Friday, August 31, 2012

Movie Review - The Expendables 2

The Expendables 2

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lungdren, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, Nan Yu, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Liam Hemsworth, Scott Adkins, Charisma Carpenter, and more...

Directed by: Simon West Screenplay by: Richard Wenk and Sylvester Stallone Story by: Ken Kaufman, David Agosto, and Richard Wenk Based on the characters by: David Callaham Cinematography by: Shelly Johnson Original Music by: Brian Tyler

Premise: When a supposedly easy mission turns bad and takes the life of one of their own, the Expendables won't rest until they've gotten revenge.


1) Acting - Thumbs Up: There wasn't much for most of the actors to act to, but what there was was well done. Stallone did a great  job. Van Damme was an awesomely nasty bad guy. It was definitely fun watching them all prancing about with guns blazing.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Great explosions! Tons of weapons fire during different parts of the film and they actually would run out of bullets, trying for a feeling of authenticity. It even had daring airplane lift offs and landings. Plenty of special effects entertainment for all.

3) Plot/Story - Neutral: The beginning of the film with the extraction/rescue plan was probably the best part of the whole movie. It truly showed the extent  of Expendables' skills. Then the story unfortunately turned into an unimaginative romp with too many winks to the audience with regards to in-jokes and other slipped in bits. Some were quite funny, but others fell flat. While seeing Chuck Norris was great, he got thrown in as a "Deus Ex Machina" at least once in the film. Some of  the others were also treated this way.

I was pretty miffed at the convenient way they got Jet Li's character to leave after the intro mission was over to make room for the character of Maggie. Though his 'fry pan' martial arts was totally enjoyable, it wasn't enough to make up for the big gap caused in the group with the departure of his character. It was almost as if the writers were afraid of having two characters doing martial arts. Which is silly as there can never be enough martial arts in an action film.

The jokes, like I said, were plentiful. Some were subtle, others were not. "Total Recall", "Die Hard", and even those online jokes about Chuck Norris made an appearance. I believe even the tattoo Van Damme wore as part if his 'bad guy' persona was an in-joke to one of his films.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Great stunts. Kudos to the stuntmen standing in for our favorite older action heroes, especially during the final battle sequence. The only sequence with any issues was during the forced plane landing. The area of danger with Magggie was done in super shaky cam. Rather than add to the danger, it made the sequence incredibly difficult to see, making it lose any impact on the viewer of the possible loss of the new teammate.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Thumbs Up: Lots of foreign locations and interesting places were in the film. I especially enjoyed the cool structure of the mountain mines in Russia.

Conclusion: "Expendables 2" delivers on a ton of action, explosions, and gun play, but the plot left a lot to be desired. I didn't personally feel it came close to the original in overall satisfaction. But it definitely was awesome seeing all those big action stars on the big screen again.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Seeing for Matinee)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mind Sieve 8/27/12

Welcome back!
Good to see you. :)

Red Dawn Official Trailer - looks like they're doing a remake of the 1984 Classic! (For SPN fans - Both Jessica and Papa Winchester are in this one.:P)

Judge Dredd Preview - this is going to be fun!

And speaking of fun - The Man With The Iron Fists trailer.

Silver Linings Playbook Trailer. Looks too cute! And weird! Yay!

Spy Ships - Behind The USS Liberty Incident from Jay Holmes at Piper Bayard's Blog.

When Writing Is A Juggling Act by Stephanie Nickle.

Ask A Writer: "How Do I Write What The Audience Wants To Read?" from Chuck (NSFW) Wendig. Tell it, Brother!

May your week be filled with awesomeness!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Virtual Tourist - Star Wars The Old Republic 8/26/12

Life has taken a major chaotic leap this week, but let's see what I have to torture you with. :P

The Republic
My Jedi Consular

If you click for the larger version you can see how nasty this horned beast looks. Eek!

Aha! Looks like we've finally discovered the source of heat for the tropical areas.

Some small, but nifty, waterfalls

Why yes, there were things inside these we now have to deal with. Heh

The tunnel just had a cool look.

A hopefully closer look at the horned beasts.

Nasty robot in our way to one of our goals.

The conversation with the fellow at this section was bizarre! lol. Really had to think to make out what he was saying. Heh heh

Doh! Forgot to take off the UI

The Empire
Imperial Spy
Nar Shadaa - Got sent back here again. Some bonus quests and main story line. I'm about to become a double agent. Hee!

Weird looking lamp.

The look and feel of this area gave me a sense of a jungle though there were no plants here. 

These light frisbees were popping up here and there. I've no idea what they are for. They said Point Of Interest but had nothing to click on or do. 

I adore the neon in this place. 

New pet! He's adorable! (And a little creepy) :)

Ah yes, a touch of home there in the back. 

The Holocron we'd picked up when playing Republic side now picked up by my Imp. YES! Cunning +3 (Though I did get cooked the first time. Have to pick the right code. Doh!) X 1956 Y 3271 Z -1591

New side mission for all levels. Alien race wanting volunteers to do a scavenger hunt for artifacts. 

Did I mention I really like the neon? Heh

Police car. Lights flashing and everything. lol.

Hope we get to play today to have some pics for next week pre-scheduled since next week is Animefest. Wish me luck! :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Movie Review - ParaNorman


Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Elain Stritch, Bernard Hill, Jodele Ferland, Tempest Bledssoe, John Goodman, Alex Borstein, and more...

Directed by: Chris Butler and Same Fell Written by: Chris Butler Cinematography by: Tristan Oliver Original Music by: Jon Brion

Premise: Norman can see and talk to ghosts, but his family doesn't believe him and the kids at school think he's a freak. Then he meets his reclusive uncle, who tells Norman he has a duty he has to take on - keeping the witch asleep so she won't raise the dead. Except the instructions Norman gets from him aren't complete and he's not able to figure out what to do before the dead rise from their graves! (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: All the voice actors were great. Kudos to Kodi Smit-McPhee and Tucker Albrizi for their portrayals of Norman and Neal. Yet the most fun came from some of the side actors, like Tempestt Bledsoe. Her character, Sheriff Hooper, was quite funny.

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: "ParaNorman" is the work of Laika Entertainment. I'd originally thought the film was purely CGI art, but it was more than that. "ParaNorman" is actually a work of stop motion photography! Each of the puppets has an inner metal skeleton to help pose the puppet for each frame. The official website stated that just the zombies rising from the grave scene took a year to film. Dang.

Add to the great puppetry some beautifully and super detailed sets as well as added special effects, and the results are quite amazing. There were many, very well done, visual gags that added a lot of flavor to the film.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: While the main gist of the story was predictable, there were still several surprises in the plot. These surprises made for nice plot twists and take the story in a direction at several places that the audience will not anticipate but totally appreciate.

There was a lot of subtle humor sprinkled throughout the film. The scene with the man waiting for his chips to come out of the vending machine then seeing the zombies coming for him and his reaction to the situation was hilarious. There were also several in-jokes to give more fun to the adults. The Scooby Doo reference made me laugh out loud it was so unexpected. Homage was even given to the old black and white monster movies, the lettering styles and posters very much like those in that era. One of the sneakiest jokes was about the Puritan zombies and their seeing a poster for a witch casino, advertising all the vices they'd come to the new world to get away from. By seeing such a thing in the middle of their town, I am sure they felt cursed indeed.

Conclusion: A fun movie with plenty of fodder for the adults as well as the kids. The few gross moments will definitely give the kids a nice thrill.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Matinee Price)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Picture Kaleidoscope 8/22/12

Got a new phone and the skies were talking to me again. Heh heh.

Looks sharper than the old phone's pics. No? Heh heh

Hm, the pic didn't quite show what I was seeing.

A field of fluffy clouds! So cottony. :)

Professional Wedding Photos from PoetRafoto. From Indonesia! 

Till next time!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mind Sieve 8/20/12

Another Monday!!!! Will we survive?!

The Colors of Evil - and adorable short film by Phillip Simon and Alyse Miller. What fun!

One Direction - One Thing Parody from The Key of Awesome

The Citadel Trailer - looks like a super creepy horror film. Eek!

The Moth Diaries Trailer - more horror spooky stuff.

"Partysaurus Rex" Toy Story Toon Preview. Old bubble bath time! Woot!

Hit And Run Official Trailer - car chases and comedy! 

The Importance Of Reading The Fine Print from The Writer's Guide To E Publishing.

From Chuck (NSFW) Wendig - 25 Things You Should Know About Metaphor

As always, I hope ya'll have an awesome week!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Virtual Tourist - Secret World and Star Wars The Old Republic 8/19/12

Let's do this thing!

Secret World

You have to enlarge it to see it, but something really weird seems to be going on in room 13. o.O

I have to say this games seems to do creepy rather well. No?

I think she gave me a pic of this thing once before. Impressive, isn't he?

I smell a trap...

Mr. Creepy is in front of that tree. Eek!

Dilapidated mansion at the end of the lane...yeah, that can't be good.

Creepy bird on a creepy bridge. Uh huh.

Love the chairs!! And is she Yoda's cousin? Heh heh

Yeah, a full moon, ruins, and a glowing mystic looking person - can't be good news. :P

Beware of Dog

Dead bodies. Never a good sign

Weird windmill.

Okay, downright creepy windmill. Heh heh

Star Wars The Old Republic

Republic Side - Jedi Consular


Still in Belsavis. Still freaks me out how parts are jungle and other are frozen wastelands. 

Getting into the areas with the older architecture that's thousands of years old.

That's one huge and impressive room, no?

Just look at those pillars!

One of the ancient alien race I've been looking for. 

He's been helping me from behind the scenes to find those I am looking for. There are different factions running around though.

Love the look of these room. The chambers kept those of the super old race in stasis, but their minds remained active. Evil way to incarcerate people. Brrrrr.

I have more but didn't want to flood the blog. Lol. Will be sure to post next time. :P
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