Blog for author Gloria Oliver. Postings on anything and everything including movies, books, conventions, life, what have ya. Come visit me at www.gloriaoliver.com
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Movie Review - True Grit
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Barry Pepper, and more.
Directed & written by: Joel & Ethan Coen
Premise: After her father is killed, Mattie Ross comes to Fort Smith to collect her father's body. Seeing that no one is pursuing the murderer to bring him to justice, she decides to take matters into her own hands and hires a local marshal to go after him.
Review: It's been forever since I saw the original True Grit with John Wayne so I can't make any valid comparisons with the original, so I won't. I can only say what I felt about this film on its own.
Hailee Steinfeld was spectacular! Prim, proper, with a core of iron yet still showing a vulnerability on occasion that was great to behold. She fired her dialogue with just the right amount of confidence and sharpness that made her such a fearsome force to deal with. A guided missile on a mission! One that would not be stopped.
Jeff Bridges was a total hoot as Rooster Cogburn. He was gritty, quirky, funny, rough and watching him deal with Mattie and also LeBoeuf was a hoot. Matt Damon as the Texas Ranger was prissy and stiff and a wonderful foil to clash with Rooster. Like two sides of the same coin, one shiny, one scarred both stubborn.
Beautiful cinematography. You truly felt these people were out in the middle of nowhere. Everything was desolate. The multiple layers of desolation for the landscape, the people, and their cause, it made a very nice image both visually and subliminally.
The film was a lot of fun especially in the beginning. Then as things move along it grew grimmer as they knuckle down to the task at hand. All actions have consequences. And when you push past where you should, be prepared to pay the price.
In someways that was the scariest thing about the film. Mattie Ross grew up in many ways though she was already mature beyond her years during this adventure. But the biggest lesson learned and one she wore like a badge of honor - was that all actions have consequences. There is always a price to pay and you have to want it bad enough and pay it. She did and I can't say she was ever sorry for doing it though at the time she felt some regret but there was way to take it back. It was a very poignant thing watching her come to realize the price she would pay for that one moment of triumph. A price she'd never expected and could do nothing about since it was too late. But eventually resolved there was no point crying over spilled milk. What was done was done. A lesson you got the feeling her two companions already knew quite intimately themselves.
And while you'll hold it together throughout, it's the ending years later that gets you. It's where you see just how much that short period of time made a difference in a young girls life. (Tearing up just thinking about it. I am a sucker! Heh)
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Movie Review - Tron: Legacy
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, James Frain, Beau Garrett, and more
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Premise: Sam's father disappeared twenty years ago. As Sam continues trying to deal with the abandonment and pushing his father's legacy along on in his own way, he's told an old friend got paged from a phone that's been disconnected for almost as long as his father's been missing. With a little prodding, Sam goes to check it out and his adventure begins.
Review: Hubby and I saw the original Tron way back in the day. We were some of the privileged few who got to see it with the stagnant then energy infused apartment belonging to Yori when she meets secretly with Tron. So you could say we've been somewhat looking forward to this sequel.
Visually, the new film is stunning. Absolutely MUST be seen in the IMAX 3D. All the old vehicles are there with a makeover, looking shiny and new. Though no tanks were seen shooting (major bummer) and only glimpsed from afar. There were all sorts of new personal vehicles to watch being played with though - like personal fighters and wing backpacks. The planes even leave the same deadly trails as the motorcycles (though I wasn't sure that made much sense as it was not in a game scenario). The motorcycle game went multi level, but they removed the 90 degree turns that proved so deadly in the original.
Jeff Bridges and Tron (who we saw very little of per say) were taken back to their original youth by utilizing digitized renditions taken from the original film. This works, for the most part.
Plot wise, they went a weird direction. In many many ways the new film follows the same steps as the old one. Clash and shenanigans with Encom (they had the HUGE door from the original that led to the lab. I so enjoyed that!). Dillinger's progeny is there though he has nothing really to do, just a gimme of sorts - I figured since they'd bothered to bring him in they'd do something with him, but no. Dumont's name is flashed around as fan giggle fodder. Once Sam is unwillingly sucked in to the grid he is promptly captured and thrown to the games (Very nice and mechanical seeming scene where his clothes get taken and him changed: like an assembly line) - first discs and later cycles just like his father. And more. If you've seen the original film, keep an eye out and you will see what I am talking about. (Don't want to give all away!)
As if to make up for the deleted room scene in the first film, you'll get a nice long look at Flynn's place in the digital world. Though it's been humanized. They make up for this later when you see Programs bumbling about looking at the strange things he's made. (Almost like Flynn had made his own programs for his furnishings like you can in Second Life Online.
While they keep the lingo from the original film, it is used a lot less and almost thrown in as an afterthought. I was somewhat bothered by the introduction of a bar in this digital world. Somethings were turned too much into normal human things - while it fit Flynn and his home, it did not fit in the grid. These are Programs. There should have been more originality in how they differ from us in their downtime and general life IMHO.
They introduce ISOs but really don't give you much about them. (Really it's but a crutch to give us a specific turnout at the end.) Also the falling out that turned everything so nasty was very vague. Just because your interest shifts does not mean betrayal or that you aren't looking towards that end anymore. It felt lame?
So while visually fulfilling, story wise it was a little lacking. Oh, and there's no BIT. You see him as a firework and as a couple of toys, but no BIT. Was really hoping they'd have BIT in there! :P
So overall, it was entertaining and beautiful if not totally satisfying.
Rating: Visuals 4.5, Story 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby rating: worth full price of admission)
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Movie Review - Black Swan
Staring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, Ksenia Solo, and more...
Premise: Nina finally gets her big break with the ballet troop when she is chosen to play the Swan Queen in Swan Lake. And she wants her performance to be PERFECT.
Review: I will try to review this without giving things away. First of, I will never be able to listen to the music of Swan Lake without recalling this movie! Never!
I was totally fascinated by this film on a multitude of levels. One is the look behind the curtain of the world of ballet. About the last ten years or so I've become more aware about the long term effects of doing ballet. It is a truly arduous profession that normally causes long term damage if you get good enough to go professional with it. As much or more so than expected of professional football and baseball players. You catch a tiny glimpse of that here. Of the commitment, the hours, the damage. And how catastrophic an accident could be.
Another is the pressure to succeed. The power plays, the rivalries, the politics, all the things you normally get with a group of any size where there lands a pecking order are there to be seen. Even other darker glimpses like of worship, ridicule, backstabbing, and even the force of others trying to live vicariously through their children.
The last was the complicated story of Nina herself. Someone who on the surface seems to have the talent, support, and good life, but only if you're only looking at the surface.
There were moments when the camera work options chosen were not the best in the first quarter of the film (like over the shoulder moving shots), but beside those, it just got better and better the further the film went. This is also a movie you don't expect the need for a lot of CGI or special effects work, but there is. And those were fabulous. Make sure to look at faces, at mirrors, and more. Don't blink!
The choreography and the hard work by Natalie Portman and others was outstanding. Several of the practice dance scenes have such close motion between her and her partners it was amazing to behold. Like watching jet pilots when they do their graceful weaving in the skies. Just amazing but easy to overlook or forget the amount of skill involved.
Natalie Portman deserves a nomination for an Oscar if not more. You'll see, trust me. But can't say more.
The story begins with a punch. A dream that is a harbinger of things to come in several levels. Then the film slowly, ever slowly simmers upward. Little flashes and bits get doled out and if you blink you'll miss some of them. Then the whole thing builds to a crescendo to a scene that literally had me break out in goosebumps all over. And then it swoops down for a couple of more punches in the gut. WOW! (The Black Swan sequence was beyond Superb! And then there was more!)
There is a lot of sexual matters alluded to or shown though there is no real nudity, but still not a kids' movie! The deeper aspects of it are probably not for kids either. Yet the allusions to sex and even a well dressed pervert in the subway also gave it a strange dimension of reality in a way.
The film even made fun of itself by showing some people who don't like ballet. A clash of two different worlds coming together. A definite problem that would be had by these young women if they tried to date outside their circles.
My husband came because I picked the movie and he had no better preference, but he came out of this happy that he came to see it. Yes, it was that good! (He's not into ballet at all.) It's a very visual film.
This is not a feel good movie. But it will stay with you. Perhaps even haunt you. I know it will haunt me.
Rating: 4.5 of 5
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Movie Review - The Warrior's Way
Starring: Dong-gun Jang, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston, Tony Cox, Lung Ti, and more...
Premise: As an assassin reaches his goal of 'greatest fighter ever', he comes to realize that reaching it means nothing. Rather than kill the last survivor of a rival clan, he let's the girl child live and escapes with her to America to start a life with more than just fighting in it.
Review: The story of Yang is related to us as a spoken story. Like those told over a campfire or while snuggled by a fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa. So in the telling the story reaches a bigger than life quality. Which is then presented to us that way visually.
So a desolate town seems ever much more so. The sunrise and sunsets, even the night sky, are wider, bigger, more colorful. The feats by individuals and groups faster, grander, more impossible than normal. Dark is darker, color rare and brighter. The fight of light vs dark both a visual and moral thing. And it works beautifully!
Tons of battles. Guns, swords, leaps, bounds. And the greatest use for a half finished ferris wheel ever!
No, you won't find a very complicated plot here, though it does end up having several layers, but then that's not why you chose to see this film anyway. And it does spring a couple of fun surprises on you along the way, which was awesome. The great work by the cast doesn't hurt either. And unlike most American films, don't expect a all is wonderful happy ending. Yet it is one that fits the premise very well.
Overall, it was a totally fun ride. If you want to see gun fights, sword fights, assassin fu, destruction and more - this film's for you. It even had a touch of creepy thrown in - when the ship goes to America with its second cargo - some real nice imagery there. Eek! Definitely worth it for the visuals alone. Fun stuff!
Rating: 4 out of 5
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Movie Review - Tangled
Staring: Mandy Moore, Zachary Levi, Donna Murphy, Ron Perlman, MC Gainey,Jeffrey Tambor, Brad Garrett, Paul F Tompkins, Richard Kiel and more.
Premise: Rapunzel has been wanting to see more of the world than just the inside of her tower, specifically the lights she sees flashing in the sky once a year on her birthday. Though her mother has cut derailed her desire, she can't resist once a stranger unexpectedly climbs their tower and makes it inside. This might be her one and only chance to get to see the lights up close. So she takes it.
Review: This movie was a blast! Witty, funny, exciting. And while all the speaking parts were great, the extra fun totally came from the two non-talking characters, Pascal the chameleon and Maximus the horse.
Pascal has great facial expressions and for a non-talking little creature very easily makes his emotions and opinions felt. He's like the 'heavy' in the duo of Rapunzel and her best friend.
Maximus is the ultimate horse! More like a Horse Hound as Max exhibits many traits of hunting dogs (including the urge to scratch with the back leg when someone scratches him behind the ear. Of all of Flynn's many enemies, he's the one to watch out for! lol.
There were several points about the story that surprised me. Loved watching Flynn's scheme to get Rapunzel to give up and go home so he could get what she hid from him faster and also how it totally backfired. Also Rapunzel's reactions when she first made it out of the tower were hilarious and more realistic than I expected.
The whole Mother angle was evil, insidious, and so well done! (Gave me chills, too, but for other reasons, will explain after review)
Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore have a good rapport that comes out clearly in the film. And the animation of both, especially Rapunzel's big green eyes do much for quiet moments.
I think even knowing what you've seen on the previews, you'll be surprised by all that goes on.
Of course, some of the things you may have seen in the previews never made it to the movie. Rapunzel's hair falling to hit Flynn and Maximus laughing his head off. Rapunzel's hair attacking Flynn like fists. (Could be the hair was semi self aware at that stage of development? And they decided to make it more static? Didn't lose by not having/doing it, still, I find previews that are not in the film rather annoying! lol)
Overall, totally worth it! GO see it!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
P.S. Now for why I freaked a little watching this movie. If you've not noticed by this point I'm an author. My book "Willing Sacrifice" is about a young woman raised in isolation, supposedly for her protection (like Rapunzel), being manipulated and told things to keep her in line (like Rapunzel), stubborn to a fault (ditto), who paints to keep occupied (ditto), fascinated by the outside world (more ditto), meets a young man who's interest at first has nothing to do with the girl herself (ditto), she's faced with the realization he might not even see her as a person (oh ditto yeah), one single moment of clarity forces her to see the truth that's been veiled from her all these years. And in many ways 'Mother' resembled my Viscount. Some of their goals totally the same. It was almost like seeing my book on the screen! YES! (Except I have no cool Pascal or Maximus. Heh heh)
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Movie Review - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt 1
Staring: Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Helena Bohnam Carter, James Phelps, Oliver Phelps, and many many more...
Premise: The whole of the magic world has come to see and admit that Lord Voldemort has returned. Terror strikes the land as evil once more covers the world and people start turning up dead, imprisoned, or worse as Voldemort starts putting his stamp on all again. Those left of the Brotherhood of the Phoenix attempt to keep Harry and his friends safe as Voldemort places all his assets into finding him. Harry catches glimpses of a secondary goal of Voldemort's and tries to find out more about it even as he continues to search for more of He Who Shall Not Be Named's horcruxes.
Review: Did try not to get too excited, though I must admit as many people insisted on Friday the movie was fab I couldn't help doing so just a bit. Would have been better if I hadn't.
Beautiful cinematography! There is some truly breathtaking scenery that looked even more amazing in IMAX. Special effects were top notch as usual. The polyjuice scenes with Harry and later all three principals were especially fun.
All three actors are maturing in their craft and it totally shows. Especially for Mr Radcliffe. Which is great since these last two films will have a lot of darkness and emotional scenes.
The biggest problem, for me anyway, was the pacing and some of the bits they hung over. Wherever there were more than the three kids, those scenes flowed fast and furious. Which meant you saw a lot of characters we've come to know over the years, yet only got a glimpse if that much of them. The parting Duddley scene in the book where he finally acknowledges Harry wasn't shown. And I felt this did a great disservice to the books and the things JK Rowling was trying to show in them. It was a major point showing a change on a problem that had been existent since book one -- Duddley maturing and actually making his own conclusions - becoming his own man.
The scenes with just the three of the principals sometimes moved like molasses. They were off and on the run and on their own for months but there's no real feeling of that passage of time. I think if they'd taken thirty seconds to show the tent and little things about it changing/moving or locales flickering past in fast motion and even the characters moving at speeds, it would have done a lot to let the audience see that. (And then given more time to spend on other things! :P)
John Williams did not do the score for this film (I heard there were timing issues) but Alexandre Desplat did quite well. So nothing was lost in that area. Yay!
The three actors acting as polymorphed Harry, Hermione, and Ron at the Ministry were a blast! Especially the one for Harry. His walk and manners were especially a hoot. (That whole section was too much fun!)
The part where we're told the story of the Deathly Hallows was totally fantastic! The animation and dark slant of it was great.
Doby was back! And at least he didn't get belittled and had his proper moments. They changed a little of what was done with Hedwig but it made things more poignant and better in my opinion. so definite kuddos for that.
Ending spot was perfect. Just the right amount of despair as evil takes the upper hand! Bwahahahahahaha
Like I said before, there were some truly great sections to the film. Others, not so much. Worth watching, just not quite where it should have been...
Rating: 4 out of 5
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Movie Review - Skyline
Staring: Eric Balfour, Scottie Thompson, David Zayas, Donald Faison, Brittany Daniel, Crystal Reed, and more.
Premise: While in LA to celebrate the birthday of a friend, Jarrod and Elaine become witnesses to an alien invasion.
Review: The special effects and imagery for this film were awesome. It had many stunning visual moments. As the principals, Eric Balfour (SyFy's Haven) and Scottie Thompson (Dinozzo's one true love in NCIS) did a great job as did the rest of the cast. On the most part, their reactions were believable for the amazing circumstances they find themselves in.
Where the movie had issues was with the story and presentation of events. First they fell to the cliched 'Let's give the audience a taste then slam them back hours/days before the event'. recently it seems movie and TV peeps don't think the audience has the patience for a story to get started at the beginning. 'Walking Dead' premiered a few weeks ago using the same gimmick. Personally, I think it's a crutch and overused. But that's just me.
The aliens and their odd tech was fascinating. Loved that they sneaked in to take a sampling of humans to test them and see if their nervous systems and brains would work for what they had in mind. The characters have no science backgrounds, so the audience is left to its own devices to figure out why things seem to work as they do. All the hints are visual cues. And for the most part worked great.
The physical changes to humans when they saw the light was also great. Good visual cues too for when Jarrod grew a slight resistance to it. The whole concept of the light worked beautifully for me.
Where they truly seemed to lose it was at the end of the film. Either they should have stopped at the spot it originally seemed to - we can live with the bad guys totally winning every once in a while, right? Or they should have tacked on another ten minutes to the five minutes they added to what felt like the ending spot. (I actually liked where the extra five minutes took us - giving us hope and inside the ship- but they didn't take it far enough.) As it was, the extra minutes made the end awkward. Worse, they did just a little more with figurines during the credits and if you weren't looking at it, you'd miss it. Made it feel like they'd run out of budget or something and just tacked on what they could. Did not do themselves any favors here.
Rating: Acting/Special Effects 4 out of 5. Script/implementation 3 out of 5. As hubby likes to say, probably better on cable. :(
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Movie Review - Megamind
Staring: Will Ferrel, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, David Cross, Brad Pitt.
Premise: Megamind, who's grown up since he was a baby believing his destiny is to be an arch nemesis, finds himself at a loss when he finally defeats his enemy, Metro Man. So he sets out to create himself a hero to fight with so his life will have meaning again.
Review: First off, I wish they'd curtailed some of the commercials. They gave away one GIANT plot point which I wish they hadn't. Grrrr. In their attempt to get our attention they kinda blew the deal. I won't tell you what it was in case you haven't seen the particular bit.
Overall it was a very cute film. Megamind is both lovable, pitiable, and a total HAM. There are a ton of Superman in-jokes in this thing. Poking fun at Marlon Brando as Jorel totally cracked me up!
The animation was gorgeous. And some fun 3D treats. Loved Megamind's minions. Too fun! Comparing it to Despicable Me it wasn't as good, but still very entertaining. The music chosen totally ROCKED. Awesome showmanship in a lifestyle that demands flare and presentation. Heh.
Lots of action and movement to keep the kids fascinated. And lots of fun bits for the adults as well.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Sunday, October 24, 2010
TV Shows This Season - The FLAT syndrome
This year though, something weird happened. A lot of the new shows we started watching though filled with good sounding premises and loads of actors and actresses I love just came across totally FLAT!
It really surprised me. Mostly we figured it was just a problem with the first episode or something so we watched more. Still the same! Just can't put my finger on it. This week we took several shows off the DVR record list as hubby had had enough. (He has a lower tolerance than I do!)
Here are the ones we tried and have let go and the ones we're keeping - in no certain order.
Undercovers: Love JJ Abrams. Love love Gerald McRaney in this (he does snark so well!). The premise sounded good. Ex-CIA agents now married getting called back into the fold. Has an undercurrent of 'not all is as it seems' running through it. Boris Kodjoe and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (love her hair in the recent Mentalist!!!!) have good chemistry. The ex partner in the CIA to the two of them, Leo, played by Carter McIntyre is a hoot! The locations are fab. Love that they actually have people who really speak these foreign languages with correct accents. Yet...yet... Something just doesn't quit jell. Can't put my finger on it. Maybe they're trying too hard to be serious and light at the same time.
Also doesn't help that occasionally liberties are taken with reality/plot just to make things fit. Those are always a big turn off. (Can't help it! Inner editor will not be denied!) It is gone from the DVR list... :(
No Ordinary Family: Again a show with people I've enjoyed before. Julie Benz! (Angel, Dexter) Michael Chikliz! Stephen Collins! (Star Trek!) Several story lines and problems. Peeps with powers! Big conspiracy. Moral choices to be made. Have loved specific segments and the lawyer turned sidekick with the lair is a lot of fun. Yet again when it all is combined it comes out so FLAT. Took this one off the list as well. :(
Lonestar: This one only got one episode. The premise as shown was just too depressing - lifelong conman pushed to get deeper by his father, who is in love with both of his wives and thinks he can juggle the mess that is coming. No one was going to win here. Getting vested in anyone was too dangerous! We ran away. Off the list is went. (And hubby had been so excited about this one!)
The Event: LOST wanna be. The whole 'aliens' thing is interesting. And they've definitely done a couple of very surprising twists so far. Been great to see Jason Ritter (Joan of Arcadia) again and Scott Patterson (Gilmore Girls) and many others. The show takes flashbacks a bit too far though. Frequency has been insane. Though it's mellowed out in the last episode or two. Still has my interest but it is losing hubby fast. I am fearing the old 'let's change this character from who they normally are for this one episode so we can make the plot fit' syndrome. I think they've coming dangerously close to that cop out once or twice, and that's always a MAJOR turn off for me. Still in DVR for now...
The Defenders: Had to see this just because of who's in it! Had to see them interact - Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell (Sliders). And what a blast they are! Defense lawyers with quirky lives and walking the line between respectable and shameless with gooey good hearts in the center. Plus it's set in Vegas! Sin City! This one has been delivering. Interesting cases too. A keeper!
Boardwalk Empire: Strong series for mature audiences only. Deals with a fascinating period of time - prohibition. Mainly follows the travails of Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, the corrupt treasurer for Atlantic City, as well as that of several people around him. The best part is all the info and small touches about that period of time. Clothes, slang, attitudes. Totally fascinating. And they throw in some historical figures and their possible origins as lovely carrots too, like Al Capone. Keeping this one too.
$#*! My Dad Says: William Shatner! He was so much fun in Boston Legal we had to check this one out. Unfortunately it is on super crowded Thursday so we've only been able to catch a couple of episodes when something else has not played for a holiday hiatus. It's pretty cute. Jonathan Sadowski, Nicole Sullivan, and Will Sasso are also a lot of fun. Will be watching this one when the DVR allows. :)
Nikita: Dollhouse meets Alias. Nothing flat about this series. Started out with a bang and hasn't much slowed down. This is the one we've been most pumped about out of everything new this season. Maggie Q as Nikita is both angsty and super bad! Shane West and Lyndsy Fonseca and all the other actors and actresses have loads of presence and complex characters. Multiple layers and lots of intrigue. Definite keeper for us!
Hm, I think that might about be it for new stuff we caught for the fall. What shows have you liked and will be keeping and which ones will you not? Let's compare!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Halloween Kindle Giveaway!
Linda Hilburn has gathered a bunch of authors together, including yours truly, to create a Halloween Contest!
Grand Prize is a new Kindle e-book reader!
All you have to do is visit Paranormality's Blog, visit the participating authors' websites (like mine!) and answer a couple of questions. Then submit your answers to the email address listed on the blog.
Hopefully you will run across some awesome new authors and books on the way!
Unveiling the Fantastic
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Movie Review - RED
Starring: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Ernest Borgnine, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, Richard Dreyfuss and more.
Premise: Frank Momses, a retired CIA operative trying to adjust to civilian life suddenly finds himself a target for termination. Having been cultivating the closest thing to a normal relationship he can manage with a customer service agent for his monthly retirement checks, he realizes that now those after him will make her a target as well. SO he must try to keep her safe even as he attempts to find out what is going on and why.
Review: The movie is based on a DC graphic novel, but I've not read this one, so can't make a comparison. But if it's anything like the movie, it should be fun!
The movie highlights one of my husband's oldest and most endeared sayings - "Don't mess with old people." Retired he might be, but Frank Moses, hasn't lost his touch. Superior gun battles and hand to hand fight scenes. A couple of places of incredible overkill, but then these people don't underestimate who they're going against, at least not if they want to live.
All the characters are a total hoot especially since several don't fit the molds you'd usually expect. Bruce Willis was great as 'the super efficient agent, yet totally clueless boy falling in love, who can't quite fit back into normal society' man. Mary-Louise Parker was hilarious first as the super spooked girl then blooming adrenaline junkie. Karl Urban was superb as Bruce Willis' foil and modern agent man. (The fight scene with him and Frank in Cooper's office was awesome! Even keot the wounds throughout.) All of Frank Moses' old buddies were a blast and quircky set of characters as well.
Lots of wit, lots of action, loved the post cards used for scene changes. You have to keep an eye on them as some of them move and do things. Beautifully choreographed violence. Several subplots going on as well enriching the entire thing. And to be honest, even better was just seeing several of these actors on screen again!
The Pink Pig: Never leave home without it! Heh heh. The movie was just a lot of fun!
Rating: 4 out of 5 easy!
Friday, October 08, 2010
Friday Flash - Old People
“What’s there to know?” Ice turned to glare at him, his light blue eyes seeming to glow with the reflected illumination of the park lights.
Rick hunched down a little, putting more of the tree they were hiding by between them. “Still… Old people?”
“Easy pickings, fool.” Ice’s stare turned cold. “You want a hit and that takes money. You got none. So you’ve got to help entertain me if you want your fix.”
Rick looked away, only too aware of the type of things Ice considered entertainment. Assaulting old people though, that’d be a new low, even for him. It was one thing to let Ice pick on him in exchange for what he needed, but this… His ran his tongue over dry lips; hands shaking at his sides, bottomless need trilling through him. “But they’re old, Ice. They’re not hurting anyone.”
His companion snorted. “That’s half the fun right there, idiot. You want the smack or not? I got others needing what I got as much or more than you. And they can pay.”
Rick swayed where he stood, the gnawing craving causing panic to shoot up his throat at the thought of not getting what he needed. He’d hate himself later but right now the person he had to take care of was himself. “No, no, man, I’m in.”
“That’s more like it.” Ice’s smile was predatory. “Now come on. Those two old farts will never know what hit them.” He hefted the bat at his side.
They stuck to the shadows as they made their way around the park toward the concrete game tables in the center. Several of the lights had been busted out by vandals or burned out and never replaced by the city, but the two old men had brought their own with them.
Rick and Ice separated.
Though it was close to summer, both old men were bent over the table wearing heavy coats, caps, and mufflers. They both had on round John Lennon glasses with dark lenses. Really dark lenses. They stared at the board for minutes at a time and then a slow, shuddering hand would clamber up and move one of the pieces.
Taking a deep breath to fortify his courage, Rick stepped out from the bushes and walked their way. “It’s really late, isn’t it?”
Both men turned ever so slowly in his direction as if having to calculate every movement. “Look, we have company, Mr. C.”
“I see that, Mr. L.”
Rick hesitated, the voices sending creepy shivers up his arms. It was like hearing old papers rustling out words. The faces turned toward him were wrinkled and dry, as old as dirt.
One of them made a beckoning gesture. “Come on closer, boy.”
Something inside Rick screamed at the suggestion. Only his ever increasing need was able to clamp over the urge to run and allowed him to walk a little nearer. “You, you shouldn’t be out here, you know? It’s not safe.”
“Why aren’t you the sweetest thing? Worried about us like that.” The smile that cracked over the face of Mr. L seemed to be laughing at him. Rick really didn’t want to be here anymore.
Keep them distracted, fool. No smack for you if you don’t.
Ice’s parting words slapped him again. His whole body shook. He’d been without for so long. He would die. He knew he would die if he didn’t get more. So he stood his ground. “Can you spare some change?”
He spotted Ice leaving his place of concealment the bat up and ready. Ice rushed forward, aiming for the head of the closest of the two men.
Rick opened his mouth to shout out a warning despite what might later happen to him -- in that one moment forgetting about the hunger inside him. Before he could say anything though, the bat was already moving toward Mr. L’s head.
Without turning around, the old man lifted his arm and caught the wood in his palm with a loud whack. The force of the blow half unsettled the old man’s glasses exposing his eyes. They were green orbs with an up and down black line. It took Rick a second before his brain started shouting the fact they weren’t human.
“I don’t know how you did that, old codger, but it’s not gonna cut it!” Ice pulled out a switchblade and stabbed at Mr. L while still holding on to the bat. In a blink, Mr. L was no longer sitting, but standing, easily avoiding the blade.
Off balance, Ice let go of the bat to take another swing with the knife. Rick tried to warn Ice this time as the end of the bat moved in a blur to poke him hard in the stomach. Before Ice could fall gagging to the concrete, Mr. C was up and grabbing him by the collar. With a flick of a wrist, Ice’s body flew up and thumped with a bone breaking crunch onto the chess table.
Ice screamed and blood gurgled from his mouth. Mr. L tossed the bat aside to the grass then reached inside Ice’s jacket. Mr. C smiled and small tentacles played with his teeth as they reached out, as if tasting the air.
“Young man, do you want this?” Mr. L held up a packet of white powder.
Rick shook his head so hard it looked like it might come off. His eyes were wide, soundless screams issuing from his mouth, a dark stain growing on his pants.
“Off you go then.”
He was gone before Mr. C finished speaking.
The two men leaned over Ice as life left him. “You should know better than to mess with old people, boy.” The tentacles from their mouths reached down to lap the blood on his face. “You won’t ever do it again.”
Sunday, September 26, 2010
New Family Members!
Anyway, I blogged earlier in the year about the loss of Keiko. I didn't blog about another loss only a few months later of our other cat Claudia. (She died while we were at A-kon.) Claudia was at least 13 years old or more. She was one sweet, loving, shy, tough old broad.
So, with my daughter insisting, and only poor Mr Boots left, we decided to get a kitten to replenish the feline population. (I must have Feline Masters. I must keep my arm muscles in shape with petting and serving them! The addiction must be fed!)
As always happens, we end up with more than intended. Son-in-law had a friend/sister who's cat was having kittens. John was determined we would only get females. (Mr Boots gets too rough when he plays with boys but can be easily cowed by girls. Don't ask...) So pictures and questions went back and forth (the family lives 2 hours away). Much ooing and aahing ensued over all the cuteness. So began the whines that we could not only pick one, it was too hard. We had to at least pick two.
Here's Mr Boots in a Centerfold photo.
So say hello to Subaki and Mithril! The latest feline additions to our Feline driven family.
Mithril is the gray and white kitten. Subaki the black and white. Mithril has longish hair, Subaki short. The white patterns are almost identical. Definite sisters. They also have very different personalities even as many traits are the same.
Mithril loves to be loved. Occasionally she will drape herself over my neck like a vibrating collar. She even enjoys being picked up. Unless she's playing, then we don't exist. She also loves the soft food we give as a treat in the morning and before bedtime. So much so she paws at my legs when I am working on doling it out and gobbles hers down as fast as kitty possible so she can then steal the rest of Mr Boot's.
Subaki, on the other hand, is a major touch me not. She's got to many things to do and no time to do them and you better not get in her way! However, there are occasions when she will feel magnanimous and allow love to be lavished upon her. But not too much. It cracks me up how she will hunt me down to lay on me when I'm watching TV yet make sure to lay down by my feet so I can't reach her to pet.
Subaki and Mithril play and explore together. For the longest time Mr Boots fled from them and they ignored him as if he didn't exist. Now they acknowledge each other and even play together a little. They even sleep together! Yet there are a couple of places Mr Boots does not enjoy or want their company. Like my bed at night. I am all HIS. (He pretty much claimed me when Keiko was no longer there to force her will upon him.) First time I ever heard him growl was when one of them came on the bed while he was there. Wow! (Mr Boots is a giant brick but a totally laid back dude. Normally...)
So please join me in welcoming my new master to their home! Huzzah!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Tostones - Puerto Rico's French Fries
I was born in Puerto Rico, a small island, 100 miles by 50 miles, out in the Caribbean Sea. And while PR is a property of the US and we have many of the same fast food restaurants you find there, we also have unique foods all our own.
A lot of these unique foods come from vegetables and fruits not normally found in the continental US. One of these unique vegetables/fruits is the plantain. Though plantains look somewhat like the bananas you might be used to, unlike the yellow variety you see at the grocery store , you can't eat plantains raw. They must be cooked, even when they're ripe . (If you don't, you'll get a heck of stomach ache!)
Depending on how mature the plantain is will depends on what you can make with it. Also the more mature it is, the sweeter the dish will be.
A normal plantain is about two to three times the size of a yellow banana. They're also kind of hard, unless they're ripe.
To make Puerto Rico's version of French Fries - tostones - you want the plantains to be green (unripe). Peeling the plantain's outer layer, you'd then slice the fruit of the plantain into thick chunks. (Think of peeling a banana and cutting it up to put into your cereal. Except the banana is much bigger, the slices thicker, and the peel harder to pull of.)
Each of the chunks will get dipped in salt water for a second (to help them not stick) and then get placed in a frying pan with a half inch of oil or so. They'll be cooked until they start to turn golden then be pulled out and redipped in the salt water.
That's when they'll get crushed pretty flat by a tostonera, then get fried it some more.
When the tostones are golden brown, they get pulled out and set aside to cool for a minute on a paper toweled platter (so the excess grease can be absorbed). At my house, we NEVER wait. When Mom makes them at family gatherings we're all dashing into the kitchen off and on when she's not looking to snatch one, sometimes even burning our fingers.
Do they look awesome or what?
Just like fresh made fries, they smell wonderful when freshly made! Tostoner are usually served as a side dish, just like French Fries.
A lot of people like to dip them in mojo/mojito, which is a garlic/tomato sauce. But that's too bitter for me. I use straight ketchup instead! Just like with my fries.
My mouth is watering just thinking about them! YUM!
I hope someday you too can get a chance to taste some. (And don't even get me started on Amarillitos Fritos (sideways sliced fried plaintain when they ARE ripe. Taste so sweet! Super YUM!)(Salivating even more now). Mmmmmm...
Unveiling the Fantastic
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Movie Review - Resident Evil: Afterlife
Staring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts, Sergio Meris-Mencheta, Spencer Locke, and more...
Premise: Picking up mostly from the last film, Alice and her clones invade the Japan offices of the Umbrella Corporation. After an impressive battle and show down with Mercer, Alice goes looking for Arcadia and the friends who went before her seeking this last place of hope and survivial. Yet all is not as it should be.
Review: I have watched all the movies in the Resident Evil saga because of my husband. I entirely liked the first of them more than I expected. But, though the budget of each subsequent film seems to sky rocket each time, the writing, on the other hand always takes a steep dive. And this fourth film is no exception.
The first ten to fifteen minutes of the film, the attack on Umbrella's Japanese HQ is, however, totally worth it! I'd thought they'd written themselves into a corner in Resident Evil: Extinction and would never do another film because there were so many copies of Alice around it would be a filming nightmare. Yet they did it. For a bit. And it was GREAT! Better yet, in the beginning title sequence you get to see what looks to be the T-virus patient Zero. Which you see again four years later before she's killed. And the destruction of the facility by Mercer was a wonder to behold. Something akin to the destruction of Neo Tokyo in the Japanese anime Akira, but made live. Wonderful!
After that though, things degrade. The HQ destruction was a cheap way to get rid of ALL the Alice clones so they then didn't have to deal with them. As if Alice or her other selves would be stupid enough to put all of themselves into the one location, especially knowing how those places operate. Worse, for the plot they decide to take away Alice's powers she's derived from the T-virus yet she seemed to pretty much still have them through most of the movie anyway. (She would have been dead several times otherwise. If tiles break, bones break!) *sigh*
Visually the movie is stunning. The Tokyo segment, the awesome switch between pre T-virus and current time, LA's burning state and the sea of zombies around the prison. Slow motion action moves. The film is filled with great stunts. The stark white interior of the transport ship. The music also totally rocked. If you ignore the thin plot and implausible situations and cliched bits, it's worth it for the rest.
There is one giant zombie dude with the biggest hammer ever (which reminded me of one of the baddies in the game Plants vs Zombies) that was never explained and made absolutely no sense aside from something bad for them to fight. Oh and the zombies suddenly get stealth skills. An oxymoron if I ever heard one. However, the concept of them slowly regaining intelligence is not.
Weirder still was the fact that though they hunger and gather around the last seemingly alive humans in LA, the zombies never fall to cannibalism on their own kind or actually seem affected by the fact they haven't been able to feed for sometime.
Also beware there's a cliffhanger ending. And sit through part of the credits as there's a bit more to be shown. (I had a feeling the woman there should mean something to me but it's been too long since I've seen the other films.) :(
Mr. Paul W S Anderson is a great director in this film, but should not have written the movie. The love does shine through though.
Rating: Visuals 4.5 out of 5, Storywise 2.5 out of 5
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Top 6 Reasons I love my iPhone (Went up!)
6. Notes - Awesome feature! Allows me to jot down things impromptu and actually have a chance of finding the info again when I need it.
5. Weather Channel App - Now I can be preprepared about how bloody hot it is going to be in Texas each day and make sure I am exposed to it as little as possible so my blood doesn't boil out of my body!
4. Evernote App - YES! Finally a list of all my CD's at hand so hubby doesn't keep buying the same ones over and over again! Heh heh
3. Bank of America App - Even mired to a hospital bed, I was able to pay bills and keep our finances moving. Totally awesome!
2. Texting! (I am so a convert now!) This was incredibly useful to keep the gaggle of family informed on my latest complications at the hospital without having to call each one individually. Huzzah! Love even more that you can send these texts to phones and email addresses. Oh yeah. Got my Mom sold on it. She got text added to her phone. Bwahahahaha!
1. It's a Phone! Yes, so very very useful at the hospital. Since I had tons of tubes and wires plugged into me, going to the girl's room was a major production. But John would be so tired that calling out to him didn't always wake him up to come help me out. So I'd call him on the phone. Worked like a champ. The best 5 feet service ever! Heh heh.
P.S. Yes, yes, I am somewhat behind on the tech curve, but only because I know how addicted I will become. Once you make certain upgrades, you can never go back. :P
P.S.S. Yeah, I added another one. As usual, when I do a list, I think of things I should have included after the fact! Doh!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
TV Series Review - Phineas & Ferb
Phineas and Ferb
Staring: Vincent Martella, Thomas Sangster, Ashley Tisdale, Dan Povenmire, Jeff 'Swampy' Marsh, Dee Bradley Baker, Caroline Rhea, Alyson Stoner, Mitchell Musso, Maulik Pancholy, and more!
Premise: It's summer and Phineas and Ferb are trying to make the most of it and entertain themselves and their friends, while their older sister Candace is involved in teenage angst, pursuing her one true love, and also trying to bust her brothers and getting her parents to see that they're always up to incredible antics. Beneath all this are the adventures of their pet, Perry the Platipus (or Agent P), who is working with a secret organization to protect the Tri State Area from the evil machinations of Dr. Doofenschmirtz! Let the fun begin!
Review: Back when Disney first advertised this show it didn't grab me. Bad marketing perhaps? For this show is just too much fun to be missed! And it must be watched more than once before you see the evil genius behind it. Kid shows can be formulaic and these guys grabbed that fact and took it to the far edges of the universe then ran wild with it! Its very formulaic format is its greatest charm and you learn to anticipate certain bits and have even more fun when the creators then turn them upside down. It's also a multi layered show with two to three plots running and always somehow intersecting. Let me try to explain...
Everyday Phineas and Ferb come up with something to do that day (building rockets, running a rodeo, helping a friend with a science project). Each day their older sister Candace finds out about what they're working on and tries to get their Mom to come see it so they can be "busted". Perry, the pet platypus, has a secret identity. As Agent P, he daily gets a call from his superior Major Monogram and sent after Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz to stop whatever evil plot the doctor is concocting that day. And somehow, by the end of the episode, Doofenschmirtz is thwarted and all evidence of what the brothers were up to disappears before Candace can get a parental unit to see it. (Mind you, Phineas and Ferb are aware of how their efforts seem to just disappear once they're done, but they don't worry about it as it keeps them from having to do cleanup. (Don't look a gift horse in the mouth!) Heh heh).
The creators bust buns. Imagine having to be fresh with the same formula time after time? But they are. Better yet, they are SF fans too. So all sorts of SF/Fantasy bits from movies and shows will make appearances. Fantastic Journey, Star Wars, Lords of the Ring, The Time Machine, Godzilla, and more. (Being a big geek of the genres this is AWESOME as far as I am concerned!)
The music is fantastic on this show as well. Kids get exposed to a huge variation of music genres in the show: Disco, Country, Musicals, Jazz, Rap, Jamaican, Blues, JPop, Indian, Alternative, and more. It's a great way to expose kids to the different music styles so they don't get in a rut. The lyrics on these songs are a hoot too! My favorites are Agent P's theme (including the one that goes 'Perry, Perry the Teenage Girl' - you have to see the episode to understand. Heh heh. Body Swap) and "BUSTED" followed closely by "There's a Squirrel in My Pants" (Don't ask! Must be seen to be believed! lol).
Even better, several of the characters have theme music. Candace's is a variation on the Wicked Witch theme from Wizard of Oz. Perry's (Agent P's) is very reminiscent of 60's Spy themes (think Secret Agent Man) (and one bit they do which is totally awesome is every once in a while when Agent P is slowed by a ray or is shown old or who knows what, the theme slows or speeds up to keep pace with that reality (love it!)). Phineas and Ferb have a 'we're building' theme. And Dr. Doofenshmirtz has a very preppy, upbeat theme (almost bubbly!) which will change with his location. Normally it is "Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated" for his main building, but the vocals will change if he's in a dirigible, suburban home, warehouse, underwater hideout, etc. Too cute!
Oh, and the end credits must always be watched! They will either expand on a song, recap it, have a new song (Perry the Teenage Girl!), or actually have added scenes/story for the episode.
Everything about this show screams 'labor of love'. Which just makes me love it all the more.
Phrases or recurring items to look for in each episode:
"What are we going to do today?"
"Where's Perry?" (Near beginning)
"There you are Perry." (Towards the end)
"Whatcha doing?" (Isabela can get very testy if anyone but her gets to say this! Heh)
"Curse you, Perry the Platypus!"
"-inator" (All of Dr D's inventions have 'inator' in the name. Everything sounds more evil with 'inator' as part of the name, right? Hubby wants a N8TR license plate like the Evil Invention Prize Belt.
"Take over/destroy/change the whole of the Tri-State Area!" Doofenshmirtz is very local in his thinking regarding his evil plots. :P
Floating Baby Head (No, I have NO idea what that's about. But it keeps showing up!)
Talking Zebra who calls Candace Kevin when she thinks she's dreaming.
Wife complaining to Husband about a failed venture or not doing something, then plop, invention of the day solves his issue and makes her look stupid. heh.
And yes! They have a soundtrack out! And it is the BOMB! (I want more! I want the themes for the others! (They do give us Agent P! Yes!) Come on Disney, give me!) Heh.
If you love fun, if you love summer, songs, wit, invention, adventure, you will love this show! (I'm hoping they will one day tell us Ferb's full first name (I am voting for Ferbisher - very British and what not.):P
Rating: 5 out of 5!
Sunday, August 01, 2010
July Adventures from HELL! (And spilling into August!)
D Vitamin deficiency, diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, high blood pressure, issues with Iron levels in my blood. The last was starting to make my regular doctor sweat as all my reserves were showing as being depleted. The OB/GYN said I had fibroids but they'd not grown enough to be considered a real issue but said it could be one of the reasons for the iron problem. I'd also learned in the last year that endometriosis, which I'd been diagnosed with 25 years ago and normally stays only in the uterus, could be spreading outside around the ovaries, intestines, and other places.
So after much research and dragging hubby with me to talk to my OB/GYN, we decided I would have a minimally invasive procedure called a LAVH (Lapp Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy). I also signed paperwork to allow her to remove the ovaries if, like I suspected, the endo was all over the place. (Ovary hormones feed it, for all intents and purposes, it's the reason why 25 years before the doc I had back then recommended pregnancy as a disruptive option.)
The doc works out of a fabulous, partially physician owned hospital called Baylor Medical Center at Frisco. (Food is FAB there! Though I didn't get to have much of it. Hubby did though!) So I went there expecting an overnight stay and then a couple of weeks recovery. Way better than the six weeks for a standard hysterectomy.
Hubby says I looked deadly pale after the first surgery. The doc had taken some pictures and shown the amount of nasty endo covering a lot of my stuff. So they ended up having to open me up across the abdomen to do the hysterectomy, take the ovaries, and clean out the endo scarring as much as possible. (Finally saw the pics this past week. It was a mess in there!)
By the second day I was looking tons better. All the nursing staff were great. First day I kept falling asleep, but I was pretty coherent and understood everything. John eagerly got me out of there once I was released and went straight to 7-11 for a Cola Slurpee as my reward.
After a couple of days home though, I started feeling a lot of pressure when I ate. Had a bad night and had to sleep propped up to get through it as I had a lot of acid. That Friday I was totally miserable. That Friday night I could not sleep and vomited a couple of times. After much discussion, John called the doc. When her partner called back she told John to take me to emergency.
We went back to Baylor Frisco since it was both close plus they had my info. They took me right in and actually used my info already in the system to cut past a lot of paperwork crap (we'd had a bad experience with hubby and his kidney stone when we had to go back to the first ER we'd gone to before in Carrollton. I was so mad when we had to refill all the paperwork AND they didn't keep records of prescribed meds when he'd only been there two days before! Sheesh!) Did not have that problem at Baylor Frisco.
A ton of kudos to Roma, the CT scan lady. She was totally sweet. And knowing I was having a lot of problems keeping things down, was way gentle with me after I had to drink the goop for the CT scan. I was just happy I was able to hold it in long enough to get scanned. The ER peeps gave me my second IV slot in a week (super nice peeps!). They were quickly running out of places to poke me for blood or IV's as many had been used just days before. Worse, my veins are never happy and give all a hard time. Oi!
CT scan showed I had a blockage in my intestines and a possible bowel valve problem. I was put on liquids, antibiotics, and meds then actually admitted to the hospital. (First time I was in 201. Second in 203. And got moved to 1st floor on the weekend when the wing was closed.) Freaked out Nurse Debrina as she'd been the nurse who'd wheeled me to the curve but a few days before. I further freaked Suja, one of the night nurses I'd had before, when she came on shift and I remembered her name. Kristie, Onsan, and Meiling were all awesome as well.
Because I was clogged and my stomach would process nothing and send it back up, they wanted to pump stuff out. This was the WORST part of the whole ordeal. I was awake as they inserted a tube up my nose and down my throat then turned a pump to slowly pull out the acid muck in my stomach. Awful awful awful! Had that sucker on for three days or more. The junk coming out looked super nasty. And it always felt like I had something scrapping the back of my throat. Do not recommend it if at all possible. Was really wishing they had the Batman knockout spray so I could have been unconscious for this! First catheter I was under anesthesia, the second one I was awake. No picnic there either, but way better than the tube! Bleah!!!!
When they wheeled me off for a 2nd CT scan, I made a comment when Roma put the needle into the IV slot that it hurt. I'm ever so glad I said something. It was hurting without her yet pushing the plunger for the iodine. (For CT scans you drink some nasty junk then you get injected with iodine so it shows a contrast.) She looked at my IV and realized the vein had taken too much punishment from the first iodine round. She had to go find people to find other places to poke me. Unfortunately, despite a couple of very painful attempts, they could not get the veins to cooperate. So I got sent back to the room so they could request that I get a PICC put in.
For a PICC, it's like having micro surgery. Kyle dressed up in scrubs, put a tarp over most of me, and super disinfected and anesthetized an area on my upper arm. A PICC is basically a semi-permanent IV port. They actually cut into you and put a small tube from there to your heart. (Had to have an X-Ray right after to make sure it was in the right place and far enough.) With this in place they could do the IV, take out blood, give me meds, and do the iodine without having to poke me again. (Came with several little insertion tubes for different things.)
Now that I could get injected with iodine, they did a second CT scan. The blockage was getting better but the bowel valve looked worse. My doc consulted with a GI doc and they eventually decided to go back inside. Yes, they reopened the same abdominal incision again and manhandled my innards. Weirdly enough, they didn't find anything wrong. So they put me back together again.
I was on the IV diet for several days. John, who was wonderful through all this, helped me get up and do the walking up and down the hall three times a day. Was real thankful for the catheter then because I only had to get up to walk and not for a zillion trips to the bathroom. Pain meds are your friend! (I was actually sorry to see the catheter go. Getting in and out of bed to use the pot was no picnic. I had machines and wires connected to me all over the place and they all had to be disconnected for me to go! Gack!)
So, after a full week there again, I got released. Doc first told me I could go back to work in probably two weeks maybe more. (My boss and hubby's boss have been so understanding! Cause this just went so totally FUBAR on me.) Once home, I found myself unable to eat as much as before and also started having a few other problems. Most we found were due to the hydrocodone. The good pain pills are made with narcotics. Narcotics tend to have a side effect of giving the user constipation. So I was clogging up again. (I'd not taken all the meds as regularly at the hospital as I tried to do at home, so the problem did not show there. DOH!) So we switched tactics and did hydrocodone at night and Tylennol during the day and my body seemed to reach a balance. (The Tylennol though is nowhere near as good a pain pill! Waahhh)
Things are finally looking good. I'm getting better. Moving around, swelling getting less, got the doc convinced to let me call her on 8/5 to see if I could go back part time at least to work. Then I hit 8/2: Clear seepage coming from the abdominal cut area. Use hydro peroxide, it seems to get better. Two days later the seepage is blood. Call the doc. Get to go see the RN Nurse at the doc's office. She takes one look and immediately goes to get the doc. I've got some kind of infection doing its thing on the top skin. Back on more antibiotics. Blood pressure is sky rocketing too. Got a nickname at the doctor's office during this visit from the doc - Trouble. Nurse actually used it! Definitely not looking like I will be going back to work next week. :(
There have been a few good things. I had my iPhone with me and I used it to death. Awesome way to let the family and friends know how I was doing while I was at the hospital. (Phone calls were a pain as both arms hurt and certain positions were death.) I was so very very happy I'd gone out and gotten the thing. One of these days I will finish reading the manual and use it better. Another good thing was getting to watch NCIS. Had seen commercials, once even watched and episode and had liked it. Mark Harmon was a heart throb of mine from way back. Also recognized one of the other principals from Dark Angel. So with USA's day runs, I've seen many now. The last good bit was discovering Disney's Phineas and Ferb (will do a post on them later). Hubby and I are totally addicted. Way fun.
Hoping things are looking good when I go in tomorrow! No more bad news please!!!! Doc keeps saying once I'm past all this I will be dancing on the street with no more periods. We shall see! Bwahahahahahaha!
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Movie Review - Knight and Day
Starring: Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Peter Sarsgard, Jordi Molla, Viola Davis, Paul Dano
Premise: Trying to catch a flight back to Boston, June Davis literally crashes into a man. Thinking it pure happenstance and totally innocent, after some conversation and sharing of dreams, she decides to make a move. Only, once she's made it, she begins to realize nothing is what she thought as Roy Miller hands her a drink then sets to explain why their plane is no longer being flown by the pilots. And so begins a madcap adventure the likes of which she'd never dreamed.
Review: This movie looked like a lot of fun in the previews, and despite what some critics have been saying about it, it definitely was! IMHO anyway.
Some amazing stunts with integrated CGI. Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz make their moves so smooth and flawless, it made it hard to believe all of it was NOT real. I can almost bet money they worked these two and worked them hard. Ah, but is it worth it.
The film has a dichotomy which was a blast and just made it that much funnier when the tables are turned. Yes, the story is about June, but it also becomes a story about Roy, and the man behind the agent.
There are scenes that are passed by when June is drugged unconscious, as the first part is all from her POV, but it just made some of the scenes funnier because of it, rather than leaving you feeling cheated. There's a bigger payoff to this too because of how they did it and what they do later. (Can't get too specific or I will give some treats away.)
Old gags, new gags, action action action. Just a total tasty treat. Some totally gorgeous places and vistas too. If you want some fun, a sprinkle of romance, conspiracies, greed, and the peeling onions that show who people really are, this movie is for you!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Movie Review - Karate Kid
Starring: Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, Taraji P Henson, Zhenwei Wang
Premise: Dre Parker is dragged off to China when his mom gets transferred. When he shows interest in a girl there, he becomes the target of a bully and his passe. Getting beat up and embarrassed several times in public, Dre tries to get revenge on his own rather than go to anyone for help. While successful, this ploy still backfires, and as the bully takes things too far he is saved by Mr Han. Yet in trying to get the bullies to quit by visiting their kung fu teacher, Dre instead finds himself being signed up for a Kung Fu tournament.
Review: When doing some quick research to prep this review, I came across something so basic that I missed it made me have a "I could have had a V8" moment. The original Karate Kid and this new remake neither have to do with the actual art of Karate. Both use disciplines from Kung Fu. Yet in all this time after all the hundreds of Kung Fu movies and other martial arts films I've watched, it never registered. Doh!
Anyway, lol, major kudos in the movie for Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan, and Zhenwei Wang and his passe. Truly lots of good acting was to be had here. Loved to see Jackie Chan pushed to ooze out his talent in more than just martial arts. He had a lot of very subtle touches for expressing the inner things he was dealing with way long before we found out what had wounded his spirit. But the subtlest thing he did was a total homage to Pat Morita and his role of Mr Miyagi in the original Karate Kid. And how did he do that? Watch the way he walks. It's not Jackie's usual way but that of Mr Miyagi's played by Pat Morita. For super fans, a very squeeable moment. lol.
For Zhenwei Wang, who plays Cheng, you can tell how good he is when you see him as himself during the credits. Night and Day folks! Cheng is full of hatred and it so radiated from this kid, it was eerie. Eek! Some great emotional bits from some of his friends too. Stuff that totally transcended the language barrier.
Jaden Smith also did a great job. You can see a lot of his father in this film. He's going places. Even better, I loved how you could see his body change as he progressed in the training. And not just from what was scripted.
The film itself is a little slow at the beginning, but nothing terrible. You do see China as it is, the old and the new. Not a spruced up version for a movie. So the realism was very nice and appreciated. Plus they take us several places which were fun to see like the Forbidden City (I wanted MORE!), the Wall of China, even a cool remote monastery. Some very visually stunning shots.
Because they took longer, they were also able to make this story version quite complex. The amount of sub stories were amazing to me. Yet if you weren't paying attention, they were also easy to miss. The film was quite deep. They handled things like being new to a foreign country, fighting fear, obsessions (many facets of this were explored), the influence of teachers on students and how it truly can shape their students, focusing on a goal, sometimes to the person's detriment, familial expectations and how they can crush our own desires. Also the nuances of what kung fu stands for and how it can be warped. Respect both earned and forced. People's capacity for self destruction. This sucker was chocked full of stuff.
The fights during the tournament and elsewhere were kick-ass. And of course it would not be a true kung fu movie without some Chinese mysticism thrown in, which we got a bit of through some ancient medicine practices and also the cool monastery. We even get some culture thrown in and one of China's more famous legends.
My biggest disappointment was they never tell us if Meiying made getting into the school or not! Argh! I wanna know! (You get a feeling she did from the judges faces, even as the disapproval glared from her teacher, but still. I wanted confirmation darn it!)
The movie won't slap you with awesomeness, but will still nicely satisfy. If you notice some of the hidden gems along the way, even more so.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Movie Review - Jonah Hex
Staring: Josh Brolin, John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender, Will Arnett, John Gallagher Jr, Tom Wopat, Michael Shannon, Wes Bentley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Premise: Jonah Hex chose doing right over friends and country and paid the price. His family killed before his eyes, he's left marked and tied up to live or die at nature's whim. Rescued by Indians when on the verge of death, Jonah returns to the world of the living not quite all back from the dead, revenge and violence all that's left to him. When the government hunts him down and tells him his nemesis is not dead and is after destroying the still blossoming reunited North and South, Jonah sets out after him with a vengeance.
Review: I got pretty excited when I heard this movie was coming. I'd read some of the DC comics for Jonah Hex years and years ago. The distinct disfigurement of Jonah's face was as memorable as Harvey Dent's in Batman. So I really liked that they worked real hard to keep that signature look, including the Confederate hat and coat as well. For even more fun, at the beginning, they switch to cartoon mode to cut back on the horror of the brand placed on his face and make surreal his close brush with death and the birth of the man he then became.
Jonah doesn't come back untouched from stepping into the other side. Supernatural elements now crop in as he is always dogged by crows and he's gained the ability to bring the dead back to life just enough to talk to them. Some really neat rules and scenes on the talking to the dead ensue. Was a lot of fun when he dug up his friend Jeb (Jeffrey Dean Morgan (uncredited role)) and the latter tries to fight him every time his body is brought back. Some very nice flip-flops between live and dead body in these scenes.
Great shootouts and fights. Even an element of James Bond and Wild Wild West as technology way past what was available at the time makes a showing. Johan even has his own Q. Malkovich makes a great bad guy and Megan Fox a sexy spitfire, who sees the man beneath the scars.
Some great effects, some cool mystic stuff, wonderful surreal scenes, standard old bad west doggie-dog set up. So nothing too surprising, yet all the support cast did an awesome job. So a neat cool romp with loads of action and some massive, and I mean massive destruction scenes!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Chuck Wendig flashfic Challenge - I Wanna Do Laser
“I wanna do laser. I WANNA do LASER!”
You’d think being a 22nd century babysitter would be an easy job. What with all the advances in technology, medicine, etc. Well you’d be wrong. In the old days they never had to deal with babies who’d had intelligence enhancing nanos applied in vitro. Or the fact you could train them to be war mongering little heathens to guide your missiles and other costly war making equipment faster than computers. But there you go.
Not that it hadn’t cropped up its own plethora of issues, and therefore a greater need for us. Who knew maturity, and not just intelligence, helped ingrain good behavior patterns and judgment? And tantrums? You’ve never truly experience one till you’ve seen one of these ‘special’ kids go at it, spewing higher mathematical logic as to why they should have one extra cookie or two despite orders to the contrary.
“Laser! Laser! LASER!”
I dodged right as a half empty bottle of formula followed the screamed demand. I don’t think my drill sergeant ever expected my combat training to come in handy in just quite this way.
The two year old rattled his US Army Issue Crib and opened his mouth to prepare to screech at the top of his lungs. The sound buffer fields on the rest of the ten cribs in Unit 38 wouldn’t be able to handle the strain. The little bastard had used his enhanced smarts to figure out the modulation frequency of the fields and knew just what pitches to use to get past it.
And I’d just gotten the rest of the little ‘darlings’ to go to sleep.
Last time Mortimer did this it took hours to calm the rest of them down, the little shit! Combat pay wasn’t worth that – ever! I grabbed a green stuffed toy and sprinted the few feet to his crib.
“Now, Morty, who’s a good boy? Who’s about to get a good boy present and be allowed to sleep with Mr. Tentacles?” I tried to smile, but I was pretty sure it came out more like a grimace. I’d rather been in a locked room with lit stick of dynamite than here.
The half drawn breath stuttered and sputtered out. “Misseh Tencles?” Mortimer’s eyes grew wide as he spotted the toy. You’d think since he could modulate his voice to override the sound buffer fields he could talk normally, but no. None of the military scientists had an explanation for this either. Personally, I believed they all did it on purpose. Worked great when trying to sway female personnel to their side, something about ingrained mothering instincts. It meant shit duty for the rest of us.
“Yeah, that’s right, Mr. Tentacles. Just for you. I know how you love, Mr. Tentacles.” This was the tenth one I’d had to requisition this month. The kids were tough on the buggers. Sweat gathered at my brow. Just a few more weeks and I’d be out of the rotation. I just had to survive till then and then I’d be out. I shook the green stuffed octopus trying to make him look more enticing.
Mortimer’s lower lip quivered. “No laser?”
Crap. “Now, Morty, you got to fry the insurgents yesterday. It was someone else’s turn today. There’ll still be plenty there to fry up when your shift comes again. You’re very well aware of the mandates on the child labor laws.”
His little face screwed up into a pout but he didn’t say anything. He knew I had him. I slipped the toy through the bars knowing better than to gloat. The little buggers liked to hold grudges. Private Dexter had found all his bank accounts frozen after blowing his top at one the little ‘dears’. No one ever figured out how they got away with it, and the rest of us just didn’t want to go there.
His small, brown, calculating eyes rested on me as he grabbed the toy and hugged it with his little chubby arms. Every survival instinct inside me screamed. He was up to something and I probably wasn’t going to like it.
“Wanna beard.” He said it real low, staring at me intently.
Total sore loser. “I gave you a toy, Morty. It’s going to have to be enough, okay?”
Damn the General and his Christmas party idea. The Old Man had put on a red suit and beard and freaked the kids. They’d thought him an insurgent. Facial hair was still frowned on by the brass, so they’d never seen anyone on our side with a beard before. Once we explained and they calmed down, they’d laughed and laughed until their little faces turned red. Especially after the startled General took it off to show them it was fake. I should have known it’d come back to haunt me. “You don’t need a fake beard. You really don’t.”
His face closed up tighter than a bunker. He wasn’t going to let this one go. Why the hell not though?
He opened his mouth and took in a deep lungful of air. Suddenly the fact he didn’t need it didn’t mean a thing to me anymore.
“Okay! Okay! You win. Just let me go see if I can find the blasted thing.” This was going to go on a report somewhere, I just knew it. Some jerk in security was laughing his ass off at my expense right now.
Luckily the party had only been a few days ago so the bins hadn’t yet been sent to permanent storage. I grabbed the thing and brought it back. “Happy now?”
Mortimer shoved the beard on his face and grinned at me through the white bristles. He jammed the octopus’ head through the beard as well so it hung from it. “My beard come so Fat!” The little guy grinned from ear to ear then yawned sleepily.
I might just get through this. I hoped.
(P.S. Wasn't gonna do the challenge. Busy. Behind. Thinking how the heck do I do a story on "I wanna do laser"? Walked to the girl's room and the cretive muscle flashed me a picture. So there I went... Creativity is a mysterious thing.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Movie Review - The A-Team
Staring: Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Jessica Biel, Quinton Jackson, Sharlto Copley, Gerald McRaney, Brian Bloom, Maury Sterling
Premise: Two US rangers meet two others through fate as an op in Mexico goes sour. Eight years later, the four have become an elite combat unit -an Alpha Team. They go ahead an take on a missions they've been told to stay away from, they find themselves set up to take the fall when it all goes fubar back at the base. When they are given an opportunity to escape from high maximum security military prisons, they take it and go off to try to clear their names.
Review: First off, this movie was AWESOME! I watched the A-Team back in the day, and despite the needed suspension of disbelief, it was always a fun and entertaining TV show. The movie remake is all it was and more!
It also gives us something we never did get in the TV series - the A-Teams' actual origin. Even better, we get to see how the four met in the first place. We see how high they rose within the military, and then the crime they got labeled for and how they escaped prison. Fan dream come true!
When the first news of the film started coming from Stephen J Cannel's Twitter account, I wasn't sure if they could pull it off. I need not have worried. They pulled it off an more. And weirdly enough, it's the little moments that totally take this movie from just a ton of fun to great. Plus all the little quirks of all the characters are there. We even see how they got some of them. They may not have been the original actors, but they gave them true life. Even better, we have sideline plots for BA and Face, giving the movie unexpected depth.
If you go see it, make sure to STAY TILL THE END OF THE CREDITS! There's some awesome fan service there with a couple of cameos. And I loved the way they did it. Priceless! Even better are the bits with music and even video from the original show that get snuck into the film. The folks who made this movie obviously loved the show. Kuddos!
So if you enjoy action, a good time, some off the wall hi-jinks, and loved the original series for the fun it was, this movie is totally for you!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Movie Review - Prince of Persia
Staring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Ronald Pickup, Richard Coyle (OMG! Jeffrey from Coupling!!!!)
Premise: The king of Persia adopts a young boy after seeing him do a courageous deed. Fourteen years later, his adopted son is on campaign with his two brothers (the king's true sons) and the king's brother. Having obtained information from a spy that the holy city of Alamut is forging weapons for their enemies, Tus, as the brother in charge and heir to the throne, decides to attack the city despite his father's orders not to do so. Dastan ignores his brother's wishes and attacks the city from the side to minimize casualties on both ends. When he accidentally ends up with an unusual dagger, he gets thrown into a cyclone of treachery and mystery, as he is branded a murderer and traitor to the realm.
Review: Okay, I better get this off my chest now cause I can see it disrupting my attempt at a review if I don't. :P
Prince Tus is played by Richard Coyle. Didn't know he was in this movie! Loved, loved, loved Richard Coyle as Jeffrey in the British comedy by Stephen Moffatt's (who's done some of the BEST new Dr Who episodes and is now in charge!!!) Coupling! And he's got long hair! He looked GREAT! But every time his character chose badly all I could hear was Jeffry's mother going "Ohhhh Jeffrey" in her deep disapproving tones in my head. ROFL! Totally awesome to see him again! (And on a totally random side note (did warn you all!) just saw on IMDB Mr Coyle is playing Ludwig Von Lipwig in a TV rendition of Terry Pratchett's "Going Postal" - How totally awesome!!!! Now if I could just get a hold of it to see it...) Wheee!
Ahem...back to the review... Prince of Persia was a nice, action filled romp! The back and forth play between Dastan and Tamina were pretty good. Sheik Amar was a hoot. Beautiful scenery, cities, buildings. Tons of acrobatics. I've not played the original game, but it definitely had the feel of one here and there as our hero jumps from building to building, flips, runs over the tops of camels, and other fun bits. Even a section was very reminiscent of the game Assassin's Creed (though for all I know that game (which the one scene and the activation chamber make me soooo dizzy - the game not the movie - making it hard for me to play...) took it from them instead. Whatever the case, there's loads to see and appreciate. The ostrich races were too funny.
Special effects were great. Some of the baddies were just creepy. And what they did with the snakes? Pretty darn cool. Loved the sand devils mode of transport for those guys - just a nice touch of mysticism there.
Any major surprises in plot? No. But then this isn't that kind of movie. Just a fast paced good time. Though the switch at the end did seem to almost come out of nowhere. Did not fit with the facts we'd been given up to that point. I may have missed something though. Still totally worth it for the action antics. Acting was pretty good too!
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Movie Review - Shrek Forever After
Staring: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, Jon Hamm, John Cleese, Walt Dohrn, Craig Robinson, and a tons more!
Premise: Life for Shrek has turned somewhat predictable and sedentary after the birth of his kids. Finding it hard to find time for himself, he starts pinning for the olden days when he was single and had no responsibilities. Rumpelstiltskin finds out about his desire and cuts Shrek a deal, one with unexpected and dire results.
Review: All of our old friends are BACK! The same elements we've come to know and expect in the Shrek films are totally there. The songs, the jokes, the fun and excitement. Think of this as a mutated version of 'It's a Wonderful Life' and you'll have some idea what to expect. Except there are added wrinkles. What Shrek thought he was exchanging for 1 day can actually become the new permanent reality and a grim one at that.
It was a lot of fun seeing the old gang and how they would be if Shrek had never entered their lives. Plenty of homage fodder as usual. Cookie in the Spartacus/Gladiator bit almost killed me. Rumpelstiltskin (and his wigs) was a hoot. The trailer park for the lowlife element and the others thrown in there were too much fun. Witches were a hoot. Loved Rumple's goose companion as well. Puss in Boots, as usual, steals much of the show. :) And Shrek's successful wooing practice is definitely only one ogres would love. Heh heh. (And Fiona kicks some buns! Dang girl!)
While nothing truly unexpected, they still managed to throw a curve ball or two, which was great. Overall a fun, dazzling ride. Made me want to go watch the first Shrek all over again really bad! Heh heh.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Another Goodbye - My Feline Master Keiko
Pets can be your friend, console you when you're sick, boss you around. They may not be able to speak in words, but they can communicate with you all the same. The better you know them and they know you, the easier that communication becomes. Some are extremely intelligent, others dumb as a box of rocks. Mellow, mean, happy, moody, easily bored, ADD, cruel, kind every extreme found in our own species can be found in theirs.
This week I lost my feline master and friend - Keiko.
Keiko was a fourth generation cat in our household. Her great grandfather was my beloved Lestat, and her great grandmother was Gretta. Grandmother was Claudia, who survives her at this time thought she's looked like she's been about to kick the bucket for years. (She will probably outlive us all!) The mother I did not know, as she'd been adopted by my mother and sister-in-law from one of Claudia's litters. Keiko was born at the Beltline house and after much prodding by my daughter, and my gooey husband capitulating to her whims, we'd brought the oh so cute (and I had resisted so well! I had just about escaped!) black kitten home.
Keiko was black from tip to tail with golden eyes and utterly adorable. Though she didn't smoke cigarettes, she was of the Nermal line, looking diminutive and cute her whole life. As a kitten, she'd been fearless. She would approach strangers in the house without a qualm, until she was somewhat traumatized by one of my husband's friends and then she grew extremely shy of strangers. (Steve, you fool! *shakes fist*)
More trauma was visited on her when we had to leave her and the others as outside cats for a few months, as our old house sold too quickly, the new one was not finished, and we had to move into an apartment complex for several months that didn't allow pets. She did not take well to being outdoors. Shell shocked from three seconds in. Coming by on weekends and spending time in the back yard with treats, I had no problems consoling the others, but Keiko remained aloof and distant, a tree her permanent perch.
When the time came, however, I was able to entice her close enough to reconnect and take her and the other back us once the house was finished. We settled in to our new place, and she slowly came back to herself. I will NEVER put a friend through this kind of hardship ever again. (Lost Gretta because of it, Lestat got kitty aids, Angelique got locked inside a storage shed in summer without food or water for days before we found her and got her free. Never, never again!)
Lestat was king in our house, and though he allowed me to lavish love on the others, he was top cat. On his passing, Keiko took up the mantle, having been the self designated heir for sometime.
Twelve years she spent with us. She ruled with an iron paw for one so small, but was normally quite gracious. My lap was her throne. She watched over me constantly and made demands when she deemed she had a need and castigated me when she felt I was laughing too loud or seemed upset. She comforted me when I was sad or ill, making sure not to leave my side until I was better. She took all the love I could heap upon her as her due and never complained in that regard.
In the last several months she'd become thinner than her already svelte self. We'd assumed it was just age finally catching up to her. In no other way did she seem different. But in April she looked like she was not feeling well, spending a lot of time in the bed during the day, which was unusual for her. She seemed to rally after a few days so we figured she'd just caught something we, the humans, were passing around.
On the day I got back from Conestoga I realized something wasn't right. Her poor belly was distended. I just about freaked. But we didn't take her to the vet. A sad experience with Miaka, the beloved ferret we lost a couple of years before, made us hesitant to take her in.
When the bloating didn't go away, however, I caved and my son-in-law was kind enough to take her to the clinic. Later that day I got the sad phone call. Keiko had cancer. There were growths on her liver and it was too far along to do anything about it. While chemo was an option, there were no guarantees. I couldn't see putting her through that. While you can explain to a human what chemo is and why they feel bad during treatment, how do you do that with a cat?
The vet felt we had a month with her, maybe two. I fought to hold it together and lavished what love I could on her as often as possible. The diagnosis came on 5/7/10. Rather than a month, Keiko left us in one week. She was gone by the afternoon of Friday the 14th. My husband had had a feeling she was going that morning before we left for work. The way she just lay unmoving on the comfy pile of sheets my daughter had made her, the fact she'd stopped eating the night before.
I petted her gently that morning and got a soft purr in return. Despite my husband's prediction, I didn't think it would be so soon. The son-in-law was home and keeping an eye on her, making sure she was comfortable. Daughter called me that afternoon after she got home.
Keiko was gone.
My husband had checked on her and realized she had left us sometime that afternoon. He buried her in the rain in our backyard. A feat he would not have done for just anyone.
I miss her terribly. She was my friend.
Good bye Master Keiko.
Sunday, May 09, 2010
Movie Review - Iron Man 2
Staring: Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Rockwell, Mickey Rourke, Samuel L Jackson, Clark Gregg, etc.
Premise: Now that Tony Stark has revealed himself to the world as Iron Man, he's having to deal with some of the fallout. The government wants the suit, his industry competitors want the suit, some aggrieved people he's never even heard of want pay back. But the one thing most prominent in Tony's mind is the ticking time bomb in his chest. While the power source keeps him alive, it is also killing him with toxins. His time is running out and he's not taking it very well.
Review: The grapevine said that there'd been problems with Terrence Howard, the original Rhodey, so they'd had to get someone else to play the part. While Mr. Cheadle has been around and has been known for some very fine work, the spark between his Rhodey and Tony Stark just wasn't as pronounced as it should have been. Not that he was given much to work with, so it isn't entirely his fault. But it was something that hurt the film somewhat.
With Pepper now taking a back seat in the plot, that also didn't do the film any favors. (I also have to agree with Rob Thurman, they're just cruel having her running around on those heels! Oi!) Even the poor robot, which had caused such laughs in the first film, got his time cut. While understandable due to the plot and the time constraints, it still hurt the film.
There were definitely touches of comedic moments, but nothing like the original. Something was lost here as well.
The special effects, Stark Expo, the tech, all were FAB! The flight sequences, the race sequence, the explosions, all of that was utterly awesome. In the digital finesse of IMAX, it will have you drooling. Robert Downey Jr was excellent once again as Tony Stark, showing the multiple sides and complexity of the character and his many facades with ease. Very much enjoyed Mickey Rourke's addition as Ivan Vanko. Just the right touch of reckless madness and creepy. Mr Rockwell was well suited to be Mr Hammer, a man with power, who let it get to his head, yet always still looking for just that bit more of acceptance at any cost and never realizing what an idiot he's making of himself trying to copy others. (Kinda felt sorry for the schmuck! Heh)
The action sequences with Scarlett Johansson were a total blast! Made it all look so easy~! And way more believable than Hit Girl. (Sorry Kick-Ass fans!)
Poor Stark's house gets trashed yet again. That awesome place has no hope or survival. Good thing it's isolated!
Overall, the movie kicked buns even as it fell short of the original. I was way way relieved they didn't do the normal process Hollywood tends to go with these hero films when they decide that one bad guy is not enough to make a movie with. They kept it to 1.5 bad guys and extra plot complications. That worked quite well. Yay! (I can't believe how these movie people will not get the hint that multiple villains DO NOT WORK! You can have awesome scripts with just 1 bad guy. Really!)
Definitely go check this puppy out!
Rating: 3.75 out of 4
P.S. While the movie website is gangly and hard to figure out, it does have some awesome stuff in there. Even more fun are some of the associated sites under Extras like the Stark Expo 2010. Let the expo map load and you can click on some of the buildings. Some of these have even more sites attached. The Japanese one was the bomb! And wait till you get a look at the new sonic fire fighting equipment. (There's video!) Whoever organized the web presence went way out of their way. Awesome stuff. Now if only the main site had been more friendly. I almost missed out on all this! (Make sure the click the tiny nav square on the left side.)
P.S.S. Of major disappointment was seeing that while there's an AC/DC Iron Man 2 CD for the movie (AC/DC Rules~!) the background music soundtrack is NOT available! You can hear tracks from it at the main website, but that's it! ARGH! Soundtrack junkie needs will not be met for me. Nooooo!!!!!