"Boil" (Transformers "Generation 1" Decepticon Pretender Bludgeon)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

On Agent Carter

I only watch six shows on television. Of those six, if I had to choose only one to keep watching, it would be Agent Carter. Why, aside from the fact that the writing and acting are wonderfully above the plain? Because it stands out from practically everything else on television. Without it, television would be lesser. Not just less enjoyable and less interesting; simply lesser.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Ideas for walls come crumbling down ...

I was recently asked if I was "open to new ideas". The answer is definitely yes, as I even see potential in at least discussing ideas that may "stupid" to some people, if not outright "crazy". The phrase "thinking outside the box" is a personal favorite of mine.

So far, this post may seem quite positive or upbeat; but from here on it gets gloomy. Sorry.

I also consider myself an "idea man". However, I've never been a leader. That's not a bad thing at its most basic, but after years of wandering nowhere (quite literally), I'm lost as to what exactly I want to do with myself, and even more so about how to do so.

I've now discovered that not being a leader has mutated into not even being able to lead myself; even with regards to making simple one-time decisions that will have little to no future effect on my life or the lives of others.

I live in a house of fear, built on a foundation of self-doubt, and covered in a roof of resignation.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Award Shows *sigh*

When The Martian won the 2016 Golden Globe award for "Best Film - Comedy or Musical", I realized that the "best of" picks of a small-town, one-person film fanzine (for example) are likely just as if not more valid than any major award show's selections, and the fanzine has a lot more integrity.

That, in turn, led me to finally come to the conscious realization that the major award shows have long been about keeping Hollywood in suspended animation, and mainstream movies in the driver's seat with regards making all the money, money, money. Together, these two "standards" have held back people and progress in the movie industry in many, many ways - from simple creativity to who gets to be involved and how.

And the awards themselves - the golden statuettes - are mere window dressing. The real "prize" these shows give out is the right to put "Academy Award nominee" or "Golden Globe winner" on future trailers and video releases. And not just for the films in question, but any future film or video release or television show; no matter how weak the connection. "From [i.e. produced by] Academy Award winning director...", "starring Golden Globe nominee...", and so on.

I personally would like to see a new kind of film award event, where every award category features five winners, five runner-ups and five honorable mentions; all announced at the event. The winners would all get to speak, maybe even the runner-ups. If not, the runners-up would at least be given a video spotlight, along with the honorable mentions.

This would go a long way towards stupid things* like The Martian winning "best comedy or musical", because they (the Golden Globes) wanted two dramas to get win a "best film" award. (Or accidentally promised to the people behind two different films that they would win "best film". You'd think they could at least rig the drama vote so it would be a tie, and both films would get an award; and, more importantly, they'd both be able to put "Golden Globe winner" on their Blu-ray release.)

* The "stupid thing" being a drama winning as a "comedy or musical". Having some humourous moments and a great pop-music soundtrack doesn't make a film a comedy or a musical. And I personally liked The Martian quite a bit.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Movie Review - 36-15 code Père Noël [1989/France]

Finally! My second IMDb movie review (following 2013 "sharkploitation" TV flick Avalanche Sharks) - the 1989 Christmas thriller 36-15 code Père Noël from France. Like the former review, I thought I'd share this one here as well. Though more to add content to the blog than for the sake of readers. *crickets* oꞈọ

I can't remember if I actually checked the spoiler box when I submitted this to IMDb, but when it showed up it had the "may contain spoilers" warning at the top. Though, in my opinion, the closest thing to a spoiler (in the last sentence) barely counts. Well, here we go...

I looked everywhere for this film before finding it on YouTube. No sub-titles, and my french is rusty (Maritime Canadian french, at that), but it's not very dialogue heavy. I also found a Spanish dub on YouTube, since the video cut off before the very, very end. There was only 30 seconds left and then the credits, accompanied by "Christmas" by Bonnie Tyler. (Best known for "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and apparently very popular in France.)
The hair, fashion and technology seen in the film is quite dated, the last of which is most notable since it is a key element to the character of "Thomas". The miniatures used for the mansion were lacking, and some of the set pieces were a little weak or odd. But the direction and cinematography was very good, as were the performances by the boy, grandfather and "Santa". In fact, I don't recall a middling performance by anyone in the film.
This is a good example of a film that would be perfect for a remake due to the dated look and weak set pieces. The most difficult thing to replicate, however, would be how believable the characters acting and dialogue is, even in such an unlikely scenario. Despite trying to be as gung-ho as his movie idol "John Rambo" while trying to protect "Papi" and himself, the film gives us a wonderful look at how truly afraid he really is. Which makes him all the more brave as he stays proactive throughout the ordeal.
The only thing I'm really disappointed about, aside from the fact that this film has never been given a DVD release, is that that the IMDb cast list in incomplete. As listed in the end credits, the dog (listed as "J.R." I believe) was played by Canaillou. Oh! And this film, despite being more of a thriller and some characters actually meeting their end, is actually much less violent than Home Alone.

Hope you enjoyed the review, since your options for seeing the film are very limited. Though I read that there may be a DVD/Blu-ray release in 2016. Since there is no image for the film on IMDb, here's the sleeve from a DVD release of the film ...

Wait? Didn't I just say it's never been released on DVD? Well, I guess I was wrong. However, I have no idea when this DVD was released and if it's still available. And a quick search of Amazon and eBay only found the soundtrack, posters and one, lonely VHS tape.

While this sleeve is in french, it's from LK-Tel Video, a company from Argentina (I believe). There is a Spanish dub, as evidenced by my review, and I've read there's a german dub. My online wanderings have shown me german covers/posters for the film, but I've yet to see one in english.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

"First They Came ... " (Why injustice upsets me)

This poem by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984), of which there are many versions, explains why I get upset about unjust things that happen to others. Things that some people would say shouldn't have an effect on me.

This version is the one found at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. I added the fourth line to make it easier to understand for those with thicker skulls and/or smaller brains.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the [fill in the blank], and I did not speak out -- Because I was not a [fill in the blank].

Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.


Theories that make Donald Trump a good guy

Donald Trump is sooo over-the-top ridiculous in his run for a U.S. Presidential nomination that I have come up with two - not one, but two - theories that, if either is proven true, could make him look like a good guy in the end. These theories are crazy, but we're talking about Donald Trump here!

First is the theory that Trump doesn't believe anything he's saying and doesn't intend to go through with any of his controversial ideas should be become President. Why? Because he sees anything he does before winning as simply a game, not a way to present to the people what his actual plans are. Trump's essentially playing Survivor, but trying to win over the lowest common denominator.

My second theory is that The Donald's actual beliefs lay on the other side of the fence, and he is attempting to be so offensive in order to make some of the people on the side he claims to be on rethink how they stand on certain topics. If this theory is true, Trump's already been successful, considering how many politicians and media puppets that originally championed him are now speaking out against some of the things he's said.

Again, as I said, really crazy theories. If either are true, I'll admit Trump is a genius. If either are not, I think he actually may be having a positive effect in a twisted, Alice in Wonderland way.


Keith Ballard retires and NHL workplace safety

Minnesota Wild defenseman Keith Ballard has decided to retire after not playing for a year due to post-concussion symptoms. While not a superstar, Ballard was more than an average player simply for giving all he could every second he was on the ice. He was the type of player every team needs to have any type of success.

While a loss in many ways, retiring is the right decision health-wise, even if Ballard could get medical clearance to play again. Michael Russo of the Minnesota Star Tribute talked with Ballard about the incident that led to this fate and his current plans in this article. (Which I was pointed to via this TSN article.)

In a game against the New York Islanders in St. Paul, Matt Martin hit Ballard with a legal and not very big check a few feet from the player benches. Ballard avoided most of the hit but spun around, lost his balance and struck his face against the dasher on top of the boards where there is no glass. (Here's a video from the Isles' MSG+ broadcast via YouTube; but watch it at your own discretion.)

I've long believed the dasher should be changed in some significant way. It should at least be rounded more, but should really be modified to have some kind of cushioning inside that would allow it to compress when hit. Even along the glass where it is much less prominent, the dasher can do damage.

A modification like that could have reduced the damage to Ballard's face. More importantly, it could prevented him from being knocked so silly that he was unable to brace himself as he fell, where he hit the back of his head hit the ice, knocking him unconscious and leaving him convulsing. Ballard amazingly walked to the dressing room on his own two feet after coming to.

I don't know of any real attempts having been made by the NHL to improve on the design of the dasher. Concussions due to fighting and head-shots are in the spotlight, but should not overshadow other serious problems; in this case, a flaw in the safety of the actual playing field. And while there would be obvious costs in development, installation and upkeep of new dashers, the various costs from incidents like Ballard's greatly outweigh the former.