Sunday, May 24, 2015

Virtual Tourist 5/24/15

Morning!
Tons of rain last night. We've not had this much rain in years! Maybe ever?

Skyrim
Whiterun


Enchanting and potion making tables in the Jarl castle.


One of the temples in town. You can get blessings there.


No idea if that's a true representation of the deity or what. Hard to even say what it is!


Altar at the death deity's temple. Also got to go down in a mini dungeon adventure here. :)


Look at that sky. They do some awesome work in that regard.


The snow glows! How cool is that?

Bleak Falls Barrow


Rather extensive place with all sorts of trouble hiding inside.


Bandits have taken over the immediate interior


Giants roots everywhere. 


First puzzle area.


Yes, lots and lots of cobwebs in this parts.


Creepy as all get out, no? The dude in the webbing at the back is alive! 

Hope you're having a great Memorial Day weekend or just an awesome weekend for those of you not in the US!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Movie Review - Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland


Starring: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Hugh Laurie, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Thomas Robinson, Pierce Gagnon, Chris Bauer, and more.

Directed by: Brad Bird Screenplay by: Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird Story by: Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird, and Jeff Jensen Cinematography by: Claudio Miranda Music by: Michael Giacchino

Premise: Casey's dream is to go to space, so she's been sabotaging the equipment being used to dismantle NASA's launch platform trying what she can to keep it alive. When she's caught and then released, she ends up with a strange pin she's never seen before. And when she touches the pin, it lets her see a marvelous city full of technical miracles. But when she uses up all the power on the pin and heads off to find information about it at a SF collectibles store, she finds there are people out there willing to kill her just for having it. (Rated PG)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Tomorrowland has a great cast - especially the kids. Thomas Robinson and Raffey Cassidy were totally adorable in the 1954 sequence. Thomas rattled the technical terms and explanations like a total pro - and his instant attraction to Athena was like a neon sign. Britt Robertson did a great job as the spunky Casey. Her reactions to the insanity were great. George Clooney as Frank Walker was an excellent choice, just the right amount of disillusioned bitterness and sparkling hope. Sparring verbal matches between Clooney and Britt were a lot of fun.


2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The special effects are totally worth seeing in IMAX. From the giant wheat field to the lovely lines of the city in Tomorrowland, there's so much to enjoy visually. A lot of attention is paid to detail, even going so far as to adjust the tech and look-and-feel of it during the different periods we see Tomorrowland or technology on Earth derived from it.

From the pin to the different permutations of the jetpack, the special effects group wove in subliminal homage to a ton of SF from the past - Jules Verne/Steampunk, 2001 Space Odyssey, Flash Gordon, Star Wars, Star Trek, The Day the Earth Stood Still and more. (And that's on top of the ton of SF related material flashed around at the collectibles shop!)

The sequences where Casey touches the pin are fab. She's lucky not to have broken something! lol. The switching back and forth was seamless, making it that much easier to believe it was really happening.

Tomorrowland itself was fabulous! We get a little bit of a quick tour, but it will need a couple of viewings or more to see everything, there's so much going on. Heh heh. Also the effects used for physically travelling to Tomorrowland and those for the tachyon time distorted future images came out really well, giving both a nice unique touch.

Extra kudos for changing the Disney castle intro to match Tomorrowland. Super nice touch!


3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: The film covered all sorts of themes - family, dreams, not giving up, love that transcends, making a difference, good and evil. Many of these are interwoven together and played off each other as well. There's also a lot of minutia in the visuals to fill in information even before some of the themes are explored.

A few bits at first seem not to make sense or appear to be errors, but this is only because the pace is so fast the audience is expected to realize the reasons for themselves. For example: automatons killing people and trying to kill the main characters on Earth, yet these same characters not being immediately shot in Tomorrowland - at first it seems an odd incongruity until you realize that on Earth their actions are not being seen while in Tomorrowland, the same actions would be noticed and commented on by those with power to make a stand. With the consistently fast pace of the film, you have to put things together on the go!

All the scenes where there are one-to-one interactions really were well setup and executed. The whole section of Casey trying to get into the house and what she does to get in and what happens with Walker after she does are priceless.


4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Most of the gags were usually a mix of CGI and live action. For the most part you couldn't tell which was what and worked together to great effect. The chase and battle scenes at Walker's house were fab!

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The cinematography was awesome! The view of endless water in the secret room under the World's Fair, the golden wheat fields in Tomorrowland, all the shots of Tomorrowland itself, and what they do with Paris - everything seemed bigger than life, the amazement factor ratcheted up high. The time lapse sequence of the NASA launch pad and the other visuals from using the time map were very cool.

6) Music - Total Thumbs Up: Michael Giacchino did a great job on the score. It had a very strong John Williams vibe to it. It was almost as if the music, and not just the visuals, were paying homage to all the SF that has spanned and entertained us for the last 60+ years. Nice!

Conclusion: Tomorrowland is a fun, fast paced adventure. Great visuals and lots of witty repartee. There also a three second or so extra bit at the very end of the credits that was the perfect conclusion for the film. :)

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

  

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 5/20/15

Morning!

Figured I'd give you all a break and post something other than my pics today. :P


Towards an Uncertain Future by Marco Gaiotti at Earthshots.org - you can almost feel the polar bear's loneliness, no? Sadly it looks like he does not have a website. :(



Lightening by Brent Davis at Eartshots.org - looks surreal!  He also has a cool photo folder at his site called Tiny Planets. Like folded pictures - really neat! Dawn has some cool stuff in her folders as well. Nice!


Silent Morning by Marco Calandra - these are always so neat! Check out his site too, he's got a truly diverse portfolio.:)


Nenagh Castle by Ed Mooney - by looking through the windows, it feels like this is a castle in the sky! He has lots of lovely black and white photography.




Have a great day!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mind Sieve 5/18/15

With any luck, I've found my way correctly to the new work place.
Ugh. As many maps and other preparations I made previously, even a prerun, yesterday's reminder run didn't go so well. It never fails! Waaahhh!

So today's post will most likely be SHORT.  Heh heh


Fan Fun


Furious Minions - this was too fun not to share. lol






Supergirl - First Look - This looks GOOD! I'm in!



The Intern Official Trailer #1 - this looks adorable!




Crimson Peak Official Trailer 1 - Oooh! I love Victorian creepy!



Tomorrowland Official Trailer 3 - YES! I am so ready! :)





So many trailers!!!!!! So little time!!!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Virtual Tourist - Skyrim 5/17/15

Morning all!
Tons of storms last night. Made getting up this morning rather difficult. :P

Skyrim
City of Whiterun



Doesn't that sky look absolutely real?


My first view of Whiterun. I did not come here the usual way. (Hubby gave me some baaaaad advice.)


Some neat viking type architecture here.


Hall of the Companions. Looks like and upside down Viking ship, no?


The Big Man himself. :P


Sacred Tree - grown from a cut of THE SACRED TREE. Some lovely waterways here too.


Hall of the Companions


Troll Skull.  The red lettering tells you taking it is stealing. In dungeons, no such lettering. But places like this, even with no one around, you'll get caught. It's how I took my unexpected shortcut to Whiterun. (*shakes fist at hubby*)


Down the middle, in the back, do you see the eagle statue? It's eyes even glow.


That's me! 


The dark elf that works for the Jarl.


The leader of Whiterun himself. A bit of an odd duck. Oh, and that's my little hammer. Heh heh.


Stay dry!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Movie Review - Mad Max: Fury Road

(Sorry there's been no movie reviews for the last couple of weeks. Between a super late night for Avengers and sickness at home...)

Mad Max: Fury Road



Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Josh Helman, Nathan Jones, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Riley Keough, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton, John Howard, and many more.

Directed by: George Miller Written by: George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nick Lathouris Cinematography by: John Seale Music by: Junkie XL

Premise: Dealing with his own demons, Max Rockatansky is caught and dragged to the Citadel to be used as a blood sack for reenergizing White Warriors. But when an Imperator breaks ranks with one of the Citadel's tankers and some hidden cargo, Max unexpectedly gets one last chance to struggle for freedom - for Immortan Joe, leader of the Citadel, wants the cargo back - at any cost. (Rated R)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Max is definitely mad and Tom Hardy conveys it quite well. Yet in his madness might also be salvation. It was fun watching the almost feral man slowly regain his humanity and self. When he finally says his name, you can almost feel him dragging it back up from oblivion. Charlize Theron is tough, competent, and strong where it counts. Nicholas Hoult was great as Nux - gung ho 100% yet we also see him evolving, proving he is more than what the Citadel made him.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Since the film is written and directed by pretty much the same group of people responsible for the previous Mad Max films, it comes as no surprise that there is a TON of special effects with regards to explosions, cars, flamethrowers, and more! As pimped and crazy as the previous Mad Max films made the vehicles, they still somehow managed to raise the bar again. Booyah!

Fantastic work too on the Citadel, the people powered machines there, and the overall look and feel of the place. Cogs in the machine!

The approaching field of storms in the dessert looked fantastic! And once they drive in between them, and  some of the consequences of doing that - totally fab! The CGI and Cinematography shots of these and other scenes were just gorgeous.

Nice job too on the mutations! They ranged from hardly noticeable to downright disturbing. All the branding and scars looked real as well. Great job!


3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: You get a very fast intro and not much detail as to what has brought the world to this junction. Seemingly, Max was a pre-apocalypse cop, which doesn't exactly jive with the civilization we see at the Citadel - as it implies a longer span of time, like several generations, but I may have missed something. Like I said, very fast intro.

Loved that they actually did try to develop distinct cultures for several of the groups we come across. A lot of it the audience has to put together on their own, but they do give you enough info or visuals to help you get there. Every cog has its place, and every survivor above a specific social strata had a purpose all their own.

We don't see enough of the other groups to put as much together, but the fact they actually are different and conform to their areas in different ways was definitely a plus.

Story was pretty solid overall and just enough to string the action together without getting in its way. There's even some surprises! Which was lovely. The only place it fell apart a little was towards the end. Injuries suffered by one of the characters would in no way actually be overcome the way they showed. This was the only major disappointment, though - the action doesn't leave a lot of time for anything else. :P

Though water and fuel play a major piece of what people want, mother's milk and trying to make perfect children added new layers of complexity and food for thought. Another new and fun bit was the addition of drums and music to the hunt - things that are ancient and traditional - and in the film wove into the actual music soundtrack, tying their reality in with the fiction of the film.

One large bit of kudos to the writers for having a heroine with a prosthetic. Gave a lot of weight to her years of pulling up hill to get to the position she had when she finally made a run for it. Nicely done!


4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Mad Max films would be nothing without stunts - and this film is chock full of them. CGI does play a major part in a lot of them, but there's plenty of real ones as well. Between all the guns, cars, exploding javelins, flamethrowers, hand-to-hand combat, and explosions, I doubt anyone will be disappointed. Great job!

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Fury Road goes back to its roots and filmed a lot of the movie in Australia. This rendition, however, also added several locations in Africa to its repertoire. All the locations set the mood perfectly. Awesome choices all around - which got taken full advantage of in the cinematography! Sweet!

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: The costuming and makeup departments did great work. From the emaciated rabble at the Citadel, to the Immortan Joe's White Boys and Warrior Boys, they had their own unique looks and were instantly recognizable as to their strata. The tattooes on the blood sacks as well as the carved flesh and scars of warriors and others, and the Citadel's brand on those they claimed for themselves were distinct and added a lot of flavor.

Even more kudos for making the dress, look, etc of the rocky area group and that of the people in the marshes and beyond unique to their own groups.

Conclusion: For fans of the previous Mad Max movies or anyone who loves a good action film - Mad Max: Fury Road totally delivers! Between the great stunts, special effects, and cinematography, there's a lot to enjoy on this chaotic ride.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Picture Kaleidoscope 5/13/15

Gooooood Morning!
We're supposed to get more rain this week. Lakes are happy, sinuses are not! :)
But it does make for some interesting skies!


Some unusual cloud type mixes this day. Cirrus at the top, cumulus  at the bottom.


You can see the cumulus line better on this one.


More so in this one. It was a harbinger of things to come!


A little too fast on the trigger finger, lol. But look at them clouds!


Butter melting in the horizon! 


Can you hear the pan sizzle?


Peek-a-boo!


And one more!


Roses have been loving the rain. 


Glorious morning! Booyah!


Storms are a coming.


Oh yeah!


Only caught the tail of the lovely colors in the clouds. *pout* Driving safety first though!

Have a lovely Wednesday!