Visual Effects created by BlueBolt for 1st season of Game of Thrones

And today’s guest post from me is for Walt:

YouTube Link

Half-black, half-Hispanic Spider-Man

I followed this link off Twitter and immediately thought of The Perfessor:

Revealed in Marvel Comics’ Ultimate Fallout Issue 4, out Wednesday, the new Spider-Man in the Ultimate universe is a half-black, half-Hispanic teen named Miles Morales. He takes over the gig held by Peter Parker, who was killed in Ultimate Spider-Man Issue 160 in June.

In his first appearance, he simply breaks up a fight. But readers will learn the true origin of Morales and how he became the new Spider-Man when Ultimate Spider-Man relaunches in September with a new No. 1 issue.

“The theme is the same: With great power comes great responsibility,” says writer Brian Michael Bendis. “He’s going to learn that. Then he has to figure out what that means.”

Full article at USAToday.

Ponymen – the trailer

All the mares and colts of the world will look up and shout save us…and I’ll whisper back…no.

Continue reading Ponymen – the trailer

Season of the Witch – a review

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This is the movie I saw yesterday. I saw it alone because I knew the husband would never want to see it, and #1 daughter had no interest. Nobody I live with likes Nicholas Cage, while I’m a big fan, and I don’t even know why. He’s made some real crap, but I have to see him. Also, I love medieval set films. Even if the medieval is a lot of CGI, and the anachronisms abound. *g* Some people like horror flicks. I like cheesy Nicholas Cage. Always have. Probably always will. Don’t understand it myself.

And I don’t mind seeing bad movies sometimes because I analyze and rewrite and see where, for me, the story went wrong. This one went wrong in several places, but there were a couple of scenes where I found myself tensed up even though I knew everything would work out because the story had no true surprises. Well, it had two, I guess. One I’d anticipated but couldn’t predict the exact outcome (the truth about Anna), and the other that did surprise me and was one of the best scenes in the show (involving Ron Perlman’s character at the end). Here’s the basic plot:

Season of the Witch is a 2011 American period action film starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Dominic Sena. Cage stars alongside Ron Perlman as knights who return from the Crusades to find their homeland ruined by the Black Plague. Two church elders accuse a girl (Claire Foy) of being a witch and being responsible for the destruction. They command Behmen and Felson to transport Anna to a monastery so the monks there can lift her curse from the land.[3]

The story is a fully transparent hero’s journey. After a “prologue” a hundred years prior, we see Behmen and Felson in their ordinary world which happens to be fighting in the Crusades. Disillusioned with the reality of what they are doing in the name of the Church, they return to England to find the Black Plague sweeping across the land.

When they are recognized as deserters and imprisoned, they learn people believe the plague is from hell and caused by a witch, who happens to be imprisoned with them. They are tasked with escorting her to a monastery where the monks will determine her fate, and at first refuse, but then as reluctant heroes answer the call to adventure.

Traveling with them are friends and allies (a priest, a knight, a young man, a swindler), and along the way they encounter trials (including the witch’s escape, an attack by wolves, deaths of group members). (I thought the bridge crossing scene was great, though nothing compared to Roy Scheider’s in Sorcerer.) After making their way through the Wormwood Forest (the inmost cave), Behmen’s commitment is tested as part of “the ordeal” but the monastery (the reward) then comes into view.

Those of the group remaining embark on “the road back” toward their destination, then must fight demons (enemies) which have taken it over to save the Key of Solomon (the elixir). There are more twists and turns and “the resurrection” and “the return with the elixir” deviate from Vogler’s mythology, but are still a part of the plot.

The problem is there are no real surprises. The tests and challenges don’t take the journey in any sort of new direction. It’s linear from beginning to end, no character growth, which considering the ending I guess isn’t a big deal, heh.

I’d give it a solid C rating – if just for Cage’s hair. *g*

Inception: When Reviewers Get it WRONG

Reviewers have every right to their opinion, every right to express it. They’ve paid (or not) to see a movie, read a book, watch a TV show. Even if they haven’t paid, they’ve consumed the product and are entitled to express their feelings. The creators (and being one, I get this) have to suck it up and deal. But when reviewers 1) don’t pay attention, or 2) pay attention and don’t understand, the validity of their reviews suffer.

Case in point: David Edelstein’s review of INCEPTION in New York Magazine.

But let me back up. Walt reads all reviews, all spoilers, before he ever sees a movie. I read nothing. I don’t want to know anything. He likes to tease me, and I often slap him. This time, though, he told me to NOT read anything about what was happening, and to especially not read the NYMag review. So I didn’t. Until this morning when he gave me permission. ;)

When talking about Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s role as Arthur, Edelstein says in his review:

Gordon-Levitt doesn’t have much livelier material, but he does fight a bad guy in a zero-gravity corridor and tie together a group of sleeping people with cords, then float the human assemblage into an elevator. (I had no clue what he was doing, but it’s one of the few wittily irrational images.)

The problem with this is, Arthur SAID what he was doing right before he did it!

The rest of this post will contain spoilers, so don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Continue reading Inception: When Reviewers Get it WRONG

Pass the salt, and the fat, and the carbs

I’ve never written a letter to an editor or a rebuttal to an article beyond what I might do on my blog, and after reading Joshua David Stein’s piece, Super Salt Me, in the February 22 issue of New York Magazine, I can’t help but take the author to task for drawing really faulty conclusions, or at least for not looking at the whole picture before wrongly placing blame. (The accompany article, Salts of the Earth, is really cool.) His experiment:

To test the anti-sodium argument in extremis, a would-be Morgan Spurlock gorges himself on all things salty for nine straight days.

And a little bit about his normal eating habits:

I normally follow what you could call a typical New Yorker’s health regimen: lots of restaurant food, occasional guilty forays into fast-food land, plenty of exercise, and a moderate amount of drinking. So when I set out, in the name of investigative journalism, on a nine-day high-sodium bender, I was, to say the least, concerned.

Here were the menu items he listed for the week:

  • Breakfast is ham and cheese on a Cheddar biscuit at Amy’s Bread.
  • I start with the caramel popcorn, then order a crock of baked beans with pork fat and a larger crock of onion-and-bone-marrow soup.
  • Breakfast is a sausage-and-cheese omelette with home fries from Nisos.
  • The grains of salt on my French fries at Bill’s Bar & Burger loom grotesquely large.
  • Total four-day tally: five green-chile cheeseburgers, five sides of fries (four straight, one curly), an order of “Tater Gems,” three breakfast burritos, one pork-shoulder tamale, six Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Stix.
  • I make my last meal at Diner, where even the salads come with bacon and a fried egg on top.

His conclusion:

My sodium and chloride levels are nearing the upper range. My urine has gotten more acidic, and although I didn’t feel it, I’m dehydrated. The level of fluid in my cells is still fine, but that’s only because of my good level of health to begin with. “The really striking thing,” says Morrison, “is that you lost two pounds of muscle and gained two pounds of fat.” What if I were to continue my salt binge for, say, a year? “Every year on a high-sodium, high-saturated-fat diet,” he says, “takes three months off your life.” By that math, I may have just shortened my life expectancy by 2.25 days—my last weekend on Earth. I leave Dr. Morrison’s and head for the salad bar.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying too much salt won’t cause physical problems, hypertension, water retention, etc. But, really? He’s going to blame gaining fat on the salt? When he ate pork fat and ham & cheese and cheeseburgers & fries instead of his usual healthy food? He admits up front that he only eats fast food occasionally. That he works out a lot, drinks in moderation, eats in restaurants but rarely indulges in excess. Did he really think flipping the switch on his entire diet wasn’t going to change how he felt? Maybe a better experiment would’ve been to eat his normal diet but add SALT. Since the whole experiment was to test what an excess of SALT would do.

I’m very bad when it comes to salt – as in, everyone has to salt what I make because I don’t salt anything enough. I rarely eat chips, though am a huge fan of Keebler’s Pretzel Crackers, especially the cheddar. And the husband fed me lunches of crackers, cheese and salty olives while I was writing the CIG. I also love bacon. And I love butter. But if the ingredients I toss into a dish aren’t salty on their own, the dish itself is probably going to be a bit bland. I’m not a salter. BUT, I know exactly how it feels to go from days of eating oatmeal and grilled chicken and salad and roasted asparagus to eating cheese and bacon cheeseburgers. And that is not ONLY about the salt.

Of course excess salt is an issue, but the grease and the useless carbs and the cholesterol and the LACK of things like salad and roasted asparagus cause just as many physical side effects. Even the columnist’s doctor mentioned high-saturated fat. He didn’t dump all the blame on the salt. Did the experiment have the columnist adding additional water to flush out the salt? Did he continue to exercise to burn the calories in all that fat? Was this really about extra salt or was it more about bad eating habits, because that I will totally buy. What I don’t buy is blaming everything on the salt and ignoring the rest of the changes he made to his diet. Lazy, lopsided reporting.