Mad Max: Fury Road

You remember when you were a kid and you got ahold of your dad’s video camera and filmed yourself ‘punching’ your friends so that they fell off a ‘cliff’, or putting on your sunglasses and saying something cool? You didn’t really know what you were doing, but you’d seen that stuff in movies you liked, and you wanted to make awesome things on video too.

After watching Mad Max, you kind of feel like that’s what’s been going on with all the other action movies to come out in the past few years.

This is actually a real movie, with characters you care about and a plot that makes sense and it is so damn refreshing you don’t even realize what you were missing all this time.

I always thought action scenes bored me. In so many movies the car chase or the fight scene starts and you’re sort of just waiting for it to end and the story to get going again. Mad Max was basically one long action scene, and I could not take my eyes off it for a second. This is because it’s actually a movie, instead of a string of ‘cool scenes’ pasted together and shipped out to theaters for a quick buck.

This movie is going to be a classic, watched and rewatched for the next twenty years, because no action movie in the past 5 years or more has been anything like it.

And all it took was to just make an actual movie.

Wake up Hollywood, and start telling stories again instead of just blowing stuff up.

I recommend this to anyone who likes action movies, its the most fun I’ve had watching a movie since I don’t know when. It’s definitly the best movie I’ve seen this year and I doubt anything else coming out is going to top it.

Check it out!

Aquatic Robot to Seek Life on Europa

Nasa is designing a squid-like robot to explore the oceans beneath Europa’s frozen surface.

This has me so excited and I just feel happy to be alive while these kinds of things are going on. Imagine being the one to look through this thing’s eyes and see the first sight of extra-terrestrial life. I can’t wait to see what’s down there, and will be more surprised if there isn’t anything down there. I just hope the little bot isn’t gobbled up before it gets any good images.

Music, evolving like an organism

I recently watched this video from one of my favorite YouTube channels, SciShow, and got me off on a thought tangent.

I’ve always wondered about how non-life things could evolve, such as languages and cultures, and music is just the same. It endures the same selection pressures as life, if you take some imaginative interpretations. The most popular songs will reproduce more often, by being played in more clubs or on more radio stations, and spread across the globe to live in the brains of the people who hear that invasive tune.

And just like life, the selection pressures change over time, and so artists adapt, always working toward producing the song that will reproduce most.

I bet the same study could be applied to movies and books, and any other form of creativity as well. But do these things only appear to be evolving because we, their creators, are evolving? I don’t think so, because these things–music, ideas–they adapt and mutate way faster than even a single generation sometimes. It is evolution outside of biology. Maybe it’s memeology.

Whatever it is it’s intensely interesting to me, and I might go on a journey through the internet to see what else I can find about it!

Better Watch Saul

I just finished this Breaking Bad spin-off featuring the ‘criminal lawyer’, Saul Goodman, in his life before Walter White, when he was known as James McGill. He’s a struggling public defender living paycheck to paycheck out of an office in the back of a nail salon, looking for a big case to make his name.

I was hooked on this show from the first five minutes. We start with a flash forward, of Jimmy hiding out in his house, alone, watching old video of his advertisements with the ‘better call Saul’ tagline. He’s working at a Cinnabar, he’s looking over his shoulder afraid that every stranger that looks his direction is out to get him. How does he get this way? If we’ve learned anything from Breaking Bad, it’s that Vince Gilligan knows how to complete a story, so I trust that we’ll find out.

The character of ‘Slippin’ Jimmy’ is a refreshing change from Walter White’s character. He’s earnest, funny, likable, a down-trodden underdog, and endlessly resourceful. But from what we’ve seen before in Gilligan’s work, characters can drastically change over the course of a few seasons… even though Saul doesn’t seem to be a villain in BB, the series ends with hint’s of a nefarious future. I hope he doesn’t become a villain on this show. A criminal, sure, that’s inevitable, but I hope he keeps his good heart.

Besides Jimmy, the other characters in this show are just as great. We have his agoraphobic brother, who believes he has an allergy to electricity providing lots of good scenes. We have Mike, making a return from BB, now working as a parking lot ticket taker. And we’ve got plenty of side characters too, who, if BB is any evidence, will continue to serve important roles in the seasons to come.

The show is well coordinated and crafted and one of the more enjoyable shows I’ve watched in a long time.

I really recommend watching this to anyone who was a fan of Breaking Bad, or even anyone who wasn’t or hasn’t even seen the show. It is it’s own show, and you need not know anything about BB to enjoy it.

Check it out!

The final Hobbit movie, or “WAAARRRRR”

I just watched this in the bargain theater in my town, at 3.50$ a ticket, and it was worth it. I also saw the second movie a while ago, sort of, I think I fell asleep before finishing it, so consider this a sort of review of that movie also. I don’t really remember what happened in the second movie. I think the dwarves went down a river in barrels and hid under some fish, and Stephen Fry was in it. It was sort of boring if I remember.

This third Hobbit movie was pretty fun. I didn’t remember a lot of what was going on, but I still enjoyed it. Gandalf was in a cage for some reason, but he escaped. The bard guy shoots a giant arrow at the dragon and kills it right in the beginning of the movie, so that sort of gave the rest of the movie a lot to live up to,  and it didn’t do a bad job.

In this movie, whenever anyone says the word ‘war’ their voice goes all deep and growly sounding and full of extra bass.

There are a bunch of armies all fighting for the gold in the mountain, I guess. And Kate from Lost is in love with a dwarf. And Legolas tries real hard not to look old.

I liked the parts about Thorin’s obsession with the treasure and the Arkenstone. They did a good job at showing it corrupting him and making him unreasonable and crazy. I do wonder what the heck that stone was for, or what powers it had, it seemed magical but I was never sure what it was other than an heirloom of some kind.

Watching that weasily guy who was Stephen Fry’s lackey was pretty fun, but more Stephen Fry instead would have been better.

Martin Freeman has some good lines and is funny and great as the hobbit and the best part of all of these movies and probably should have been more of a focus in the movies.

This was probably the best one of the three, but really there should not have been three movies. There should have been one short, to the point, fun, adventure movie, just like the book was short, to the point and a fun adventure story. Instead we got a long, drawn out, over dramatic epic. I guess that gets you more money, though.

Anyway, glad I watched these eventually, as I was a big fan of the LOTR movies, but probably won’t watch them again, and next time I get an urge for LOTR, I’ll just watch the original three movies.

The Judge

I spent 1/3 of this movie waiting for it to start, another third waiting for it to end. The middle was filled with vomit, diarrhea, and a wisecracking Tony Stark.

If you are expecting a courtroom drama, as I was, don’t waste your time. This is a family drama about family issues. It’s about a lawyer son desperate for his father’s approval, and that father just happens to be on trial for murder for a few minutes in the movie.

The scenes that actually take place in a courtroom with trial stuff happening are pretty good, but most the time the movie is too busy trying to be heart-felt and / or authentic to find much time for the plot.

I don’t really have much else to say about this movie. Billy Bob Thornton plays a guy who says ‘objection’ and stands up and sits down and paces back and forth and wears a suit. Robert Downey Jr plays himself, and may or may not have made out with his own daughter. There is lots of Bon Iver.

Boring, overly dramatic, hardly anything happened.

I wasn’t kidding about the vomit and diarrhea.

 

House of Cards

I just finished season three of this series, and I feel it has changed a lot since its beginning. There are spoilers in this post.

The show is about power, and what people will do to obtain it, and keep it. At first, I got the impression that it was a statement about corruption in politics, how those who play dirtiest get farthest, and painted a picture of every politician who got anywhere in life being cutthroat and without morals. Some of the scenes in the most recent season had this creepy, ethereal choir music that gave the impression of some kind of angelic immortals, or something inhuman anyway, as if those who wield this kind of power, and seek it, are something else entirely than the rest of us.

But then, toward the end of this season, it seems the show has shifted into, well, a political drama. We are no longer curious about how Frank will deal with the next thing that stands in his way, because he simply crushes everything. Zoe? Dead. The guy who was in love with Zoe, and made it his mission to prove Frank killed her? Sent to prison. A new reporter is asking hard questions? That reporter loses her press pass. All at the snap of his fingers, so to speak. The show is now about solving crises in Russia and winning elections and we somehow seem to have forgotten that the President of the United States has murdered two people. Instead we’re worrying about his relationship with his wife and who slept with who.

In the final episode, Rachel–who I was convinced would be the card that brought down the so called house–is buried. Another loose end unceremoniously tied up.

Instead, with little to no explanation, Claire is leaving Frank. The whole premise of their ‘problems’ seems cheaply manufactured, and is disappointing because one of my favorite parts about them was how loyal they were to each other while they fucked over everyone else in their path.

Maybe I was expecting too much based entirely on the title of the show. I expected that Frank would claw his way to the top, the pinnacle of power, using and abusing everything and everyone in reach. Then once there, all his lies and secrets would come out, and his carefully stitched together story would come collapsing around him, like, say, a house of cards. Now, it seems there are no loose ends. Instead he will presumably be brought down by a dissatisfied Claire. It doesn’t seem to have the same poetic punch as being found out to be a murderer while sitting as a loved president.

I guess we’ll see what happens next season, but I’m losing interest.