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Friday, May 30, 2014

Movie Review:Night At The Museum

Premise:A night watchman working for a museum is in for some surprises, the first being the discovery that the exhibits come to life at night.

Cast:Ben Stiller as Larry Daley, Robin Williams as Theodore Roosevelt, Carla Gungino as Rebecca, Dick Van Dyke as Cecil Fredricks, Mickey Rooney as Gus, Bill Cobbs as Reginald, Jake Cherry as Nick Daley, Patrick Gallagher as Attila the Hun, Owen Wilson as Jedediah, Steve Coogan as Octavius, Mizuo Peck as Sacajawea, Ricky Gervais as Dr. McPhee

Director:Shawn Levy

MPAA Rating:PG for mild action, language, and brief rude humor

Genres:Comedy, fantasy, kids'

Notes:Images taken from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes and belong to 20th Century Fox.

Pros:Will spark kids' interest in museums. Good score. A few good lines.

Cons:So-so acting. The villains.

Larry Daley hasn't had a steady job in a while. Since his divorce, he keeps taking opportunities that he ends up quitting. The only opening now is at the Museum of Natural History, where history come alive in more ways than one.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

This Fall's TV

Just a few things about the TV schedule for later this year.

Now that ABC has officially renewed Agents of SHIELD for a second season, here are a few things I think they should do with it.

  • Introduce characters who won't get their own movies. There are myriads of good characters that would be fun to see. Why not show us a few?
  • Give minor characters more screentime. Building on the last one, I'd be interested in seeing them do what they did with Lady Sif and Agent Maria Hill:Taking minor characters from the films and giving them extra time to be awesome.

Monday, May 26, 2014

TV Review:The Blacklist

Premise:Master criminal Raymond Reddington assists the FBI in apprehending dangerous criminals, on the condition he works with Agent Elizabeth Keen.

Cast:James Spader as Raymond "Red" Reddington, Megan Boone as Elizabeth Keen, Ryan Eggold as Tom Keen, Harry Lennix as Harold Cooper, Diego Klattenhoff as Donald Ressler, Parminder Nagra as Meera Malik, Amir Arison as Aram Mojtabai

Genres:Crime, drama, action

Notes:Poster taken from IMDB and belongs to NBC.

Pros:Entertaining villain protagonist. Good antagonists.

Cons:The story arcs are slow. Characters leave something to be desired. Tells what year it is.

Think about how you would react if this you got a job as an FBI profiler, and on your first day, you're rushing out the door late, only to be greeted with black vans and helicopters. And then you find out one of the Bureau's most wanted just surrendered himself and will talk only with you. This is exactly the situation Elizabeth Keen finds herself in.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

What Is Fellowship?

Just a short post about something I've had to think about: How and where to talk about God and spiritual issues. The Bible study I was attending wasn't helping me and even if it was, they don't do it in the summertime.

I know I need to talk to other Christians. But where and when should I? Will online fellowship be enough?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Movie Review:Batman

Premise:A vigilante and a deformed maniac clash, with a female reporter caught in the middle.

Cast:Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jack Nicholson as Jack Napier/The Joker, Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale, Robert Wuhl as Alexander Knox, Jack Palance as Carl Grissom, Jerry Hall as Alicia Hunt, Michael Gough as Alfred, Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon, Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent

Director:Tim Burton

MPAA Rating:PG-13


Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards and belongs to Warner Brothers.

Pros:Michael Keaton as Batman. Jack Nicholson as Joker. The score.

Cons:Comic fans will be annoyed at a change in the origin story. Not really a lot of Batman. The romance.

Gotham is not a good place to live. Crime and corruption runs rampant and now, there's this guy rumored to go around dressed as a bat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thoughts, Theories, & Trivia:Iron Man 3

Click here for the review.

  • When speculating about the first movie, I guessed Tony was probably born in the late sixties, early seventies. Here, he says he was fourteen years old in 1983, meaning he was born in 1969. This would make him forty-four in 2013.
    • I've started to wonder if Tony is an unreliable narrator. It would explain a few of the plot holes.
      • Something else I've thought is the suits have been designed less efficiently because Tony is stressed and therefore not being as vigilant about flaws. He's just tinkering with new ideas.

      Spoilers ahead.

      Monday, May 19, 2014

      Movie Review:Iron Man 3

      Premise:Tony Stark challenges a terrorist threatening the country.

      Cast:Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Ben Kingsley as Mandarin, Guy Pearce as Aldritch Killian, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes, Rebecca Hall as Maya Hansen, Paul Bettany as Jarvis, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, William Sadler as President Ellis, Ty Simpkins as Harley Keener

      Director:Shane Black

      MPAA Rating:PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi action and violence throughout, and brief suggestive content

      Genres:Action, drama, sci-fi

      Notes:This is technically the fourth Iron Man movie (the third being The Avengers). Images taken from IMP Awards and Rotten Tomatoes and belong to Marvel.

      Pros:Pepper Potts and Tony's relationship with her. JARVIS is snarky.

      Cons:Plot holes galore. Villains are done badly. Several twists make no sense or are otherwise awful.

      Following the alien attack on New York, Tony Stark is not quite the same. And now there's this Mandarin guy threatening to teach America a lesson. Time to dust off the old suit and get to work.

      From the trailers, you'd expect an angsty movie about Tony being emotionally destroyed from the inside out. That was not the case. I had heard this movie wasn't as good as the previous films. Okay, so I expected something like Daredevil or The Incredible Hulk. That is to say, not great, but I can still enjoy it if I don't expect it to be. That didn't work for me here. (Prepare yourselves for an angry rant.)

      Saturday, May 17, 2014

      Depression In Christ

      Why is it in when I'm in the presence of other Christians, I don't feel I can be my honest self? Why do I feel like I have to hide?

      Maybe part of it is the Christians who seem to believe you can never be unhappy. That if you're ever depressed, well you need to stop that because it displeases God.

      But shouldn't we be able to be honest with each other? Why must we have to put on an act to avoid judgement?

      Friday, May 16, 2014

      Book Review:Predator

      Unrelated to the Arnold Schwarzenegger film.

      Premise:After an online predator murders a teenager, her grief-stricken sister and the creator of a social networking site search for the killer.

      Author:Terri Blackstock

      Genres:Crime, thriller

      Notes:Cover taken from Terri Blackstock's website.

      Pros:Twisted villain. Chapters from the killer's perspective. Will encourage people to be more careful about what they post online. Isn't shy about showing how horrible predators can be. Ryan's buddy.

      Cons:Characters are hard to like, especially the father. Unsatisfying ending. The attempt at romance. Blames computers and the internet for evil. Doesn't deal with Krista's faith crisis satisfactorily.

      Losing a treasured family member is always hard. It's particularly hard if they were young, and died suffering. Poor Ella Carmichael is such a person. Stalked on GrapeVyne (a fictional social networking site), beaten, raped, and buried alive in the woods. Now her father David is vengeful and suicidal, and her sister Krista is desperate to find the man responsible. Even if she has to go through Ryan Adkins, the creator of GrapeVyne, to do it.

      Wednesday, May 14, 2014

      My Avengers 2 Wishlist

      With the success of Joss Whedon's Avengers film, expectations for the sequel are going to be high. Here are a few things I might like to see in it.

      • Shake the heroes to their cores. Put everything on the line. Drive them to the breaking point.
      • Pepper Potts fighting a bad guy. At the end of Iron Man 3, Pepper gets superpowers from the villains' evil drugs. And while they said Tony worked on it, I seriously doubt something like that will just go away. So have her fight an single enemy. It doesn't have to be major.
      • Hawkeye doing his thing. For most of Avengers, Hawkeye was Loki's brainwashed right-hand man. He seemed like an awesome character, but he didn't get much time to prove that. And compared to the five others on the team, he has the least amount of screen time across all the movies. So this time, let him show just how good he is.

      Monday, May 12, 2014

      TV Review:Smallville

      Premise:Teenage alien Clark Kent deals with supervillains as well as puberty, loss, his heritage, and romantic relationships.

      Cast:Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, Michael Rosebaum as Lex Luthor, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang, John Glover as Lionel Luthor, Sam Jones III as Pete Ross, Erica Durance as Lois Lane, Annete O'Toole as Martha Kent, John Schneider as Jonathan Kent, Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, Eric Johnson as Whitney Fordman, Jensen Ackles as Jason Teague, James Marsters as Brainiac, Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olsen, Laura Vandervoot as Kara Kent, Jane Seymour as Genevieve Teague, Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer, Sam Witwer as Davis Bloome, Callum Blue as Zod, Pam Grier as Amanda Waller

      Genres:Sci-fi/fantasy, romance, action, drama

      Notes:Poster taken from IMDB and belongs to the CW.

      Pros:Cool villains. Chloe Sullivan. Great music.

      Cons:Several major characters got on my nerves. Frustrating romantic relationships take up too much screen time. The distinctions between good guys and bad guys are not done as well as they should be. Dates itself for no good reason. Mild plot holes.

      In 1989, a meteor shower hit Smallville, Kansas. It brought a young alien, along with strange rocks that gave people weird powers. The rest of the story starts 12 years later. Clark Kent appears to be your average teen. But as if hormones and crushes weren't enough, he also finds out he's extraterrestrial.

      This is one of those shows I find mediocre. I often felt like the writers didn't know what they were doing, and while I don't hate it, I can find several things to hate about it. Below are five of the biggest problems.

      Saturday, May 10, 2014

      I'm An Ambassador For Christ?

      Someone reminded me that I'm an ambassador for Christ. Oh, it wasn't mean or a rebuke or anything like that. She called me a good one. And I think it's nice you think so. But the thought that I'm an example of what a follower of Jesus looks like, that I'm something people use as an example, scares me a little.

      I mean me, as a representative of God's Son. I'm a pretty messed-up person. A selfish, scatterbrained, snippy one. But then I think about some of the big characters in the Bible. David got another man's wife pregnant, Peter denied knowing Christ, and Moses had a short temper. And remember Paul? The guy whose letters make up most of the New Testament? Before his conversion, he went around executing Christians.

      If these people, these flawed and screwed-up people, could represent God Himself, then I don't see a reason I can't.

      Friday, May 09, 2014

      Book Review:The Hunger Games

      Premise:Twenty-four teenagers prepare to fight to the death on live television, with only one being allowed to survive.

      Author:Suzanne Collins

      Genres:Action, drama

      Notes:Image taken from the official website and belongs to Scholastic.

      Pros:Acknowledges the horror behind the Games. Good female protagonist.

      Cons:Moves kind of slowly at first. Repetitive mentions of the problems Katniss faces with her "ally."

      Imagine committing a crime punishable by death just to keep your family and yourself fed. Imagine you could see yourself or your siblings sent off to die for the country's entertainment. Imagine allying yourself with someone you could be forced to kill.

      As you can see, the world within the book is not a kind one. The story is really about survival. Living through food shortages at first, then a future Roman coliseum, and throughout, an oppressive government.

      Wednesday, May 07, 2014

      Thoughts, Theories, & Trivia:X-Men

      You can read the review here.

      You know, people like you were the reason I was afraid to go to school as a child.
      -Rebecca Romijn's only line.

      • In her "default" form, Mystique has only one line.

      You homo sapiens and your guns.
      -He's got something better than guns.

      • If Senator Kelly was so strongly and publicly anti-mutant, why didn't he expect extremists to come after him?

      Spoilers after this

      Monday, May 05, 2014

      Album Review:The Most Relaxing Classical Music In The Universe

      Taken from Amazon.
      Composers:(See track listing)

      Genres:Classical (obviously)

      General thoughts:Despite my love of rock and roll, I'm not really a fan of fast-paced, louder classical music (unless it's a tribute to a rock song). I prefer the calmer, quieter bits. There's plenty of that here.

      You'll find lots of familiar pieces on this album. Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Debussy, and multiple others are included. Many tracks tend to be long (5 minutes or more).

      I don't know about the most relaxing in the universe, but this is pretty calm. For only a few bucks at Target or Amazon, this is worth the money for fans of classical music.

      Thursday, May 01, 2014

      After A To Z

      I did it! I completed A to Z.

      Blogs I found that I liked thanks to the challenge:14
      Comments I got:50 (not counting my own)
      Number of followers I got:1, which seems to be the magic number (I have 1 follower each on Google+ and Twitter).

      I think I might do it again next year, maybe not. It depends on where I'll be during the summer.

      Something I noticed:I didn't get as many comments on reviews. Oh, well. I did get plenty of feedback on rants and posts that complained about what's wrong with the world.