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Life Changes In Tremendous Ways...

Life changes in tremendous ways when you realize that people who made everything around us are no different from you and I.

It's paraphrased, but something along those lines.

You ready? This New Year's a blank slate. Make something out of it.

First Sunday Of The New Year

And so the first week's flashed by! Almost a full one since the fireworks touched the sky and left the world in a smoky daze.

The day after it I woke up with a headache, we had guests over that afternoon, and though the sun was shining outside we barely had time for a walk, or any of the traditional reflections and contemplations on this first new day. It was a good visit, but it also felt like I missed something special. Like it was a rare moment to find a new inner peace and meaning that I'll now have to wait another year to experience.

Of course each day's a new phase too. Got to learn to treat 'em as such.

After that it was back to work again, and this weekend we've had guests over again on both days. I've been battling the starting signs of a cold that seems to come and go, but never really breaks through. Hope I'll manage to chase it away once and for all tonight, because next week (after a few work days) we're heading off to Tallinn, to explore the city and seep in the winter sights for just a couple of days.

I'm heading of to Ă–stersund at the end of the month too, to Budapest at the start of February, to Turku a week later, to Malaga in March, and to Tallinn for a longer set of days again later that month. Just need to book in one more trip and I'll have achieved an amount of flights (18 in a year) that'll give me free baggage carrying rights on all superseding ones for another full year. Which will come in handy during summer, with all the veggies and berries I hope to pack and carry down from the North. An empty suitcase up and a full one back again, at least a couple times over. I've been going with hand luggage only the last couple of years, and though that's worked alright this'll definitely be better. Looking forward to that.

Not that I'm only taking these trips for the free luggage that follows! I'm looking forward to the trips too.

I've been booking one at a time for a while now, whenever tickets have been on sale (it's almost become a bit of an obsession), but the one I'm looking forward to the most is actually the one I've booked up North at the end of May. It'll be the first glimpse of real summer as I perceive it, no matter what weather there'll be in the countries I visit before it.

Makes you wonder why you're traveling out of the country when the places you enjoy are so much closer... and I think a big part of it is just to get out of your comfort zone, and of course: to see the world. Meet people. Go places. Broaden your perspectives. Then get back and appreciate what you have, and be proud you accomplished whatever you set out to.

Was pondering Marrakech or Krakow for that one last trip before summer, but it probably won't be either of those. We shall see. For now I'm pretty excited about the quick leap this coming week. Gotta deep sleep peeps.

Oh, you know the thing? The one I'm fixing? Well I finished it! Just in time for Christmas, and this time it went through. More news on that later y'all. Good times.

It's been a pretty good start of the new year, tiredness or no, snow's coated the road, I just put up six reviews and I still have double to post... been seeing quite a few this Christmas. And then I wrote some prose.

See you folks.

First Man (2018)

First Man (2018)

The movie about the first man on the moon - Neil Armstrong, is like a strange blend of potential sci-fi and documentary, where you wonder all the way through if this was really how it all went down. Some elements feel real, and some don't, and being equally dubious as to the authenticity of the actual event lends it a whole new layer of... intrigue.

Patriotic American space movie too? Yepp. But it's one with class. It had moments. It had good music. It had enough length to really make the most of it, too, and it all builds up to that final landing so slowly you stop waiting for it, but more so enjoying the ride.

Well maybe not enjoying, because there are a bundle of not quite so euphoric hurdles along the way, but feeling. You join in on each and every individual success they accomplish, and each failure, until their final quest.

Ryan Gosling played Neil, and he couldn't have done a better job with it. Not to forget the wife Janet, played by Claire Foy. I'm pleasantly surprised with how much their silent moments speak to me, intimate and distant all the same.

In the end, it basically comes across as a movie about a man who became obsessed with the moon, and how he reached it only to realize there was nothing there... and that he'd had everything he needed in his home all this time.

At least that's how it comes across to me. That, and a little bit of the battle as seen through the eyes of his wife. She's the grounded one, while he's way up in the clouds. Head in the stars. All the sayings gone literal, even if he also comes across as smart, and a loyal fatalist like few.

It's not a depressing movie, despite the hurdles, but more of an insightful one. Of course. That's how it had to be.

I don't agree with all of the angles, or sound effects, and in some scenes the shaky cam's a bit much, but it really was a rough voyage, and they convey that well. It makes me think about the moon landing in a whole new way, even though I'm keeping an eye out for a Coca Cola can on the surface as they pan away, wondering if maybe they could've been a secret sponsor back in the day, or if this really is one more little glimpse into a humane story, from one giant cover up for mankind...

I'd like to think not, though. It's a mighty journey the way they depict it here. The space age: it was a little before my time, but I feel it takes me back all the same. And really brings me into the perils of their race.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

Gymkata (1985)

Gymkata (1985)

An American gymnast travels to a foreign country to compete in a deadly game not won by anyone other than a native in more than 900 years.

So that's what it was really about! Got it.

The plot's a mess. It feels more like a series of scenes from different places, mostly there to showcase Kurt Thomas athletic abilities than anything else, but it does have something else, too. Charm? Raw talent?

The fights and athletics might be its biggest merit (maybe this was actually the one that inspired the recent flipping trends in martial art movies), but it does have characters with charm, and a compelling albeit chaotic storyline that'll at least leave you entertained.

And hey, it has Michael Jai White! If but for a short moment. Uncredited...?

It also has Tetchie Agbayani and Richard Norton, and it's based on The Terrible Game by Dan Tyler Moore, 1957. Not that any of this necessarily makes it a better movie but maybe it's cool to know.

The Cuckoo's Nest was the definitely the most memorable part though. It stands out. That single scene builds up an atmosphere that leaves me in awe. Silent Hill and Resident Evil movie-franchising attempts should take note, and I wouldn't be surprised if it inspired the Resident Evil 4 reboot.

Ground-breaking more than good? Maybe! But it's one of those movies you'll have to see at some point in time... if these are the kinds of movies you like watching. Martial arts. Fighting. That kind of stuff. It's special. Not all especially good but: it's not your typical action movie at all.

B-movie or no, it's well worth a watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

The Predator (2018)

The Predator (2018)

I don't remember much from the original Predator at this point but the new one wasn't bad! No matter what people say about it. It might not have been as great as the first one, but it's not a remake either, more so an 'inventive sequel', so there's no need to actually have a stand-off between the two. I liked the grindhouse vibe it had to it, and the bad-ass team, but maybe not so much the suicidal elements. Those are just sad. Man.

The plot in this one? A predator lands on Earth again, people discover him, again, and from there on out the intrigue thickens, a bit...

It's all about natural evolution in this one. The best aren't necessarily the buffest, but rather the ones with brains, and Jacob Tremblay has plenty of the latter. Promising acting skills too. It's a basic but working premise.

As for the rest of the cast: Olivia Munn is getting some bad-ass roles lately, Boyd Holbrook reminds me of that guy in Gymkata, and Keegan-Michael Key... a comedian in a movie like this...? OK. It works. They're all looneys, and he's the funny way so that's OK. They're a good team.

If you start analyzing the details too much I feel like I might end up being disappointed, so I won't. I enjoyed it for what it was, and that was: a good dose of action, and a blast from the past.

I am looking forward to a sequel too. In this age of very fake-looking action blockbusters this one felt appreciatively authentic. Over the top or no. Good watch.

 rated 4/5: fo shizzle

The Equalizer 2 (2018)

The Equalizer 2 (2018)

Robert McCall serves an unflinching justice for the exploited and oppressed, but how far will he go when that is someone he loves?

I was going to dismiss this as just another sequel, as the black John Wick look-alike with yet another Transporter intro, but in the end... it really stood out after all, and it brought out the best in me.

I appreciate the silence. No words unless they really matter. Gestures. Bits and glimpses in addition to savage action - because those bits are really the ones that make the biggest difference. And props on making a firefight of a storm! The explosions aren't bad either. Sound work, special effects and props: it's all solid. John Wick-level professional but somewhat... more professional. Less sci-fi. More realism. More like Jack Reacher... but with a black person, and black culture? A darker tone? Is that the only difference? And yet though it comes off as one of the realest action movies of recent days it still has that superhero-style title. I guess you'd call that irony.

I can't say for certain it's worth a five all the way through, but it grows on you if you let it, and at the end I can't give it anything less. At that point the only thing that feels unfitting is the title. Should've been way more personal than that. But then again I guess he is a hero, isn't he? And as silent as he is be brings with him an air of secrecy too. He doesn't wear a mask, but then again maybe you just don't see it.

I'm hoping for a third one of these too, though I fear there's no way it'll match up to this one.

 rated 5/5: friggin awesome

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