C:\ Home » 2012 » October (Page 2)

Oh, Weekend & Snow!

Holy smoked smokes am I effective today. I rose from my burden of blankets before 8. I was awake already at 5, reading Phantom comics, switching off the bedlight again to maybe resume my slumber, then playing some Pokemon Pearl, and once again trying to catch some sleep before greeting the day. I don't think I did catch any sleep but I don't feel tired anyway. Getting up earlier than usual, I got to enjoy a much bigger breakfast than I'm accustomed to, the kind of breakfast I wish I would eat every day. A few slices bread roasted, a couple unroasted, some with butter, some with additional cheese, a couple of rice cakes with tubed shrimp and a bowl of cereal and stuff, with a current of black current jam. Of course accompanied by a steamin' cup of tea.

Since then I've read and written reviews for a couple of short stories, read another chapter about writing, read and re-reviewed a refurnished work from one of 5 Workshop allies on the Creative Writing course, written my diary entry for the day already (usually I do that when the day is over), written two 100 word entries for that site with the same name, responded to a hunk of old email and skimmed through all the usual news sites and other slices of Internetal delight and now I'm writing my first blog at fourteen hundred hours. Effectiveness comes in waves. Oh yeah. Today I'm blazing the path like a sun under magnifying glasses.

We have a guest staying with us this weekend, a cousin almost as old as my parents. She's here for a conference so we'll only be sharing meals on mornings and nights, but it's nice seeing people I haven't seen in a long time. A person. My mothers sister & Co are driving by for the day as well, stopping by for a piece of a hurriedly-baked cake, and it seems they're late. They live in a foreign location so them driving by is not just an everyday occurrence. More like every-other-year occurrence.

So how do you work? Do you get a boost of effectiveness when there's a lot going on? When the daily routine stumbles out of pace and appears varied and refreshing? When you don't have any pressuring workloads and can spend your loads of workflows as fastapaced as you wish to? Is life blissful?

Sun is shining too, and the night before yesterday the first snow of the winter fell down to coat our ground. It may be just a thin randomly balanced layer, but it's still there today. I guess we'll have snow for Halloween. A bit different, huh? Skies are blue, fresh air is tempting.... it's a bit cold in shorts though. I made an oath to myself I'd keep them till November though, so there's not much to do about it. At last I can smile inwardly at peoples strange expressions when I walk by looking fly like a chalked die. Hehe. I'll see you later.

Danny Trejo On A Roll!

He's got a lot going on... and that's not even the entire list... and he's 68 years old already! This is probably a first, an actor finding recognition this late his career, and an action actor at that. He's running around, shooting people and throwing punches like he wasn't even close to retirement age, even though he grew up in prison and on drugs. You would think such a life would make him age early. How long will he keep going? Till he's 80? 90? 100? I am amazed, I'm in a state of respect, I was amazed already before I saw the bigass list of movies he's been working on just this year! I guess Machete was the movie that fueled this sudden burst of interest for him, and I do look forward to the sequel, and all those other movies he plays a role in. Maybe he's in a rush to get as much filmed as possible before he grows old, who knows. Whatever it is, I'm not complaining. :)

A LONG List Of Movies Yet To Come

Duck Duck Go VS Google

Duck Duck Go

I stumbled upon a search engine comparison yesterday in which Duck Duck Go was the #1 choice. I would have been surprised that Google wasn't on top, was it not for the ample fact that this specific list was there to provide alternatives to Google. Obviously nothing really compares to Google. Just look at the ginormous house that holds their servers and you'll know they have no Earthly competition. Why would you even want another search engine than Google? probably the only reason you'll find is privacy concerns.

If you use a Google services, chances are your account is coupled together with your search results. They're stored you know, together with other account info, and even if you chose to not have it stored it will be stored together with your IP. If Google gets hacked or decides to do the unethical and sell user search information (which is valuable stuff), then maybe someone starts seeing search engine history you don't want to be seen. Surfing incognito won't change a thing, it's the search engine used that holds all the power. Duck Duck Go pride themselves in not storing user search information, so I stuck them on my startpage and will be giving them a test run this week.

So far results are so-so. Sometimes after I search for something and the results I want aren't in the list I go to Google anyway to find what I'm looking for. For the most part, Google does provide much more relevant results. On the other hand, Duck Duck Go's 'I'm feeling ducky' option is one I wouldn't want to live without. In terms of appearance, Duck Duck Go has managed to simplify things even more than Google, and the search results are continually fetched as you browse through them. Normally I find this feature annoying, but it seems to be annoying only in blogs and other forms of content you actually want to read or browse through. When you read a blog, moving to the next page feels like an accomplishment. You've read the first page. There should be some kind of divider there. When searching you want to find the information you are looking for quickly. It doesn't matter if the results go on forever. When you find the link(s) you want, you click them, and that's all. Duck Duck Go have much less clutter on the result pages too. I didn't think I'd think this way, but Google seem to be losing a bit of their former simplicity with all the new features (image previews, sub-pages, baked-in ads) that they keep introducing.

If you're really concerned about your privacy, take a look at Ixquick. It's a good alternative. For now I'm feeling ducky, I'll let you know if they win me over. ;)

Indiana Jones 3 - The Last Crusade (1989)

Indiana Jones - The Last Crusade (1989)

Indiana Jones is at it again, this time searching for the Holy Grail. Of course the Nazis are there as well, and as his father points out, it's a race between good and evil. If the Nazis get their hands on the holy grail first it'll be eternal darkness all over the world... or something like that.

The movie starts with a flashback into Indiana's past, when he's a kid, stumbling onto some thieves trying to steal a very special cross. He manages to escape, but the thieves take the cross from him anyway, with some help from the popo. A ton of years later he takes the cross back once again. Then his father gets kidnapped and sends him his diary. Turns out the father has spent 40 years of his life researching and searching for the Holy Grail, and now it's Indiana's turn to do so. Oh btw, in the introductory flashback of the movie, Indiana's fear of snakes gets a probable explanation. :)

It's a great movie, as all other Indiana movies I've seen so far. The fights all have the choreographically-wild style that characterizes fights from this day and age (you know, when the characters really lunge at the opponent), but there are still quite a few dangerous stunts among them, a lot of knocking down and shooting up and tumbling around, and some clever situations. Like taking refuge in the fireplace when a fire spreads through the castle. It's both clever, fast-paced and entertaining at the same time. In a way I'm amazed that they actually made a movie this fast-paced back in 1989. Most the movies I've seen from this time aren't nearly as quick or quick-witted as this one.

Another thing that strikes me is how they combined daylight and darkness. Nowadays, everything is dark. To portray evil there has to be darkness, but why, when it stands out so much better under a bright sun? It's one of the great differences between the eighties and the past-millenia movie-making style. All the remakes we get are darker than the originals. Think Batman, Superman, Terminator, etc etc. It's always death coupled with darkness, and the stereotype gets boring fast, there's only so much variation when you can't play with color and atmosphere. On a side note, the movie has some incredible special effects: traps and illusions, explosions, gunfire, everything is very realistic. And most of it probably is... real. I don't mean they're shooting with real bullets, I mean they're probably shooting with blanks or blowing up small charges to simulate gunfire and hits. I mean it's not digital. Only the blood looks as all blood from the eighties, just a bit too bright. The illusionary bridge at the near-end of the movie is probably my favorite effect from this time, and it seems to be real, too. It's quite a feat.

Of course there's a little love aside from the action, and the meeting with the father calls for a lot of comedy. Sean Connery and Harrison Ford are a great duo, wish they'd make more movies together. At one time in the movie Indiana gets Hitlers autograph, unintentionally, just to randomly name one of many interesting moments. Of course there are more dramatical moments as well, such as when Indianas father is dying and he is forced to find the holy grail to save him. The mystery knight that greets him, after having waited 700 years in the temple, is a magical moment. I like how these movies seamlessly pull together reality and mythology. The beginning is similar to the end, taking place in the desert, four old men riding into the sunset. The bad guy dies, the Nazis flee the scene and it ends happily after all... though that has nothing to do with the beginning.

But anyway, this is a great movie, as all the others in this series. If you've seen them, you better see this. If you haven't, this is a good introduction, especially since it features the flashback at the beginning. I actually think this was the first Indiana Jones movie I ever watched (fortunately), and it seems I did so in good order. Don't know if this is my 2nd or 3rd time watching, but it never gets old. I'll give it a...

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle


RED (2010)

Red (2010)

Bruce Willis is living a boring life. Of course, in this movie he's not Bruce Willis, he's Frank Moses. He's an assassin, a retired one as such, former CIA agent, living an anonymous life in American suburbia. The highlights in his life consist of contacting the public pension service and talking to a specific girl. When a wet team one day storms his house and it's clear they're out to kill him and anyone he's been in contact with, he goes to meet her and save her, team up with a bunch of other retired agents and kill the vice president.

There's a bunch of great actors in the movie. There's Gordon Freeman, Err... Morgan Freeman. There's Carl Urban and that actress from Weeds, Botany something? Or was that her Weeds name? It's not a name I remember, but she's really a great actress. There's a lot of good actors/actresses in this movie. Those are the only ones in this that I've seen in other movies, but everyone does a great job, the movie is just filled with good actors. It reminds very much of Knight and Day, with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, which btw came out the same year, and maybe overshadowed this movie a bit. It's the same spy/romance drama, with same guy saving some girls life multiple times, kidnapping her in the process, the girl trying to flee all the time; you know the story. Personally I think this movie outclasses Knight & Day though. It has much more depth in it and much more detail. It's not just a regular spy/romance movie either, there's a mystery plot involved, and it's unpredictable. People you think are dead are alive, people who should be alive are dead, people you expect to survive get killed. It's complex. New things are revealed all the time. Maybe that's why this movie has a lower rating on IMDB than Knight & Day: it's too complicated for most people. Or maybe it's just chance that one movie was favored over the other. Either way, if you like action, you really need to see both of them.

There's comedy, romance and a lot of action. The filmography is great. The gunfights are great, and clever, there's a lot of creativity and a lot of good choreography, not only for the fights but for mostly... everything. There are also some amazingly well-staged scenes, like when the wet team are attacking Franks house and he throws bullets in the frying pan, they blast the house, he knocks them all down on their way in and one of them slides along the wall and drops down. Whomever did the sliding down the wall did a great job. Probably an uncredited stunt-man, but it's small details like this that stand out. Then there's the scene when the hitman hits Frank's car and Frank steps out while it spins around, starts walking towards the hitman's car whilst firing, reloading in a second, firing some more, then hijacking a cop car and putting the cops on the hitmans trail through police radio. The 'Hitman' turns out to also be a CIA agent btw. Overall the action feels fresh and creative, the typical scenarios don't repeat themselves in this movie, it has something new. There's grenades being batted back with a rifle, RPGs getting split by a bullet in slow-mo, regular fights, gunfights, car chases, snipers, automatic machine-guns, Russians, breaking in at Langley... there's a lot.

At the start of the movie it's revealed that Frank is a retired analyzed. It turns out he's not. Turns out he was one of the best Black-Ops agents they had. A lot of things turn up along the way, and in the end there's not just Frank & The Girl, but a whole set of retired agents from different agencies working for different governments working on different teams cleaning up one big mess. I suppose this is where it differs greatly from Knight & Day. In that movie, it's just the main pair and a few outsiders. In this one, there are a lot of personalities involved. There's not as much romance I suppose, but if you favor action over romance, this is the obvious choice. Btw, RED stands for 'Retired: Extremely Dangerous'. Also, when Frank speaks Chinese in response to Sarah's saying 'How could you possibly know that!', what he replies is: "Sever years ago, I lived in Wuhan". I was curious, so I looked it up. :) Also, here's a memorable quote from the movie: "Swedish K (picks up a weapon). Now THAT is exiting." What? It's always nice hearing people mention Sweden in foreign movies, especially when the mentioning is a positive one as such. ;)

Well that's it, I won't spoil the plot twists for you. It's a great movie, recommended, maybe my best watch this year (2010). I'll give it a strong...

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle


Takers (2010)

Takers (2010)

Takers is full of tough guys. The cops are tough guys. The robbers are tough guys. Everyone is a tough guy. You can't really empathize with the characters since they're all tough guys. At least that's the way it is in the beginning, but as the movie progresses so do the emotional aspects of the movie. It does get better. Some tough life situations are unraveled, two buddy cops, one corrupt, one thug with a drugged up sister stealing his marked money, a convict recently released that could be setting he whole gang up in what turns out to be the major robbery in this movie.

There's a lot of potential but unfortunately the movie doesn't make full use of it. The actors don't have much character of their own, it feels like they're just running off the script all the way through. When there's action it's pretty intense, but when there's no action it feels a bit too scripted. The camera angles aren't very creative, nor is the setting or plot.

Not to mention all the frequently abused clich├ęs and stereotypes that this movie uses.

The filming is gritty and unnecessarily shaky. There's one great chase scene, where the human object of the chase is doing all sorts of crazy freerunning/parkour stunts, such as jumping off a ledge onto the hood of a car on a parking garage at least 3 meters below, over a large gap. There's a lot of potential in this chase especially, but they shake the camera enough to destroy plenty of it. It's a shame. They should try to learn something from Asian movies, where they usually manage to make great action sequences without making a big mess out of it.

The movie starts off with one successful robbery in which a selected few (antagonists? protagonists? still unclear, even at the end) get away with 2 million in a hijacked news helicopter. The final gunfight is intense. In fact, all the action is intense, and there's always suspense, but the movie needs more than that. Maybe it's because there's no clear divider between good and bad guys. There is no winning or losing. This movie could have been so much better if there was. It could have been on par with Oceans 11 or The Bank Job, but as it is, it's not. It's worth watching, it's still good action, I'm just not happy with the wasted potential.

Obviously they had a big budget, judging by all the cars and sets that get wrecked. Wish they had used it better.

 rated 3/5: not bad


Privacy   Copyright   Sitemap   Statistics   RSS Feed   Valid XHTML   Valid CSS   Standards

© 2022
Keeping the world since 2004.