands out of 10.  It’s a great movie and you should totally check it out in 3D, but a few of the 3D scenes left me underwhelmed.

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Glee – Sweet Dreams

19 Apr

So you may be thinking… wait wait wait you skipped an episode!  You are probably aware that it was a very controversial episode and one that hit especially close to home for me.  I made it about halfway through before I had to stop for reasons that will be explained if/when I write about it.  I read about what happens, so I am still up with the plot, plus Glee is good with giving little snapshots of what’s been happening to keep you up to date.  Moving on to this week’s episode, Sweet Dreams.

So far this season, I have been a little underwhelmed with everything that’s been going on.  Half the cast is gone and the new one has been struggling with getting through sectionals and stuff.  Mr. Schue and Emma had a major rough patch and Mr. Schue even had a falling out with Finn.  However, this episode truly revived my faith in the show.  This is the show I fell in love with during the first season.

In this episode, things seem to be at an all time low for Mr. Schue.  Finn is off at college (and apparently partying it up with Puck) and Mr. Schue turns into, well, kind of a dick.  He picks a set of songs for regionals and is completely inflexible on them, even though Marley asks about doing some of her original songs.  The club bands together and tries to suggest to Mr. Schue that they could try some other songs instead and Mr. Schue calls out Sam, Blaine, and Unique.  Marley meets with those three later and asks them to sing one of her original songs with her that she specifically wrote for them.  The song was about how you really have more friends than you think you do and for the particular time in my life, it means a lot to me.  Think it’s sappy all you want, but this song won me over for the episode.

On another sideline, Beast encourages Mr. Schue to go to Finn and ask him to come back.  Finn is having too much fun at college and says no.  However, after a heart-to-heart with Puck about how they slacked off in high school and now they need to show people what they are really capable of, he decides to go back.  Mr. Schue agrees to treat Finn as an equal and he’s even getting college credit for his teaching degree from working with the glee club.  However, if you follow the news you’ll know that Cory Monteith (the actor that plays Finn) checked himself into rehab.  It is hard to say what the producers will do or if Cory will be able to be in the episodes while in rehab.

While things started tense with Mr. Schue and the glee club, he overheard Marley’s original and of course has a change of heart.  With Finn back, they say that they are going to work night and day to help them get through regionals and even asks Marley to teach the group some of her original songs.  They end the episode with the entire glee crew singing “Outcast”.  While it wasn’t as good as the first, I still loved the song and it brought back the idea that the glee club is for the misfits.

Outside of the high school, Rachel has a duet with her mother who has moved back to New York and started a Broadway daycare business.  Her mother encourages her to make sure she stands out for her audition for Fanny, instead of doing a Barbra Streisand song.  She later talks to Finn on the phone who encourages her to do something that takes her back to her roots.  At the audition, she walks on stage and gives music to the pianist.  Most of us, especially long time watchers of Glee, knew the song within a few beats.  Don’t Stop Believing.  You thought they were done with this song didn’t you?  Well, for those that are sick of the song, too bad for you.  For me, it brought back a sense of what the show started as and, in particular, how Rachel started.  After the first verse or so, Rachel has a sort of “vision” that she is on stage with all of the friends she started with in Glee club and uses that as a way to empower her performance.  After she sings, a producer asks her what changed midway through and she told him it was thinking about her friends and how much they encouraged her to become who she is today.  Of course, she gets a call-back.

The only thing that I did not like about the episode is that they pulled out the Harlem Shake.  I have a personal extreme dislike of the Harlem Shake.  The only good video is the one with Grumpy Cat saying NO.  Aside from that, this, for me at least, was one of, if not the, best episode so far of the season.  I think the use of the original songs really brought be back in, especially the meaning behind them.  It also gave a sense that everything is finally coming back into place and back to a sense of normalcy.  I am looking forward to more original songs.  There are only three more episodes in the season and this episode got me excited to watch them all.  I give this episode 9 nerd glasses out of 10.

rating_nerd_9.0

Life of Pi

13 Apr

This isn’t so much of a geeky movie, but it’s the only movie I have watched since starting this blog.  I do like movies, but my time has been short lately.  But I got to sit down and watch Life of Pi today with my parents though I honestly never planned to watch this movie.  When starting this movie, I didn’t know anything about the plot other than it was about a boy and a tiger on a boat.

The movie starts off with Pi in his kitchen fixing lunch and talking to a writer.  The way it started was odd.  To me it was not clear what was going on and I did not understand who this person was or why the writer was there.  In a short while, it explains that why the writer (he was never given a name I don’t think) was in India, he met someone that told him he needed to get in contact with Pi and that was why he was there.  From there on, it is mostly Pi telling his story, though there are some scenes of Pi interacting with the writer.

Pi’s story starts off by explaining his name (Piscine Molitor) and that he is named after a public swimming pool in France.  He was teased about his name as a child and eventually takes on the name Pi by writing so many digits of Pi on the board.  From there we learn how he discovers Christianity and that he follows three religions; Christianity, Hindi, and Muslin.  While the idea of God(s) did come into play a small bit, it was not a major point for the plot.  The main start of the story is when they describe how Pi’s parents meet and the zoo they continue to run.  The family gets a new tiger at the zoo and Pi decides he wants to see it so he goes back with his brother without his father.  He gets a piece of meat and opens the door for the tiger (whose name is Richard Parker due to a clerical error) to come in from the outside.  He holds out the meat and just as the tiger gets close, the father runs in and jerks in away.  After that he makes Pi watch the tiger kill and eat a live goat to prove that animals do not “have a soul” and do not think like humans.

Life goes on and Pi meets a girl and just as they start to get close his father decides to sell all of the animals and move the family to Canada.  It seems like an odd place to move to from India, but that was the decision.  So they pack up all the animals on a boat and hit the sea.  One night Pi wakes up and runs out to watch a thunderstorm when things take a turn for the worse.  The boat starts to sink, it wasn’t clear to me why the boat has issues, but it does.  He runs back and tries to get to his family but the boat has started to fill with water.  He goes back up and some of the crew puts him on a lifeboat.  A mishap happens and he ends up alone on the lifeboat with a zebra.  When the water settles and the sun comes up, we also find that there is a hyena on the lifeboat, so Pi must try to keep the hyena from eating the zebra.  He also picks up an orangutan.  As they float along, the hyena ends up killing both the zebra and the orangutan  though the orangutan does get a good punch in, then out of nowhere, the tiger leaps on board and kills the hyena.  This is where the story really starts.

I could go into detail, but most of the rest of the movie was spent with him living between the lifeboat and a little raft he built.  He has some supplies which he ends up losing and has to resort to eating fish, even though he is vegetarian.  He keeps himself going by the thought that he has to take care of Richard Parker (mostly so he does not eat him).  There is a lot of back and forth and he makes a few attempts to train the tiger, but it has limited success.  If you must know, here is a helpful chart I found:

There are two scenes that really stood out to me.  The first is where Pi is on the boat and the tiger is trying to get him when a fish flops onto the boat.  He throws the fish to Richard Parker but it is a flying fish and glides away.  Out of nowhere  they are suddenly in the middle of a school of flying fish and the boat ends up being filled with fish that flop in and can’t get out.  A large fish also gets stuck in the boat that Pi fights the tiger for and the tiger has to settle for the small fish.  The part that amused me here though is Pi is getting hit and whaped and slapped with tons of these fish so by the end he’s covered in fish slime and scales.

The second scene is where they are both exhausted and nearly dead and they come across this strange floating island.  On the island he fines fresh water and thousands of meerkats.  The meerkats are extremely tame and are not bothered by Pi.  He finds fresh water and jumps in.  He sees Richard Parker come up and walking through the meerkats, but they are not phased by the tiger, even after he starts scooping them up and munching on them.  As the day ends, the meerkats run for the trees, so Pi goes and makes a bed in the trees and the tiger goes back to the boat.  At night he wakes up to see the water in the pools turning into acid and dissolving the fish and he finds a luminescent flower that has a human tooth inside of it.  He decides that the island will eventually kill him and eat him and he gets supplies and fills the boat with as many meerkats as he can take for the tiger and sets off again.

Shortly after they set sail again, all refreshed, they wash up on a beach.  Pi gets off the boat and lays in the sand and the tiger gets off, stretches, and walks toward the jungle.  Pi hopes that Richard Parker will turn to look at him before he disappears, but he does not.  Eventually some people (as Pi phrases it, members of his own species) find Pi and carry him back to their village.  Pi is quite upset because he feels like Richard Parker has abandoned him after all they have been through together.  While Pi is in the hospital recovering, some reports come to get his story, but they don’t believe him.  So he makes up a story in which the zebra, hyena, tiger and himself are all other characters.  They believe this story and leave him alone.  This is where Pi’s story ends and we return to him talking to the writer.  The writer meets his family and mentions that maybe his story did have a happy ending after all.

Overall, it was a pretty good movie.  It had some confusing parts, but mostly because I had no concept of what the movie was about when I started watching it.  It did all end up making sense in the end and while it wasn’t my usual type of movie (or even very geeky) it was a good story.  I did have one though, after they had been on this little lifeboat for days and weeks…. where is all the tiger poop?  I mean… I’m sure the boy can do his business in the water, but the tiger is pacing about the boat.  Yeah with the amount it gets sloshed around, I’m sure it gets washed off from time to time, but… there would still be poop.  Yeah I know… people don’t want to see a sad poop matted tiger, but that’s what it would be!  It’s silly but it kinda bothered me.  Other than that I give it 6.5 nerd glasses out of 10.  It was a decent watch.

rating_nerd_6.5

The Neighbors – It Has Begun

10 Apr

I knew I continued to watch this show for a reason.  I only watched it a bit and was not that into it, but when I heard that George Takei and Mark Hamill were going to be on the season finale, I was quite excited.  And I am happy to say that this is the episode I have been waiting for.  Yes it was still cheesy, but it seems to have actually picked up a plot continuation other than “Oh look, we’re aliens and have no idea how Earth stuff works!”.  I just hope they are able to continue this into the next season.

So this episode starts off with the Weavers asking Larry and Jackie to keep an eye on the kids while they are going to Atlantic City.  Larry and Jackie decide they are going with them because their children are being boring.  So they set the kids up with Amber (who is baby-sitting by herself for the first time).  Technically they end up leaving Dick in charge because he’s the smartest and most responsible.  in Atlantic City Larry and Marty do some gambling because Larry can see through the cards.  My favorite part of this is when Larry is calling out cards instead of “Ace of Clubs” he says “A of balls”.  Of course Marty ends up losing $5,000 and so they go off to win all of his money back.  Jackie and Debbie join in a Bachlorette party and Debbie ends up discussing her wedding, which leads to Jackie deciding she wants to have an official wedding with Larry.  Larry is mostly concerned about being able to see the puppet show, but they go through with the wedding.  Jackie gets Debbie to dress up in an actual maid outfit, since she is the maid of honor.

The main storyline is that Dick gets a toast (yes, a message on a piece of toast) from the Supreme Commander, which is his grandfather. He tells him to go to the TV and asks Dick not to contact his parents and that “It has begun” to which Dick respond “Oh… crap…”.  A few more messages later we actually get to see George Takei as the Supreme Commander.  He is on the TV talking to Dick saying that the evacuation of Earth has begun and that they are pulling them out because they are not impressed.  Reggie is talking to Dick and he says that they’re loyalties lie with their father so they call their parents to get them back.  This interrupts the wedding and the whole group rushes back.  A large traditional and brightly lit space ship is shown over the community and the Supreme Commander and his lackeys.   Larry is talking to his father and was asked “Didn’t you get my toasts?!”.  And apparently Jackie’s name on their home planet was also Debbie.  The Supreme Commander says that they are going, but Larry says they are not leaving.  The Weaver kids are saying they won’t let their new friends go, but Dick pipes up saying he can go back, he doesn’t care either way.  The Supreme Commander says that he WILL return.

Another underlying plot is Amber still has a crush on Reggie.  He decided he wanted to take his relationship to the next level with Giselle, meaning showing his true form, but he is nervous and then interrupted by Dick.  After Reggie runs out, Dick tries to hit on Giselle but saying “If it doesn’t work out with you and Reggie… Heeeeeyyy”.  Dick is such an odd little guy he’s hard not to like.  We’ve probably all known one of them.  He ends up telling her that he still loves Amber.  Reggie is telling Amber that he may have to leave and that she was his favorite thing about Earth (come on now, that’s just all kinds of sweet) and  they go to kiss and the grandfather walks in on them, which leads to the best moment in the show, a classic Takai “Ohhhh Myyyyy”.  I had been waiting the entire show for it and it was epic.  Amber and Reggie do kiss at the end and we learn that he apparently has two tongues and it ends with Amber saying it’s going to be an interesting summer.  Take that as you will.

 The very last scene is the Supreme Commander with his second in command played by Mark Hamill.  They are standing at a toaster sending the toasts messages to his son.  He says it is an urgent message and the second says that he shouldn’t be contacting him.  We see that the toast goes to the Weaver’s instead and it zooms in on the message but all we can see is “Warning! ___k is _en_t”.  So it leaves a very nice cliffhanger   I do expect it to pick up from this in the next season and I hope it is a little more interesting and more sci-fi-y.

Overall, I thought this was by far the best episode of the season.  It really picked up the plot and ran with it and they did more with this episode than the entire season.  I am excited to see what will happen next and I do hope they can continue this.  While the rest of the episodes aren’t bad per say  this one really set the bar and made it a show I am actually interested in watching, rather than just something amusing to fill time with.  I give it 8.5 aliens out of 10.

rating_alien_8.5

 

Once Upon A Time – Selfless, Brave, and True

1 Apr

I know many people have not been a big fan of Once Upon a Time with the new season and say it should have ended with the first season.  However, I still enjoy watching it and waiting to see what twists the stories will take.  I am sure that the writers have something big up their sleeve.

This episode starts of in 2011 with August (Pinocchio) somewhere in Asia with his leg turning to wood.  In the time frame of things, this is after he made Neal leave Emma and just before he ends up going back to Storybook.  He freaks out and goes to the hospital, where they just think he’s crazy, and he runs into a kid who says he knows a place where he can get help.  The kid takes him there to meet a guy named The Dragon.  The Dragon says that he can help him and that he can also see that his leg is wood and he also knows his real name.  He takes the string that was used to first animate him when Geppetto created him and he also needs $10,000.  The Dragon tells August that if he brings him the money, he will be able to make it so that he will never turn into wood.

This is where the twist for the episode begins.  When August is going to see The Dragon, he runs into Neal’s (now) fiance Tamara who is also there to get help.  This was before Tamara had met Neal.  After August talks to The Dragon, he runs into Tamara at a bar and she tells him her story, that she has cancer with only a few months to live and has been all over the world looking for alternative cures.  The Dragon had also asked for $10,000 from Tamara and Neal sees it in her purse.  She steps away to make a phone call and he steals it and goes to The Dragon.  I do like that they have August display physical pain because he is not being truthful and good.  The Dragon does give him a small potion, but says that only he can cure himself.  Tamara, however, is smart and is able to track August down and confronts him.  They end up in a chase and the pain from August’s wooden leg causes him to fall and Tamara gets the potion.  At this point, we assume that she cured herself of her cancer and that is why she is still alive and with Neal.  However, there was a small seed of suspicion planted when at the bar Tamara was talking about how The Dragon asked for a personal item and she said “Who carries something like that with them all the time?”.  Thinking back on it, it hints that she may not necessarily be a good person.

Back to the current timeline, Tamara shows up because Neal had asked her to come.  Emma warns him that she should be honest with him and he tries to tell her about who she really is, but she won’t believe it and leaves to go stay at the hotel.

Snow White finally gets her but out of bed and goes out in the woods.  She is shooting her bow and very focused when she misses and she goes to find the arrow and ends up finding August living in an abandoned trailer (I believe this is the trailer that we saw in the last episode where the young boy and his father were camping and it got damaged).  August is not completely wooden, though when the curse broke it did allow him to move again.  Snow tries to convince him to come back into town, but he refuses.  Once in town, she finds Emma and Gepetto (so convenient that Gepetto just *happens* to be there) and tells him that she found August and what had happened.  They decide they must go and talk to the blue fairy to see if she can help.  The blue fairy, however, says that there is nothings he can do.  When she first animated Pinocchio, she told he that he would remain a real boy if he stayed brave, selfless and true.  However, he may be able to help himself, but he must do it by himself.  It is also here that Gepetto admits that he sent August through the wardrobe with Emma, but the issue is pushed aside and not mentioned again.  I expected it to be a much bigger deal that it seemed to be.  I think they could have used this for a bigger plot point at a later point where Snow is forced to make a difficult decision and this plus her blackened heart would come into play.

While Snow talks to Emma and Gepetto about August, Tamara is sitting in the diner and over hears the conversation.  At this point it is clear that she is up to something because she does not have a look of shock that Neal was trying to tell her the truth, but more like she has a plan in mind.  Afterwards, she shows up to the trailer to see August. reveals to him that she is Neal’s fiance, and asks him to leave town.  She reminds him of his desire to protect himself and offers him “salvation”.  She tells him to leave and gives him her car.

August gets in the car and is driving out of town but he is putting the pieces together in his head.  He knew Neal already and he knew she wasn’t up to any good.  He also remembered that he found The Dragon dead when he went back to ask him to make another cure for him and he suspects Tamara.  He turns around to go and find Emma to warn them.  He gets to the police station and is able to call and say he needs to warm Emma about Tamara, but she shows up and cuts the phone line.  It is here that she tells him her evil plan (because that’s what bad guys do right?).  She admits to killing The Dragon.  Tamara never really had cancer and had really been traveling the world looking for real magic.  She took the bottle that The Dragon had given August and that it showed that the liquid contained nothing that was found in this world.  She threatened to kill him, and he started to transform into something or use magic, but she used a stun gun to kill him before he could complete.  I do think this was a bit of a cop-out because I wanted to know more about The Dragon.  Why did he know about Pinocchio and what realm is he from?  Perhaps he will come back in some form later, I hope so because I would really like to know more.

After Tamara finishes telling her evil plan she attacks August with the stun gun and he collapses.  My concern here is, well, he’s made of wood.  I suppose there is some kind of magic that is animating him, but I don’t think the stun gun would kill him.  Maybe I am thinking about it too much, but it seems like an unlikely way to kill a magical wooden being.  He is able to stumble outside where Emma, Snow, David, Henry (apparently Henry is rarely in school), Neal, and Gepetto find him.  He is about to tell them about Tamara but he dies.  Henry pipes up and says that he was brave, truthful, and unselfish and can have a second chance and that they need the blue fairy, who conveniently shows up right at that second.  The blue fairy is able to use her magic and turns him back into a real boy, but literally a boy.  Tamara had popped up in the background beside Neal looking shocked, but when they ask boy August if he remembers what he was going to tell them, but luckily for Tamara he does not.  After that, they all kind of disperse, because someone dying and coming back as a small child is totally normal, nothing to see here folks.

After that, there are a few events that make things start to click into place and bringing out the new twists.  Tamara comes around to Neal and tells him that she’s going to stick around a while.  Regina also realized that Greg (the guy that crashed into Storybook) is the boy she tried to abduct.  He is back to look for his father, though Regina says he is not there.  Later, he is talking to the mysterious girl on his phone when she shows up to his hotel room only to reveal that it is Tamara.  And lastly, they also show that August finds Neal after he had started turning to wood again.  Neal says that he is going back to Storybook and we see that Tamara had been following August the whole time.  It is here that she plots her approach and hook for Neal and runs into him.

Overall, it was a fairly good episode.  It brought in a lot of twists and turns and kept me quite interested it.  There are some things that bothered me though (shocking wood, really?!), but it seems that we have a new bad guy and gal in town and I am curious to see what they will try to do.  I give it 7.5 nerd glasses out of 10.

rating_nerd_7.5

Bones – The Blood from the Stones

28 Mar

Whether or not it is “real to life”, Bones is by far one of my favorite shows and I look forward to watching it every week.  I am not a follower from the beginning  having only seen a few episodes here and there, but I had gone back and watched every episode before catching up with the current seasons.  The combination of science-y stuff and characters that I love and can relate to just makes it a great show for me.  Plus… David Boreanaz, need I say more?

The crime the team is investigating in this episode involves a somewhat petrified body found in a car.  Of course, they quickly determine that he was murdered and they’re off to the lab to determine who, how, and why.  The one side bit to this episode is that there is a guy video taping the team work in order to get donations for the Jeffersonian.  However, they get Dr. Edison to help with the case, even though he is not part of the crime unit anymore, because he is viewed as more camera friendly and relatable.  Through-out the episode, the camera guy is wandering around which causes Bones to try to compete with Dr. Edison to be more likable.  Bones struggles throughout the episode with the idea that maybe she is “stern and imperious” and maybe even mean or rude.  She talks with Booth at the end to ask if she is always like this and he comforts her to say she is nice and not always like she was on the footage.

Back to the murder, the victim was determined to be an undercover cop, but there is some suspicion that he has gone dirty, since he had swallowed a bag of diamonds before he left.  Bones and Booth meet with the cop, Dinco, who knew the details about the victim’s undercover work.  He was very upset over the suggestion that the victim may have been dirty and he quite upset and passionate, though a little anxious, about wanting to work on the case and does not stir up any suspicion.  That is until the victim’s wife says that it would be his fault, even if he didn’t pull the trigger.

Based on some of the particulates and such on the bullet, they determine where the victim was shot.  While there find a foot that was most likely left by whoever shot the victim in the first place.  Meanwhile, Angela is able to perform some of her technological magic and trace the ATM robberies to a house that is rented by two students.  They suspect that the female student just may be missing a foot.  Booth and Bones go to check it out and they find the female in the bed with her leg starting to gangrene.  Booth questions her before letting the rescue team to the hospital.  Shortly after that, they are able to catch up with the other student and bring him in for questioning, but only after he was roughed up by Dinco.  The kid admits that they were going to buy the diamonds, but the undercover cop took their money and shot his girlfriend.  By this point, they also know that the gun used to kill the victim was one issued by the DC police, so the kids did not kill him.  That turns the gaze on Dinco as the murderer, but that does not last long when Hodges finds particulates of leather, alcohol, and jasmine on some of the gun powder in the bones.

 They bring the victim’s wife in to question her and she finally admits that she killed him because she wanted the money to herself.  She had shot him with his own gun through her leather purse and had broken a bottle of perfume she in there in the process, hence the particulates.

I was a little disappointed that the rest of the team are not in the episode much.  I love Angela, but she was only in the show for a short time.  Even the rest of the team, Sweets and Hodges, were not main characters in this episode.  I do prefer episodes where the whole team gets very involved   Especially where Hodges does experiments!

Overall, I didn’t find this to be one of the best episodes, but it was still good.  The case they were involved in wasn’t as interested and didn’t seem as detailed as others in the past, probably because of the elements of the documentary and such.  I give it 7 bones out of 10.

 rating_bones_7.0