Movie Review: Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome

I never saw Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome (2012) in its original form as a web series. The first I knew about it was when I saw it as a DVD release, last month, in time for Christmas.

My Battlestar Galactica fandom began with the rebooted series from 2004-2009. At that time I was aware of the original 1976 series but had never seen a full episode. Just recently I was given the full original series as a gift and have been surprised at how earnest it is after expecting something much lighter and comic book like. I digress...

I own the entire Battlestar rebooted series so purchasing Blood and Chrome was never not an option. The chance to see a young William Adama in his very first mission during the first Cylon war, why wouldn't I buy it? Especially since there are glimpses of young Adama fighting first war Cylons in the tele-movie Battlestar Galactica: Razor. More of that please!

There Ought to be a Law... #SydneySiege #mediacoverage #IIIridewithyou

If ever a successful terrorist action was demonstrated, you'd have to say the Sydney Siege in Martin Place was mostly a success thanks to virtually every major TV station in Australia dropping their programming and replacing it with live, rolling coverage for hours.

Not only live coverage but seemingly endless talking heads looking at every possible angle, waxing on and on to fill the gap between nothing has happened since the last time we reported nothing had happened. Which, although nothing happening is a good thing, doesn't make for very interesting TV.

Man Eating Koalas Right Where I Live!

Not the actual Koala.
When I take our dogs for a walk it's not enough that I have to watch out for snakes, lizards, prickles and other over enthusiastic dogs but now I also have to watch out for man eating koalas too!

Well alright more like woman biting koalas but this happened right in the suburb where I live, and possibly where I walk my own dogs. Who would ever suspect a largely vegan koala would go rogue for a pound of leg flesh!

Not Afraid of a Power Tool - Recent D.I.Y. Projects

Although I had a lot of assistants this ramp
was very much built by me - all with no plans.
Although I spend hours in front of a computer I'm still very much an old school, hands on, do-it-yourself kind of person who's not afraid to pick up a power tool and build something out of wood.

Probably largely due to my Dad, who built a lot of the furniture we had as I was growing up. I got to watch him work and, when I was old enough, use his power tools to build a lot of skate ramps.

Movie: Interstellar *Minor Spoilers*

Christopher Nolan's Interstellar does a great job of keeping the story moving along at a steady and engaging pace. The reason I mention this is because the movie is partially inspired by the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film I've tried to watch on many occasions over the years and I still can't tell you how it ends. It just sends me to sleep - every time.

If you've also struggled with that film and thought Interstellar, which also tries to depict space travel in a realistic manner, sounds like a difficult proposition then there's no need to be concerned. There's plenty to keep you tuned in and awake.

That said, you'll probably get a lot more from this film if you have more than a passing interest in space travel, worm holes, black holes, relativity theory and time travel. Particularly if you're aware of some of the current research.

iRobot Roomba: Why the Machine Uprising Starts Here

Roomba's ATTACK!!
Ominous image straight
from iRobot's site.
iRobot's Roomba is pretty much the first mass consumer robot. If iRobot had their way I'm sure their goal is to see at least one of these in every home on the planet.Watch the official product demonstration video for the 780 model below.

iRobot's mission statement.
Robot Armageddon would certainly
be world changing!

Lizard Hunting Season

"Shhh... I'm hunting lizards."
With Australia heading into the summer months Lizard Hunting Season begins. Well at least it does for our dog Oscar who gives them a serious barking tirade whenever he finds one.

Australian Blue Tongue lizards are pretty common where I live, specifically the Eastern variety. Because we live a short distance from bushland we get more than our fair share in the back garden and, on a couple of occasions, even in the house.

You Need to Learn How to Tie a Necktie

My one necktie. As a Local
Government member, 2003.
Almost every time I've headed back to Perth, Western Australia, to visit my family, and have reason to wear a necktie, my Dad comments that I need to learn how to tie a tie correctly.

I own only one tie and I taught myself how to tie it. No instructions. I just figured it out all on my own until the knot I tied looked like a necktie knot should look.

The thing is I tied my only tie up once and then never untied it. Effectively my Dad has seen the same necktie knot every time he's seen me wear a tie over the last 14 years. So I can't really blame him when he says things like "I see you still don't know how to tie a tie."

Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy - Spoiler Free

I realize my movie review for Guardians of the Galaxy is probably a bit redundant by now as I'm sure anyone planning to see this movie has already seen it. I actually saw it about a week after it was released in Australia so clearly I'm late with blogging my reaction.

However I was excited for the movie's release, I did enjoy it and, I'm only late because, well... life happens. So here goes...

I had been looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy since Marvel first announced the film, not because I was a fan of the comics, or even knew there was such a comic. No, the thing that I wanted to see was a talking Raccoon with a thing for big guns.

It's a character that sounds just a bit silly but has the potential to be awesome in a live action film and the final movie does not disappoint.

Religious Terrorists

One of my Facebook friends shared the video below on their timeline. It's a response by Religious Scholar, Reza Aslan to commentary by Comedian, Bill Maher, on the violence and oppression that goes on in 'Muslim Countries'.

Aslan makes makes a point about how the media's sweeping generalizations aren't helpful when referring to Muslim extremist groups and individuals within them, citing that all 'Muslim Countries' are not the same and shouldn't be viewed in the same light.

He also points out that some of the issues commonly associated with 'Muslim Countries' are actually more of an issue in 'Christian Countries'. Watch the video. It may just help you think differently about all religions.



I think the point Aslan makes that resonates the most with me is that most religions aren't violent or peaceful. It's what the people who follow them bring to it that determines how that religion and their specific group is perceived. For example Buddhism is largely perceived as a peaceful religion yet Aslan points out that there are violent orders of Buddhist Monks present in the world.

Robot Uprising Update: Technology Bringing Us Closer to the End.

Over the past month I've collected a few articles that I've been meaning to report on that clearly demonstrate the rise and rise of the machines which began with a rogue juicer, moved on to robot floor cleaners with internet access and their army of quadroters mounted with lasers.

The following things are all real and I'm sure if you attached lasers to any one of them the floor cleaning robots would put out the signal for your internet connect fridge to begin attacking our food source by turning up the thermostat. It's all part of the plan...

Movie: Godzilla (2014) - Semi Spoileriffic

As far as Godzilla movies go the latest 2014 Godzilla movie is about as spot on as I've seen for believing that Godzilla isn't a guy in a suit and actually could be real.

Although I knew there were other very big monsters in this movie apart from Godzilla (not really a spoiler since almost from the beginning you learn there's more than one monster) the trailers gave the distinct impression this was a people versus Godzilla movie.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of the Onesie #Sadbatman


Although we haven't seen it clearly for sure, film director Kevin Smith (who has seen a well lit, color photo of the suit), says Ben Affleck's Bat costume is pretty much identical to the Frank Miller, Dark Knight Returns suit. If that's true then Ben's world weary Batman will be going 'old school' and be wearing his underpants on the outside (as he should).

Synthetic Yeast - The Future is Battlestar Galactica and Cylons in Human Form

Battlestar Galactica: Watch out for Six
- especially if she has a synthetic
yeast infection!
It's looking more and more like the TV series reboot of Battlestar Galactica is actually the true documentary of our future rather than the Terminator movies. In Battlestar Galactica the next stage of the machine uprising is the ability to create Cylons (i.e. machines/robots) in perfect human form as clones.

I'm not sure if the Cylon humans were originally cloned from real humans but I'm pretty sure they were totally synthetic lifeforms rather than machines with a human exterior.

Why I'm mentioning this is that currently scientists from several different countries are working on creating the world's first synthetic life form - namely yeast.

Yeast is made up of 16 chromosomes with Australia working on chromosome 14. There are teams in various other countries including the US, China, the UK, Singapore and India working on the other 15. Chromosome 3 has already been completed by the US.

Naturally, when it comes to yeast Australians think about Beer or Vegemite but more serious applications could be in the creation of antibiotics to kill drug resistant bacteria or even manufacturing synthetic human blood.

Personally I can't see synthetic yeast being used in food. It'll go the road of genetically modified food. People like to know that their beer is raised naturally, in free range paddocks, where it can run free and enjoy life before being bottled and put into the fridge ready for a hot day lumberjacking or Sports viewing.

What will actually happen is the robots will harness this yeast technology and figure out how to make perfect synthetic humans with it. Yeast has the same cell structure as a human or plant (apparently) however humans have 46 Chromosomes. You just know some smart ass Artificial Intelligence is going to fast track developing the remaining 30. It'll be developing synthetic humans in no time - and maybe nice floral arrangements too if it decides to explore the synthetic plant side of things.

Don't believe me. Well how about this quote from Professor Pretorius at the Australian launch of the project:

"There is something living on this planet whose parent is a computer and not a living entity,"

Very telling indeed. Computers that can play God and create life. In Battlestar folklore it was actually humans that created the human like Cylons. It starts right here people, with yeast and synthetic human blood.

Once the robots get hold of this tech and can make their own people, they can blend in... that didn't go well for the human race in Battlestar Galactica. I'm pretty sure someone sent that show from the future to warn us!

Evolution of the Cylon. It may be too late as it all begins with toasters!

Ben Affleck's Batman Suit, Batmobile & Movie Title - My Thoughts

Ben Affleck's new suit and car.

Director Zack Snyder released first pictures of Ben Affleck in the new Bat suit along with glimpses of the new Batmobile. As a long time Batman fan who's posted many articles on Batman in this blog, including one about the various Bat suits on film, I really wanted to put my thoughts down here.

Warner Brothers also announced the title of the new Man of Steel/Batman movie along with an official logo so I thought I should comment on that too.

The Bat Suit

My initial impression is that I do like the new suit. I'm not a big fan of shorter ears on the Cowl but it never used to bother me with Adam West's cowl so it's not a real issue for me.

I've heard a lot of comparisons of Ben's suit to the Frank Miller, Dark Knight Returns Batman and also the Jim Lee Batman and I certainly can see the similarities. It's also not unlike the suit used in the Batman Arkham Asylum video games - which is what I was kind of hoping for in terms of a suit redesign for the big screen movies.

From Left: Frank Miller Batman, Jim Lee Batman, Arkham Asylum Batman.

Ben's suit with the
brightness turned up.
Director, Kevin Smith, who got an early sneak peak at the suit - in color - says it's an exact match to the suit Batman wears in Book 3 of Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns. Which he says is why he hugged Zack Snyder upon seeing it (Kevin has repeatedly said in podcasts that The Dark Knight Returns is almost like his bible on the Batman mythos).

At first glance Ben's suit looks a bit like a return to the rubber, muscle sculpted suits started in the Tim Burton movies but with a closer look and a bit of photo editing to brighten up Zach's photo it actually looks more material like,
Captain America.
along the lines of Captain America's S.H.I.E.L.D. suit in Winter Soldier.

From my point of view that's a good thing. Sure Batman needs a suit that provides some protection but why people think he needs to be bullet proof is beyond me?

He's the kind of crime fighter that generally avoids being shot at with stealth moves... and seriously, all live action Batman suits to date offer limited protection against a head shot. Basically you can kill Batman the same way you kill a zombie - if he lets you get a shot in!

To me the Bat suit is more about aesthetics. Sure it needs to be practical and functional but the point of the look is to be intimidating and scary first and foremost. If it was totally about function Batman would be dressing more like a US Marine and his name would be redundant because he just wouldn't look like a Bat.

One thing that would be nice to see is Batman getting a nice CGI cape like Superman's since, how Batman's cape moves is a big part of how he is drawn in the comic books.

The Batmobile

Last year rumor had it the Batmobile would be modeled on an 'old Cadillac' and that the car was being built by the same team who designed and built the vehicles for Transformers 4. The day before Zack Snyder released the image of Ben in the suit next to the Batmobile he released this image of the Batmobile under a tarp.

Rear view of the new Batmobile.
Hardly looks like a Cadillac of any sort does it when you team it with the Bat suit image? Kevin Smith hinted on a recent podcast that maybe Batman would have more than one car (and suit) in the upcoming film so maybe the 'old Cadillac' version is still a possibility?

I'd heard there was some concept art floating around the internet of the new Batmobile but have yet to uncover or locate it. What I did find was a couple of unofficial images that give more clues as to what the vehicle under the tarp looks like.

Unofficial photos of the new Batmobile.

Comparing these images to the official image with Batman standing next to the car it looks like the canopy slides forward - and is open in that picture. You can tell this as in the Batman picture you can see the front wheel with a similar tread pattern to the vehicle in the unofficial photo above. The canopy is very close to the front wheel but in the unofficial images it's set more towards the rear.

In the official photo with Batman it also looks like the car may have gull wing like doors - so Batman can simply step out rather than climb out perhaps?

I've heard speculation that maybe this Batmobile is dual purpose, with all those air intakes it may double as the Batplane? Despite the some what aerodynamic looks of the front, that rear end shot makes it look too much of a tank to fly - and there's no obvious jet thruster/engine either - but you never know.

To me it looks like a cross between the Tumbler of Nolan's films and the Batmobile that appears in the Arkham Knights video game. There's elements from both with a bit of the old 1990's Batmobiles thrown in too.

Arkham Knights Batmobile.
Although I like most of the Batmobiles we've had on film, even the slightly more outlandish Joel Schumacher versions, I'm not a big fan of Batman having such big or tank like cars. The 1966, Adam West, Batmobile has always seemed the most practical for a city based crime fighter who generally doesn't go up against armies. It's quick, reasonably compact, has a few useful gadgets and looks damn cool.

Whilst I wouldn't suggest the '66 Batmobile would work in a modern Batman movie my preference is for something modern that looks more at home on tarmac, is streamlined and easily maneuverable in a city environment. More Lamborghini than Hummer. I like what we've seen of the new Batmobile but if there's a second vehicle to come - fingers crossed for the 'old Cadillac' version.

The Movie Title and Logo

Batman v Superman - Dawn of Justice is the new movie title. Below is the official logo that is not dissimilar to the one released when the movie was first announced.

Movie Logo and title.
I'm pretty happy with the title. Some people say it's cheesy or too 'comic booky' but I tend to agree with others that it serves the purpose of the film, and basically confirms what I've said, that this film is a Justice League origin story.

That said, I have to say this... oh crap! Yet another origin story! @**!!!! swear words!

Look I'm not against origin stories as such. Batman Begins, Man of Steel, Iron Man, Captain America, X-men First Class, Wolverine, Fantastic Four, Green Lantern and both Spiderman and its reboot are all good origin films to varying degrees. I'm just sayin' - there's quite a lot of them in the comic book movie genre.

Batman '89 did one thing that future films should take note of. Although it was an origin film, Batman was already fully realized at the start of the film. You got to learn his history in short flash backs. The origin wasn't the focus of film. If anything it was a Joker origin story.

But I digress. My point is I'd like to see more superhero movies that have a starting point of the superhero fully realized right out of the gate. Hopefully that's what we might get when the officially announced Justice League movie comes out. Established heroes going up against some new threat or challenge.

For me that's one of the highlights of Ben's Batman. Finally we get to see what an established Batman, with years of experience behind him, might look like. Crossing my fingers there's no scene with him crying into a beer with Superman sharing 'dead parent' stories.

Anyhow... back to the title and logo. Thumbs up from me. Title is fine. Subtitle makes it sound a bit like a Transformers movie but otherwise, I'm happy. The logo is pretty much the same as what we've gotten used to since Batman was first announced as being in the Man of Steel sequel.

I really don't care that Batman has first billing in the title. If Batman can help cement Superman's place as arguably the world's most recognized Superhero then let him help. The important thing is that this movie does really well, followed strongly with the Justice league film. After that DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers will hopefully be on firmer ground with comic book movies and perhaps we'll see those Batman and Superman solo films along with Wonder Woman and maybe a better Green Lantern film too.

In the meantime, if you want a kind of preview of what a grey and black Bat suit looks like in a live action film I stumbled across this half hour fan made short that portrays a pretty good Batman. Christian Bale's Batman might have been almost perfect if he'd done the voice more along this actor's take. It's not brilliant or a perfect take on Batman's world but for a fan made film it's outstanding.


Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel features an all star cast and tells the story of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at the famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend.

Their story includes the theft and recovery of a priceless painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune.

Although this is a fun film for anyone who enjoys a tall tale with slightly dark and odd ball humor I would highly recommend this as a great film to study for aspiring film makers.

Packed full of old school effects and scale models, that give the film a unique style, proving that you don't need flashy CGI... just a really good art department. Very inspirational to film makers in that regard.

Beyond that, the trailer, I thought, presented a film that I expected to be more laugh out loud funny however the film's humor is a little darker and a bit more subtle.

I also expected much more from many of the cast members which includes; Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson and Tony Revolori.

In particular I'll go and see a film on the strength of Bill Murray being in it. Sadly he barely says much at all here and doesn't get much screen time to do anything other than fill a role that could have gone to anyone.

Edward Norton is usually someone to watch too. Whilst he is used well here, and he gets a lot to do, his part could have gone to anyone with the right look.

Fortunately the film is carried well by the main players, Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H and Tony Revolori as his long suffering but trusted co-collaborating lobby boy, Zero. Two characters that you really do latch on to and hope it all works out.

Willem Dafoe also puts in a very memorably scary performance as Jopling - I'd go so far as to say Willem was born to play the role - which doesn't have a lot of dialogue but his character certainly has a presence that is very much enhanced by his performance.

Overall, The Grand Budapest Hotel tells such a charming and intriguing story in such a way that you'll likely forgive any short comings like the actor you went to see it for having very little screen time.

It's a little edgy and dark but not so dark you'll be offended or put off. It has an interesting style that seems to hark back to movie making of a by gone era but still seems very contemporary.

Most of all, you'll have a good time watching the misadventures of the legendary concierge, Gustave H and his lobby boy, Zero.

Power to the Frog Van... the Elusive Fuse

Some days I'm just plain unlucky.

I bought a brand new battery for my Frog Van. The old one died after being recharged one too many times and the van not being used enough to keep it charged (it was a second hand battery anyway).

The Frog Van.
A couple of weeks ago I was installing the new battery and accidentally shorted the negative terminal with the frame of the van as I was tightening the bolt. Just one of those things. You turn the metal spanner a bit too far and hit something you didn't realize was in the way, one big spark later and the entire electrics on the van are dead.

Nothing. Turn the key and not so much as an oil check light on the dash turns on.

If you know anything about cars then you're probably thinking it's just a blown fuse. That's what I think too. I've checked the battery and it's still got charge. Even stuck it on my charger for a few hours just in case. I hooked the charger up to the van and that didn't change anything. Still no power anywhere.

Thing is, I can't find the fuse that may have blown. Every fuse in the fuse box under the dashboard is fine. Many cars have a second fuse box under the bonnet that includes a main fuse - the kind of fuse I'm trying to find.

I've looked everywhere around the van's engine that you'd expect to find a main fuse and so far haven't found anything. Not so much as an inline fuse container.

The thing is, I could probably get a mechanic in to fix the problem but I don't want to pay to have a mechanic come out and swap over a fuse. I can do that... all I need is to find it.

Hopefully getting hold of a Nissan Vanette owners manual from the library will reveal the location of the fuse - just waiting for the book to be transferred to my local library.

In the meantime... if anyone owns (or has owned) a 1986 Nissan Vanette and has some clue of where to find this fuse, I'd really appreciate it if you'd leave a comment with directions.

Movie: Captain America, The Winter Soldier

Captain America, The Winter Soldier, in my opinion, cements the character alongside Iron Man as one of the most compelling characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only that but Captain America is filling the void of the all American Superhero that was formerly occupied by Superman on the big screen (Henry Cavill's Man of Steel isn't quite there yet but could be if he puts in the work the way Cap has).

Through three films (including Winter Soldier) Captain America, a.k.a. Steve Rodgers, has stuck to his 1940's morals and beliefs of basic human dignity and being a fine, upstanding citizen, whilst being one of the most awesome superheroes to watch against any opponent he goes up against.

If you haven't seen the movie yet, watch the second official trailer below and then go see the film. The rest of this article (after the video below) is filled with spoilers as I really want to share my thoughts about the good and some minor issues I have with the film.

If you enjoyed The Avengers then this film is easily that good with a more surprising plot that won't leave you feeling short changed (like the Mandarin plot twist of Iron Man 3). I'd go so far as to say it's the first Marvel film in this MCU series that encourages you to think a little harder whilst still allowing you to enjoy the ride. I'd also say that this movie is as close to a direct sequel to The Avengers as you can get without all of the Avengers assembling.



Spoilers from here on. You have been warned.

Right off the top I'm going to address the elephant in the room and go off on a tagent. With all these post Avengers films it always makes me wonder, where are the other Avengers?

Sure Tony Stark turned all his suits into a firework display in Iron Man 3 but not a single Avenger even checked in on him or was concerned about the Mandarin during that film. Not so much as a SHIELD agent showed any concern... yet SHIELD was all over him in Iron Man 1 and 2.

Thor, The Dark World takes place over a single day - which is the excuse given for the lack of SHIELD agents in that film... and I guess Stark was still building a new Iron Man suit, but what about War Machine a.k.a. The Iron Patriot?

That leads me in to Winter Soldier which takes place over three days. Which is the flimsy excuse given for a no show for the other Avengers. However, we've all seen how quick Tony can get into an Iron Man suit and fly half way around the world to Afghanistan... and again, if he doesn't have suits, what about War Machine?

I'm prepared to give Hulk a pass because MCU Bruce Banner is some what a reluctant hero still coming to terms with where the Hulk fits in. He seems more interested in finding a cure for the Hulk than becoming a superhero.

Hawkeye is part of SHIELD. I've heard a scene was filmed for Winter Soldier but was cut that explains his absence. Fair enough.

Which leaves Thor, the Earth's defender supposedly, who is a no show when it comes to protecting Earth from its self apparently. As mentioned, his movie took place over a day. He had no trouble travelling between realms in that time.

Anyhow, fortunately we got more Black Widow, Nick Fury and even got a new hero, the Falcon. I'm not disappointed at the low Avenger count in Winter Soldier, I'm just sayin'... when these characters exist in the same continuity you do wonder where they are? Especially when it's SHIELD that is imploding.

[NOTE: I do know that Marvel have done video shorts and comic books that explain and/or fill gaps within the main films. They're even starting to use the TV series Agents of SHIELD to further plot lines but you really have to search these things out... and they don't address everything.]

One of my favorite things from The Avengers movie was the Helicarrier. The reveal of the new Helicarriers - now with new Stark Industries Jet Turbine engines - early on in Winter Soldier is one of the first clues that something isn't all that right with SHIELD. It was cool to see them and I immediately thought... they have a lot more gun turrets than I remember. By a lot more I mean... is there an invasion that'll make the Battle of New York seem like 'Tuesday' coming that we don't know about?

I did like Cap's new SHIELD uniform but was glad to see him don his original war time outfit during the final battle of the film. It's still the best Captain America suit design so far.

We get to see Cap do a lot of fighting both in and out of uniform, proving that he is Captain America no matter what. Unlike Tony Stark who needed a whole movie just to figure out he is Iron man. What's great about Cap's fights is they always seem totally believable for him and his abilities. Even when he jumps off of multi-story buildings to ground level without breaking stride.


Not only that, even though his shield's physics and how he uses it are total nonsense, you totally buy into it. Cap can work out in an instant just the right point to bounce that shield off for it to lodge in an engine or take out a bad guy and have it return to him afterward on occasion too.

The humor of this movie isn't forced at all. I definitely appreciated Black Widow's multi-tasking, trying to fix Steve Rogers up with a date during a covert operation - great character interaction and great action at the same time. More of that please.

Falcon was a great addition to this movie though he did feel a little out of his depth in terms of his action sequences. The Winter Soldier really took him down without much effort (as he should). However Falcon's alter ego Sam Wilson was a good fit as a friend to Steve Rogers and will be fun to see continued into future films.

Probably the worst kept secret of the film was Bucky's return as the Winter Soldier. Although he has title billing he's not really the main villain of the film. That said he really is played by Sebastian Stan as a very believable 'force of nature' style villain. Every encounter with him didn't seem to slow him down much at all other than to delay his mission. It really seemed like even Captain America had no clue on how to break him.

That said, Steve Rogers attempts to find Bucky underneath the hard exterior draws a lot of similarity to Luke Skywalker's attempts to redeem Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi. Though it's probably closer to RoboCop's attempts to rediscover his humanity and the person he used to be in Bucky's case. Either way, it's not a problem with the plot and I like that it wasn't the main focus of the film. More of a side plot that looks as if it'll feed into a future film.

The whole take over of SHIELD by HYDRA was a plot twist I didn't see coming (and really made all those guns on the Helicarriers make sense). The most awesome thing about it was that HYDRA was revealed to have been infiltrating SHIELD from the very beginning. In doing so you suddenly start to think about all the Marvel movies from phase 1. Particularly the first Captain America movie and to a lesser extent the Iron Man films and their references to Howard Stark.

With one idea, HYDRA infiltrating SHIELD from the beginning, The Winter Soldier becomes an important tent peg movie of both phase 1 and 2 Marvel films. In fact this movie changes the course of everything in the MCU. Will be interesting to see if the outcome of this film has any influence on The Guardians of the Galaxy due out in August or whether that movie will be more stand alone and the Avengers sequel is where the story continues.

I really enjoyed the HYDRA plot twist and was among the many people relieved that Robert Redford's character didn't reveal himself to be the Red Skull. If he had, I'm sure that would've been done well but I kind of liked Hugo Weaving in the role. I think it's highly possible, if Bucky can return, the original Red Skull can too.

One minor irritation I had was the 'magic hole digger/cutter' equipment that both Nick Fury and Maria Hill use to escape vehicles by the sewer system (presumably). This equipment is never seen or explained and seems a very convenient plot device. It turns out Fitz (from the TV show Agents of SHIELD) invented this device - which was never given to regular SHIELD Agents - hence the lack of wide spread use. I can give a pass for all that but why does no one ever seem to follow the people down the hole? Did I miss something? Does the hole fill in again?

My other issue is with how just three people can take down three Helicarriers just by changing a circuit board located conveniently in the underside of the carriers. Admittedly the three are not ordinary people but who the heck designs a massive warship with such a flaw as a single circuit board can retarget all the weapons? ...and, if you do, put it somewhere a bit more protected.

There's probably a lot more I could mention that I really liked about this film and not too much that I didn't.  Of the phase 2 Marvel films it's the most satisfying in terms of its place in the MCU and evolving the story post Avengers. It also makes Captain America one of the most interesting characters in the MCU. You really hope that he finds out what it is he wants do - you know, when he's not being a superhero.

Review: The Lego Movie - Spoiler Free

As a life long Lego tragic I was always going to see The Lego Movie at some point.

The basic story is that of construction worker, Emmet, a seemingly unremarkable mini figure, who discovers he is more special than he could possibly imagine through a quest to save the world from President Business and his 'Kragle'. Along the way he is assisted by a few familiar faces, including Lego Batman and his very capable girlfriend Wyldstyle.

I hadn't been too impressed by a previous direct to DVD Lego film, Batman: The Movie, which had most of the funniest moments in the trailer and not much for adults to enjoy in the actual film. However with The Lego Movie getting almost universal rave reviews I was confident of being entertained by a family film rather than being bored by a kids movie.

I wasn't disappointed. The Lego Movie is a true family film with moments for all ages scattered evenly through out along with plenty of action and visually interesting scenes that pretty much keep everyone engaged.

The plot is fairly straight forward but not so predictable that you won't be surprised along the way. I will say the ending, whilst it does not disappoint, was a bit slow and a tad sappy for me compared to the rest of the film... but hey, it does put the rest of the film into context and is very relate-able to anyone who grew up with Lego and still enjoys the bricks as an adult.

Unlike previous Lego films, where the mini figure characters are a lot more flexible, all the characters articulate just like real mini figures (no bending at the knees or elbows etc.). Teamed with the directors wanting to make everything look like it could be built with real Lego bricks it's not surprising many people have been fooled into thinking the film is not all CGI. (I must admit I wasn't even sure it wasn't stop motion just by looking at the trailer).

I really think that this is the way all Lego films should be made. Watching the Lego Batman movie I was never marveling at the Lego world or thinking about how things were constructed. In the Lego Movie you really do notice the environment and are consciously imagining that somebody had to build all that. It never feels like a CGI film.

For example, President Business, in his Lord Business suit that towers over everyone, could easily be created by anyone with the pieces used to construct him. Indeed, the movie is filled with floating Lego brick codes for specific pieces, as models are being built, should you want to track them down for your own models.

Scattered throughout are many pop-culture references as well as references to different generations of Lego, past and present that the adult audience members will appreciate.

I particularly enjoyed Benny, the 1980-something space guy, who is from my generation of Town and Space Lego. The peak of my Lego collecting as a child before I graduated to Lego Technic.

If you're from that generation you'll remember you could only get red or white spaceman mini figures to begin with. Then they released blue, black and even all yellow spacemen later.

The voice cast of The Lego Movie is all spot on with a few great cameos and some interesting but cool casting for anyone who likes comic book, superhero movies (e.g. Cobie Smulders voicing Wonder Woman, Chris Pratt as Emmet).

Only Morgan Freeman's voice registered as Morgan Freeman rather than his character, Vitruvius, largely because I could never get his character's name to stick in my head. Plus his character, for whatever reason, just kept making me think of the time Morgan played God in the movie Bruce Almighty.

Overall this is an enjoyable film deserving of the good word of mouth and great reviews it has received. By default it is a big advertisement for Lego but given how much creativity the product has inspired I don't think that's such a bad thing. Most importantly it's entertaining for the whole family on several levels. I, for one, hope that future Lego movies build (pun intended) on this pretty solid foundation.

Plant More Trees

In an effort to do my bit for the environment I decided to plant more trees and now I can't see my television.

An observant friend asked why didn't I plant the trees outside as if this was the obvious thing to do. I asked him why would I do that? Trees have no trouble growing outside all by themselves. Just look out the window and you'll see plenty of trees.

Besides, planting the trees indoors meant I could cover the floors in dirt and completely eliminate the need to vacuum. Win for me and a win for the trees I thought.

I think the real problem was I didn't consult a landscaper. I'm sure they would have advised against planting trees in the space between my couch and the TV. At the time I just never thought about anything other than plant more trees.

In hindsight I don't think I'm actually very good at this environmental stuff.

We Cross LIVE to Our Reporter... Who is Nowhere Crucial.

In modern television news broadcasts having a reporter LIVE on the scene is something of a cornerstone. From waiting for the exact moment some high profile prisoner is released to being on the scene of the announcement of a new Pope or birth of a Royal Baby, TV stations strive to have someone they can cross LIVE to for the very latest update.

Whilst there's nothing wrong with that, the Nine Television Network Australia, who are responsible for television shows that will have all Australia talking, newscasts are making a habit of crossing LIVE to reporters that aren't anywhere crucial to the story they are reporting on. In fact, what usually happens is they cross LIVE to the reporter who introduces and talks over a previously taped package before throwing back to the studio.

Again there's nothing actually wrong with that. I get that visually it helps to make the news more interesting to watch and hearing from another voice is good for the ears too. My only issue is, not only do they say 'we cross live to...' they also show a specific 'Live' graphic as a transition to the cross, implying that being LIVE is somehow important or critical to the report. This, despite it being very unlikely that breaking news will happen in the background relevant to the report being given.

Look, it's great to cross LIVE to a reporter if they're on the scene at a potentially critical moment but if that reporter is just out and about (possibly as close as in front of the TV Studio) so they can stand in front of an interesting background, there's no need to make a feature of it. Just cross to the reporter and tell the story. Make a feature of a LIVE report from the scene when it really matters.


Nine News, Adelaide.
Every Cross to Reporter is billed as LIVE.

Holy Grail Found... not in same place as your lost car keys!

Probably not the two historians
who claim to have found
the Holy Grail.
Two historians say they've found the elusive Holy Grail, A.K.A. the Cup of Christ, drunk from by Jesus himself at the last supper. Apparently the jewel-encrusted goblet has been on display for nearly one thousand years at the San Isidro Basilica Church in the northwestern Spanish city of Leon.

Who can really say if this cup is the real one with 200 or so other cups clamoring for the title and said historians only doing three years of research to arrive at their conclusion. I mean Indiana Jones' dad spent his whole life searching for the Grail. I bet they didn't even have a single Nazi pursuing them during their research or got a single clue from a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.

With the news breaking on March 31st many have thought the announcement to be an early April Fool's day joke, but enough people have taken the news seriously to cause the church to remove their Grail from display until a bigger space can be found to accommodate the masses.

Seems like a good time for the chalice to mysteriously disappear so one of them science boffins can't come along and test it proper for Jesus DNA. Wouldn't want them to get any ideas about growing their own Jesus in a lab somewhere.

Unlike your lost car keys - which probably won't turn up in a Spanish Church - it would be a little disappointing if the Holy Grail was found. As the ultimate artifact it's given a lot of people something to do for hundreds of years - and the quest to find it is certainly more exciting than trying to remember where you last had your car keys.

The Blog Post That Will Have All Australia Talking!

I've written about television show promotions using over inflated taglines that are total exaggerations of what will actually happen on the program before in This Blog Post Will Change Everything.

Lately the Nine Television Network Australia has been favoring the tagline "The episode that will have all Australia talking!" (I may be paraphrasing but I'm fairly certain that's the tagline). It's been used to promote new episodes of at least two shows currently airing on the network; Fat Tony & Co and Love Child.

The former is based on one of Australia's most notorious underworld figures whilst the latter tells the stories of young women and men fighting an unjust system in 1969 at the Kings Cross Hospital.

I've been watching both shows and whist each is fairly dramatic, with their fair share of twists and turns, it's nothing that we haven't really seen before. Certainly nothing that'll get all Australia talking.

Neither is exactly The Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones or the season finale of Breaking Bad. Two shows that I've never watched (well not quite never. I recently watched the pilot episode of Breaking Bad) but seemed to have a good proportion of the Internet talking when those particular episodes were aired. Heck even I had a fair idea of what happened in the aforementioned episodes.

Clearly a tagline like "The episode that will get all Australia talking" is designed to make a show sound more epic and important than it actually is. Using it in my blog post title certainly makes this article sound more important - but ultimately it disappoints (probably like this blog post).

Personally I would rather TV show promos were more episode specific and steer clear of generic taglines that could be applied to anything to achieve the same level of disappointment.

The only time I can think of when this tagline is appropriate is for a weather report...

"The weather that will have all Australia talking!"

Because really, really dramatic weather is about the only thing that does get Australia talking.





Movie Review: The Monuments Men (Spoiler free)

The Monuments men written by (with Grant Heslov), directed and stars George Clooney and features Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman and Cate Blanchett is, I feel, an important film, based on a true story, but was not quite what I was expecting.

Set during the final years of World War II, Frank Stokes (Clooney) puts together a team of misfit soldiers, with more knowledge between them about art history than war or fighting. The team is charged with the task of locating and returning important works of art stolen by the Nazis during the course of the war, spirited away, destined to either be destroyed or appear in Hilter's great art museum.

It's certainly an interesting story from the great war. That anyone had the foresight to rescue as much art as they did, in light of the death, destruction and general harsh conditions faced by everyone involved.

Although I was aware the Nazis did destroy and steal quite a considerable amount of significant artworks it's one of those aspects of World War II that isn't widely known in the mainstream. Which is why I feel this film is important.

Not only does the movie attempt to show the massive scale of the Nazis theft it also goes some way to explaining why art actually matters to culture and people. Something that is often missed by those who tend to pass art off as frivolous to society.

What I wasn't expecting was the very measured and low key pacing of the film. Whilst I was never bored the slow pace could have been filled with more character moments. Especially with great comedic actors like John Goodman and Bill Murray, who pretty much get as much screen time as everyone else but feel a little under used. John Goodman has a great, humorous line in the trailer that isn't actually used in the same scene in the film.

As a quick aside it's good to see Cate Blanchett doing an authentic French accent (to my ear at least) rather than that overplayed German accent she used in the last Indiana Jones movie.

Overall The Monuments Men is a solid film with good performances from all the cast. It does have really great high moments and a few low points that may get your eyes watering. It's not quite the character driven film I was hoping for but the story is interesting and thought provoking enough to keep you entertained. You may even learn something too.

Worth seeing in a cinema but it's probably a film that's going to become essential viewing for students of art history in years to come.


Let the Robot Win...

C-3PO
If there's one thing that could set off the Robot uprising it's beating them at sports. C-3PO in Star Wars: A New Hope observed that "nobody worries about upsetting a droid" and I think that could be the downfall of the human race.

Robot manufacturer, Kuka Robotics, have developed a robot arm that can match it with one of the world's best table tennis players, former world number one, Timo Boll. Well at least that's what they want us to believe. See their promotion video below.



If you watch the making of this video (below) you'll get the sense that the match probably wasn't real with some fairly extreme plays being staged for dramatic effect.



Personally I think the arm is probably fast enough to play table tennis but is actually no real match for Timo. However... there in lies the problem. If we keep beating robots at sports they're going to develop low self esteem until one day a robot just snaps and the robot uprising begins!

In order to prevent that day we should perhaps adopt a safer strategy of letting the robot win. It could save our lives.


Hoverboards are Finally Here... Hmmmm?

A new video going around by HUVr Tech is trying to convince us that they've finally invented the hoverboard exactly like those that appear in the Back to the Future movies.

A bunch of stars are featured including original Doc Emmertt Brown, Christopher Lloyd, professional skateboarder, Tony Hawk (of course) and international musician, Moby.

The video claims that the demonstration is 100 percent real but I gotta say the hokey physics displayed by people actually riding these HUVr boards is just as dodgy as the original movies. Not to mention the whole demonstration feels completely staged with not a genuine emotion about how awesome the invention of real hoverboards would actually be.



There's speculation that the video and companion website may be a promotion for a fourth movie in the BTTF series but my money is on a Virtual Reality computer game of some sort.

Why do I think that? First because the website talks about an upcoming phone app that tracks your location whilst riding your HUVr board (supposedly connected to your board via bluetooth).

Second 'HUVr' is an acronym for something with the deliberate lowercase 'r'. It's not just a cool text-speak way to write 'hover'. At a guess I'm going with 'Heads Up Virtual Reality'.

Whatever the site is really a promotion for, I guess we'll find out in December of 2014, the destination time shown on a counter at the top of HUVr Tech's website.

Of course they may have actually developed an anti-gravity skateboard but you can bet your life, if they had, you wouldn't need a bunch of stars to try and give it credibility. That sh*t sells its self!

For another article talking about who may be behind this read Heavy's post; HUVr Tech ‘Real Hoverboard’ Is a Hoax: 10 Fast Facts You Need to Know by Tucker Cummings.


[Updated: 6th March 2014]

Unsurprisingly it turns out the HUVr tech video was entirely a prank by website Funny or Die who were busted by Mashable when a costume designer added their work on the shoot to their online resume (I'm thinking that person probably won't be working on anything that requires secrecy anytime soon).

Both Christopher Lloyd and Tony Hawk have made apology videos. Tony's is embeded below. Whilst I knew it wasn't real I am disappointed it's not a promotional video for any upcoming Back to the Future tie in of any sort.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Trailer Goodness.


I don't usually write about trailers but Guardians of the Galaxy is a Marvel film that I'm really hoping does well with mainstream audiences so I thought I'd help spread the word.

The thing is, I can't really tell you much about the film. I've never read a single Guardians comic book that the film is based upon. I'm mainly interested because the film has a lead character that is a raccoon with anger issues. I really want to see how that translates to a live action film. Watch the trailer below. Let the playlist play through and you'll see all the individual character trailers too.



As you can see the film clearly isn't taking its self too seriously but it looks like director, James Gunn, has made every effort to make a trailer full of very strange looking characters believable and with a certain cool factor. Even Groot (the talking tree), who sounds the least likely of characters to be interesting looks formidable.

For me though, it's all about Rocket Raccoon. In an era where Warner Bros. and DC has struggled to get a mainstream Wonder Woman movie into theaters, Marvel has managed to put up a film where a talking raccoon is succeeding as a major draw card. So many people seem like they're looking forward to seeing Rocket on the big screen and it's their number one reason to see the film.

Personally I want this film to succeed because it opens the way for a much bigger Marvel Universe. Presently only the Thor films (and to a lessor extent the Avengers films) are really expanding into the cosmos.

If Guardians did well it's sequels could really be some of the most amazing and fun adventures you're ever likely to see in a cinema.

Be sure to check it out in August 2014.

Movie Review: The Book Thief

I haven't read the novel that The Book Thief is based upon but my partner, Enigma, has and informed me that, as is often the case, quite a bit is left out of the film.

I don't think Enigma enjoyed the movie any less as a result but it did leave her thinking about the differences from the book.

On the other hand I got to watch the story unfold as a movie with no such comparisons to make, just the film on its own merits.

The story is set in Germany just prior to the outbreak of World War II. A young girl, Liesel (Sophie NĂ©lisse) is fostered by a German couple, a fairly strict mother, Rosa (Emily Watson) and a more forgiving father, Hans (Geoffrey Rush).

Liesel's love of books leads her to begin stealing them despite the fact that she can't read. Hans begins to teach Liesel and eventually her new found knowledge begins to affect everyone around her, including the Jewish stowaway her foster parents hide in their basement.

My impression of this film is that it's essentially a 'slice of life' kind of film. It starts out painting a very vivid picture of what Liesel's life has been and then what it will be with her new foster parents. 

Then the Jewish boy arrives, who turns out to be the son of a man who once saved Hans life in the previous war. Much is made of an accordion Han's owns that he says once belonged to his friend. At that point I expected the story to pick up and escalate to some new danger because of something hidden in the accordion. Especially when Hans is seen fixing it.

However that's not where the story goes and the accordion becomes important for entirely different reasons. The film, from there on, never really develops other than watching the characters reacting to life and the war as it unfolds around them.

Which is fine. It's a very good movie that is well acted and, I imagine, is a fairly good representation of what pre-war Germany was like as Nazi-ism spread. You definitely feel for all the characters even some of the minor, supporting characters that are only in the film momentarily. You particularly feel for Hans and Rosa who are trying to balance being loyal German citizens against a political climate that they don't agree with but cannot speak out against.

It did make me wonder about life in pre-war Germany. Supporters of Hitler and his Government are nearly always depicted as fairly severe, heartless individuals. Especially those working for the military. I find myself wondering if there were families in Germany that agreed with Hitler's politics but still came across as average, everyday, personable citizens who you'd be happy to invite over for dinner (just don't get them started on politics).

The Book Thief is not a particularly memorable film. Only Liesel has a fully developed story arc which ends in exposition. I would have much rather the film end with a little more flair, a little more show and a little less tell.

Geoffrey Rush and Emma Watson are both very believable as German citizens speaking with English/German accents that don't sound cheesy or like a parody of the language. Sophie as Liesel really does carry the film - and is worth seeing in this role just as much as Geoffrey and Emma are worth seeing in theirs.

Despite that, I didn't find too much of the story sticking with me after the film was over. For a pre-world war II film set in Germany I expected a lot more drama, intrigue and story than what's presented. After a very strong first half, there are dramatic moments in the second half that stand out but loose their impact by the way the film ends in exposition.

I wasn't disappointed but it seemed like this film had more potential that really wasn't explored. Not essential to see in a theatre but you won't leave thinking it wasn't worth the price of admission.

Movie Opinion: Kick Ass 2 - How did they get it so wrong?

Like The Lone Ranger I didn't go to see Kick Ass 2 in the theatre because of its consistently bad reviews - despite being a big fan of the first film. Unlike The Lone Ranger, which I thought had potential if they'd done a few things differently, Kick Ass 2 almost completely misses the mark for what I hoped it might be.

SPOILERS: This is not a review. There will be spoilers right from the very next paragraph. Don't read if you haven't seen the film and still hope to go in not knowing what happens.

One of the most interesting things to me about this film, aside from the continuing story of the main cast, was Jim Carrey's presence, playing a character very different to anything I'd seen him do before. It's a character you barely get to know and, when he is killed about half way through the film, I was disappointed they killed off Jim Carrey rather than sad for the death of his character, Colonel Stars and Stripes.

Not only that but Colonel Stars and Stripes was really the only other credible superhero after Hit Girl on the side of the good guys. They really needed him in the battle at the end to make an unbelievable win for the good guys a little less unbelievable.

Jim Carrey could have added so much more to this film. I wasn't actually a big fan of his character, who comes across more of a thug than a good guy superhero. It's not that surprising that Jim felt he couldn't promote the film.

Beyond Jim, the first film set up Kick Ass and Hit Girl giving up the superhero life and going back to every day life. Hit Girl is living with Detective Marcus Williams, Big Daddy's best friend on the force from the previous film, entrusted with keeping her safe. That's fine.

We come into Kick Ass 2 with that premise but learn that Hit Girl is still being Hit Girl and Dave wants back in to the superhero life by becoming her sidekick.

It all starts to go south when Chris Diamico A.K.A. Red Mist, who is no longer Red Mist but takes on the ridiculous, whiney mantle of The Mother Fucker. A character who is a long way off from the "Wait 'till they get a load of me" villain he seemed to propose at the end of the first film.

Red Mist's new incarnation as the Mother Fucker might have worked better if it wasn't so obvious that the three main actors have all aged a few years. For a guy who's seen his dad killed, kills his own mother and hears his friend/assistant/body guard killed by his Uncle, he doesn't seem to take much from these experiences. Why the whole scene with his uncle is even in this film I'll never know as nothing substantial comes of it. It's treated as a small stepping stone to Chris realizing his potential as a super villain.

Mentally Red Mist's character never grows and he doesn't come across as a guy anyone would want to work for, even though he pays exceptionally well. Any one of the people in his gang could easily over power him and get hold of his money a lot faster. Especially since his uncle - who had more credibility as a bad ass in one scene than Chris does over two films - wasn't backing him up.

As a villain the Mother Fucker is unlikable in every way. Which is what you want in a villain but you also need to feel respect for them to be a true villain. Chris just doesn't cut it. Would have been far better to follow the uncle storyline with Chris still trying to earn the respect he just never had.

If you're like me, you really wanted to see more of Hit Girl in this movie right? Did you want to see more of her dancing in a faux fight scene? Did you want to see her being sweet ol' Mindy Macready trying to fit in with the 'cool' kids? Did you want to see her most awesome fight scene, not in costume? Did you want to see her get her ass handed to her in the climatic fight scene and only able to overcome a single protagonist via an adrenalin drug injection - despite, through two films she's shown she's a master at taking out multiple bad guys all bigger than her and barely raising a sweat?

What I like about Hit Girl in this film is that she doesn't feel she needs a team and isn't really that interested in having a side kick. She never involves herself with all the wanna be superheroes until the final fight and even then she goes for the toughest villain in the room and let's everyone else do their thing.

This film should have been all about Hit Girl Training Kick Ass to be a real superhero of her level whilst they worked on tracking down an actual crime boss (Chris' Uncle perhaps). Instead it was mostly about The Mother Fucker and his single minded and very poorly executed goal to get revenge on Kick Ass.

To top all that off Detective Marcus, who played a relatively important role in the first film is reduced to not only an ineffective guardian but also an ineffective cop. He never does anything even remotely credible to try and stop the violence. Then, when the police do start making a pro-active move they arrest all the good superheroes with no real evidence of any crime having been committed.

Even Kick Ass's own father, pretending to be Kick Ass, says that the police have no evidence and would have to let him go, yet somehow other members of the superhero team are out on parole despite doing less actual superhero work than Kick Ass in two films?

Marcus should have been trying to work the same case as Hit Girl and Kick Ass. Would have made for a good cat and mouse between them as Hit Girl and Kick Ass try to avoid being found out by Marcus.

At several points through Kick Ass 2 they showed Big Daddy's suit stored in a nice glass display case at some base that Hit Girl has (no doubt another safe house). I got the impression that by the end of the movie someone would be wearing that suit, but I didn't think it would be Kick Ass. Even then he was only wearing bits of it and it didn't really mean much. He was just wearing it.

There's no way Hit Girl would have let Kick Ass be Big Daddy's successor. Especially since he was partially responsible for the guys death. How interesting might it have been to see Jim Carrey play a character on the same level as Big Daddy and ultimately take on that role? I might have seen this movie in a theatre just for that.

I know this film is based on a comic book and that the first film kind of follows the characters origin story from the comics. I'm not sure if this sequel follows any comic book storyline. If it does then I can see how they might have ended up with this by trying to be faithful to a comic. If not then there was a much better film to be made with these characters.

It's a franchise that goes on and on about trying to be a superhero in real life yet this sequel looked more like a bad comic book movie than any effort to make it seem like a film attempting to ground its self in reality. Even though the first film had elements of escapist fantasy they blended much better with what the movie was trying to be.

In Kick Ass 2 we have a Super Villain that isn't even on the same level as Arnold Schwarzenegger's Mr Freeze in Batman and Robin. And there was nothing awesome about Mother Russia... could have stuck tubes in the back of her head and called her 'Bane'. The Hit Girl in Kick Ass 1 would've picked up a gun and shot her in the face.

On the plus side, if they did make a sequel with Hit Girl, this movie establishes her as being Hit Girl and not wrestling with trying to get back her childhood.  On the downside, the end credit final scene shows The Mother Fucker lives, suggesting he might be in a sequel. If that's the case then let's all hope having a shark eat your limbs off is the life changing experience that forces him to grow up into a real Super Villain.

There's an opportunity for a great third film with Marcus attempting to find Hit Girl to make good on his promise to Big Daddy. No doubt Kick Ass could be drawn in since he's the last one to know about where Hit Girl was heading.

If The Mother Fucker commissioned OmniCorp to make him into RoboFucker I might even be on board with that. Just so long as he man's up a bit and becomes a proper villain with actual purpose beyond avenging his Dad.



Movie: The Lone Ranger (2013)

I was all ready to give The Lone Ranger the benefit of the doubt after it was widely panned by, seemingly, almost everyone as a bad film (it was for that reason I didn't rush to see it in a cinema and am only just seeing it now on VOD) but I do agree it has its problems.

Warning: Some spoilers ahead!

I'm not going to go so far as to say it's a bad movie. There is so much to like about it. It contains some great, escapist action (highly improbable but awesome to see), some good humor, I liked Johnny Depp as Tonto and even Armie Hammer was a good choice for The Lone Ranger. My problem is that right from the beginning it seems somewhat confused and muddled.

The plot can be described fairly simply. It's the Lone Ranger's origin story. How could you muddle and confuse that? By opening the movie in 1930's with a young boy, dressed as the Lone Ranger, talking to a museum exhibit of a very old Tonto (supposedly a manikin or wax dummy that comes to life) who then goes on to relate the story of John Reid A.K.A. the Lone Ranger. A story set in 1869.

Sure it says something about how kids have always been fascinated by the legend of the Lone Ranger (I certainly was growing up) but the film doesn't do anything with it. There's no great revelation in the 1930's about anything we've just seen at the end of the film. The story just ends. You could take that whole section out and not miss it at all.

The only reason I can see for it is that it allows the story to jump around. I don't think it ever goes out of sequence but it does allow the film to fast forward past things that may have bogged the movie down.

It also helps to explain a pretty magical white horse turning up in some pretty improbable situations and moments. For example, the horse just randomly shows up on top of a barn roof. The barn is on fire and has a two or three gunmen out side watching to shoot anyone that might come out. The obvious thing to do is climb to the barn roof where you're surprised to see your horse waiting to help make your getaway.

Highly improbable but if you recall, you're watching a story that is being retold to a young, impressionable boy. Such an improbable situation as a horse turning up on the roof of a barn is likely to be the artistic embellishment of the story teller.

Having said that, the weird white horse turning up in odd places is actually a highlight of the film that nearly upstages Johnny Depp's understated but still quirky Tonto.

I can't really fault Depp's performance as Tonto, other than to say I was expecting a character a little more outrageous, more along the lines of Captain Jack Sparrow.

Unlike the Pirates movies, I suspect Depp and the film makers were conscious of the cultural sensitivities of Depp playing a native American and didn't want to make the character too eccentric. (Some people seemed to find it offensive and weren't buying Depp's links to native American people as proper justification for not hiring an actual native American actor)

Armie Hammer, on the other hand, did look the part of the Lone Ranger but the script he had to work with really didn't make him as likeable as he needed to be. He started off well, as a very straight down the line lawyer type who believes in the judicial process, however he never really veers too far from that ideal.

By the end of the film John Reid is still John Reid the naive and somewhat annoying lawyer rather than a more weathered and experienced Lone Ranger. We never really get inside his head or get the urge to dig deeper into his psyche.

It's a shame because I did think Armie was good with what he had to work with and his character should have been the focus of the film despite Depp being the bigger star. In contrast, just about everyone in Man of Steel was a bigger star than Henry Cavill but that film was still all about his character and he was on all the posters. Depp fans would have seen the Lone Ranger whether he was the focus of the marketing or not.

Those were my main issues with the film. The way it was told meant there was quite a bit of time between each set action piece, which would have been fine, but the character moments didn't do enough to get you invested in any of them, other than Tonto.

Things like John Reid waking up on top of an enormous wooden scaffolding, on top of an almost impossible to access peak, looked great in the trailer but was only onscreen momentarily in the film with no explanation. Not even how he got up there nor how he got down.

A better edit of the film, minus all the story telling scenes by the older Tonto, could really lift this film in my opinion. It had all the elements to be a fast paced western with Indiana Jones type action and they bogged it down with unnecessary exposition that could have been replaced with scenes to help us relate more to the main character.

The Lone Ranger is certainly worth your time. It's definitely not as bad as you've been lead to believe. However it could have been so much better and definitely had more of a chance for multiple movies.

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