Friday, October 21, 2016

Movie Review - Jack Reacher: Never Look Back

Jack Reacher: Never Look Back

Starring: Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders, Danika Yarosh, Aldis Hodge, Patrick Heusinger, Holt McCallany, Madalyn Horcher, Robert Catrini, and more.
Directed by: Edward Zwick Screenplay by: Richard Wenk, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz Based on the novel by: Lee Child Cinematography by: Oliver Wood Music by: Henry Jackman
Premise: Jack starts having phone conversations with Major Turner after a successful sting. He invites her to dinner and makes his way to D.C. to meet her face to face. When he gets there, however, he finds out she's been removed from her post. She's been placed in jail while waiting to be tried for treason. Something about this doesn't seem right. Reacher becomes sure of it when he finds himself being tailed. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Tom Cruise reprises his role as the loner, ex-military man, Jack Reacher. As always, he's a lot of fun to watch. Love all his little telltale expressions. Getting caught between Turner and Samantha made for a lot of amusing scenes. Cobie Smulders as Turner had some nice back and forth chemistry with Tom. Both characters are quite set in their ways and are a bit like mixing oil and water. Making the mix even more chaotic is Danika Yarosh who plays Samantha. Her character reflects facets of both of the two as they all go on the run. 
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: This is an action film, so bullets and explosions are pretty much a must. Great job by the special effects team on all of them. Especially memorable was the scene at the warf. A ton of lead flying everywhere! 
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I've not read the Jack Reacher book the film is based on, so apologies for not being able to give any opinions between the two. I have read one of the other books and enjoyed it quite a bit! Just need to find time to read more. :)
For once the previews did not reveal all! There's an added and unexpected element thrown into the plot they didn't give away. This added a different dynamic which for ends up prodding Reacher out of his comfort zone. While this particular complication is not new in the plot world, it made for a nice surprise. Especially since sneakily kept it out of the previews. Yay!
Action films do tend to let a few things slide so things will work out how they want. So there are a couple of bits. Sticky details like stewardesses and airport security. But they blank them out in such a way you don't realize it for the most part.
The pace is fast and slows down very little throughout. 
Samantha is super street savvy yet also conveniently clueless. But it's so much fun watching Jack having to deal with the unexpected situation that it's easy to ignore the convenient manipulation. 
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: The film has lots of lovely hand to hand fights and on foot chase scenes. Major kudos for the kitchen fight scene. The rooftop chase/fight was painful and awesome! 
5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of nice cinematography. Loved the wide overhead shots of Turner and Reacher running in several scenes. New Orleans was a great venue for the last section of the film. Especially with the Halloween parade and fireworks. The closeup shots, especially during the last scenes, made them even more poignant.
Conclusion: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is a fun ride. Full of mayhem and chaos, we get a lot of action scenes and close combat. Watching Jack squirm emotionally though? Priceless. :)
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Mind Sieve 10/17/16

Yes! It's a miracle! I'm posting on a Monday!
Wooo! :P

Rogue One Official Star Wars Trailer #2 - Hannibal! Woot! Though the iconic first view makes me fear a repeat of the last film. We'll see....

Trash Can - Simon's Cat - so cute! 

Doctor Strange Movie Trailer #3 - this one actually has several trailer cuts. Stay for at least the second one. Lots of new scenes! :)

Have a great week!

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 10/9/16

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Mission 1
The detail with the new graphics card is awesome! Shot from the hotel and the impending sand storm coming our way. Eek!
Cool wall graphic inside the hotel. I so love the little details! 
Hallway in the suites floor. This place would have been gorgeous!
View from one of the suite's windows. That storm is almost here!
About to start the final phase of the mission. Look at those colors!
Bad guys are coming in with their shipment of weapons.
Love my scope. Heh heh.
Never even saw this bit the first time around I had so many problems with the video. After shutting down the helicopter this happened! (That is one mean and powerful sandstorm!)
Hope you have a fabulous Sunday! 

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Chaos, News, and Oct 14th Impending Release!

Greetings all!
First, apologies for the lack of consistency on my posts of late. Between 2015 and 2016 life has been an ever filling bucket of chaos! Whee!
Most of it stems from the dreaded, but horribly necessary - Day JOB! I have to eat, pay bills, all those pesky things one does to survive while working above and beyond to push a writing career. Not for the faint of heart on a normal basis. And with all that's been happening at work in the last couple of years...
People leaving the department like every three months or so in 2015. Owner ship changes. Duty changes. And in 2016 the added fun of an accelerated system conversion at the same time as declaring bankruptcy and coming out the other side. Then add in the layoff and people who survived it leaving at the worst possible time...and you can see how full the bucket is.
I've got my fingers crossed that 2017 will finally have things slow down. I want to be able to WRITE! Got a science fiction manuscript screaming for me to edit it so I can shop it around and a new urban fantasy manuscript with several thousand words already down and tabulated research on the side. Neither of which has seen anything from me in at least six months. :(
The peeps from the writers group I belong to are not sure I still exist! (Been with them for a long time and I've always been anal about getting my crits for any submissions in! Now they never hear from me except to catch a glimpse and a word or two from me at cons. (I'm still alive! I promise! I will do my part soooooooonnnnnn!)
The blog schedule has not gone unscathed, and has gotten worse the last few months Apologies! At least I've still managed to show up at the cons. (Though on the last two I missed a couple of my panels - *gack* - Even after looking at my schedule repeatedly! Mind exhaustion anyone?)
We're hitting 3rd quarter close and audit - so it's not looking good for October. But I'll keep struggling to get back on track. 
And so as part of this long apology for sporadic posting schedules and more I will also be a good author and announce the impending release of my novelette "Charity and Sacrifice."
Charity and Sacrifice
Release date is October 14th! Less than a week away! And in case you missed the post a few weeks ago - it's already available for pre-order! Kindle,  Kobo, and iBook.
The novelette is 10K words and will only be available in ebook. For a short excerpt check the book page here.  It is a historical/alternate history work set in London, England in the late 1800's. :)
If you wouldn't mind, please help spread the word! And wish me LUCK! (I need it!) :P

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Virtual Tourist - Dues Ex: Mankind Divided 9/25/16

Morning all!
The Chaos continues. Every time I think it is about to let up - BAM! More chaos!
Anyway, upgraded my video card as I was having issues with the videos in the game. Started over to see those bits and also discovered that the images themselves became even more awesome. So retook a few. :P
Airliner crash in the news. Caused by an aug with PTSD - or so they believe.
Our virtual news reporter is back!
That hairdo is killing me! :P
The abandoned hotel in Dubai. Really would have been impressive if they'd finished it. 
Mac - he doesn't like me much. Feeling is mutual. Though I do like to poke at him. 
The Boss - Miller
Our approach in.
I took this same exact image the first time! Freaked me out when I saw that this morning. lol.
So much more detail! Ooooh!
That sandstorm really looks scary, doesn't it? :P
Got day 3 of Fencon this morning. So gotta run!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Movie Review - Storks


Starring: Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Anton Starkman, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Danny Trejo, Stephen Kramer Glickman, and more.

Directed by: Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland Written by: Nicholas Stoller Cinematography by: Simon Dunsdon Music by: Jeff Dana and Mychael Danna

Premise: Storks used to deliver babies to expectant parents. But that is a function they've not provided for almost two decades. They now deliver packages worldwide. And Junior's been told he's about to be promoted to "Boss". All he has to do is fire the human - Tulip. The storks are responsible for taking care of her ever since her failed baby delivery 18 years before. Now that she's come of age, though, she's no longer their problem and Hunter wants her out. Junior can't bring himself to fire her outright though. And through a series of events, Tulip inadvertently activates the baby factory.  Due to a messed up wing, Junior must have Tulip's help to deliver the produced baby before Hunter finds out about it and his chance to be the "Boss" is ruined. (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Andy Samberg and Katie Crown play off each other well  as Junior and Tulip. Kelsey Grammer was awesome as the head stork, Hunter. (The whole "Bossssss" sequences are too funny!) Anton Starkman was adorable as the lonely and ignored Nate Gardner. Jennifer Aniston and Ty Burrell as Nate's over achieving parents were a hoot. And I adored Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Alpha and Beta Wolf. (The wolves rocked!)

2)  Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Warner Brothers Animation did a great job on the film. The texture for the feathers, especially when ruffled, looked great. They also seemed to have had a lot of fun playing with Tulip's hair. (Her bored scene and changes in hair to pretend to be other people was too funny!)

The baby at the crux of the problem is beyond adorable. And the babies later on are an overdose of cuteness!

The wolves were such a fun treat! Not only funny, but they have mad skillz! ROFL. Animating their antics and making them look believable definitely deserve some well earned kudos.

A lot of subtext in the art with regards to buildings and working environments. And the Titanic reference was priceless!

Loved all the cool inventions, too. The fully working baby factory was awesome! :)

The Ninjago short before the main film was darn funny and looked great. The Chicken vs. the Master. (Since hubby's been killed by a chicken on an MMO, it made this even funnier! heh heh)

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: A simple premise filled with a lot of deep issues and themes. Storks are not the only way to get babies. They did mention this important detail for when we're informed they stopped delivering kids - lol. Junior seems to be living the dream, rising quickly to the top. But as the story unfolds, we get bits and hints showing all is not as wonderful as everyone thinks they are.

The same is true for Nate. His parents are go getters. They run a successful house selling business from their home, but they've lost their way. They've forgotten that by only craving success they've left something even more precious behind.

Lots of interesting characters and bizarre personalities!  Pidgeon Toady is a little scary. :P

Family, responsibility, denial, and allowing oneself to care for others than money - these are just a few of the themes explored. If you've ever been a parent, you'll see a lot in there that will make you nod. You'll know exactly what they're experiencing because you've been there. lol.

Conclusion: Storks is an adorable and surprisingly deep film. Lots of unexpected and cute bits. And the power of the pack! Go Wolves!

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

Friday, September 16, 2016

Movie Review - Sully


Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Valerie Mahaffey, Delphi Harrington, Mike O'Malley, Jamey Sheridan, Anna Gunn, and more.
Directed by: Clint Eastwood Screenplay by: Todd Komarnicki Based on the Book by: Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow Cinematography by: Tom Stern Music by: Christian Jacob and the Tierney Sutton Band
Premise: After landing flight 1549 on the Hudson River in NY, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger finds his life turned upside down. Immersed in a surreal environment; he must deal with PTSDs and self-doubt. But also fans, and several agencies hoping to prove his water landing was a mistake rather than a miracle. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Tom Hanks continues to amaze with his developed acting skills. He's a master at taking a average people and surprising you with unexpected depths of feeling when you least expect it. Laura Linney gave a wonderful performance as Sully's wife. Aaron Eckhart, who played first officer Jess Skiles, did an amazing job as well. All the acting was top notch.
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: I loved the subtlety of the special effects on the film. The nightmares as well as the actual landing looked real. Cool engine explosions as well. 
A ton of kudos for actually using an interior of a plane that is realistic! Narrow aisles and all! lol. The deployment of the emergency equipment and the slow flooding and sinking of the plane looked amazing!
3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The film starts in the middle of a nightmare - giving the audience their first hint of Sully's PTSD's and stress as he waits to meet with the different agencies to discuss the events of January 15th, 2009. As the story unfolds the audience is taken back and forth to learn more of the man and also the day of the event.
One thing I liked about how they told the story is the inclusion of the lives of others. While a standard film tactic in disaster films, it worked even better in this context. 
We see the captain's own doubts and fears as the media and other agencies try to wear him and his family down. And as the day gets relived in the film, we get to see the events unfold from all sorts of angles. A nice well rounded look at an amazing event.
One neat thing I realized later about the film is how they subtly acknowledged how the successful landing touched the lives of New Yorkers. This is a city that less than a decade before, had suffered a major disaster at 9/11. The fact Sully was able to avert another disaster from staining the city visibly touched the souls of those around him. The Manager at the Courtyard by Marriott shows this unspoken feeling more aptly than words ever could. 
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up:  The chaos inside the plane, people jumping into freezing water or shooting down wet slides, showing the jobs of rescue personnel - the stunt crew did a great job on all of it. It is the efficiency of those doing their jobs as they would on any given day that makes the acts even more amazing.
Conclusion: "Sully" is a fascinating look at the man, the people and the events of flight 1549. The deed is easy, it's the aftermath you have to look out for.
Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)
**After you see the film or if you're not going to see it, check out this cool website called 208 Seconds. 208 seconds is the interval of time from takeoff to landing in the Hudson. Mind boggling!** 
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