Friday, December 30, 2016

La La Land (Musical Drama 2016)

Wow, such a good movie. I wouldn't think I'd like musicals since it was never my thing. I saw a few of them in college, and they were only okay, but film takes the genre to a whole new level.

Everything about this movie was very well done. The songs were not intrusive, catchy, and synced up directly with the plot. The story was a solid relationship-based one and all of the good music just added to the mix. The ending could've been taken in a few directions but I'm glad the writer and director handled it the way they did; anything else may have caused the film to go into tacky-land, but it didn't. I think the two primary actors did a great job, but especially Emma Stone and her facial expressions. No complaints; I thoroughly enjoyed watching this.
Rating - A+

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Sci-Fi Action 2016)

I took a day off work to watch this movie. That should tell you something right there, but not really. I needed to burn off PTO hours since my company doesn't let you bank time.

Let's get to it though. This movie was friggin' fantastic. It was MUCH better than The Force Awakens and totally destroys Episodes 1-3. The film had such a grittier and darker direction that it felt really odd that it was a Star Wars film.

I found myself paying attention to the music and one character played by Diego Luna. I thought his acting was above par. Everyone else's was OK but there was something more real about this character. The music was very interesting...it had its own melody throughout most of it, but then when the screen action needed it, the orchestra would inject chords from the regular SW theme in a very powerful way. The ending soundtrack was very dramatic and totally matched up with the action on screen.

The jokes and dialog were good, but not over the top like The Force Awakens had going on for it. This way it seemed to be grounded with a more serious undertone vs the campiness of Episode VII. Again, I really liked this movie...I want to see it again with the music going at full blast to see if it's still as good the second time around. But for now it's definitely a watch.
Rating - A+

Deepwater Horizon (Drama 2016)

This movie was OK for one of those historical disaster ones, but it really didn't have much of a story. It was just like what you'd expect: a movie about the disaster while giving more detail to one of the characters.

I think it would've been better suited for a short film vs a feature-length one because nothing really happened in it plot-wise. I guess the same thing could be said about Sully, but for some reason that movie seemed to have more of a story because it dig more into the pilot's mindset.
Rating - C

Friday, December 16, 2016

Titanfall 2 (FPS PC Game 2016)

So after being disappointed with BF1, I bought this game during the winter sale to see if my gaming days could be salvaged. Unfortunately no good news is coming from that section as my ability to have fun with PC gaming seems to be going downhill.

The single-player campaign was quite good but a bit short. I do like killing AI vs. going against real peeps. The multiplayer is OK but it just isn't fun. This is because of 2 reasons: The first is that you get matched with some elite folks who play a lot so they all have mad skills and wipe the floor with you. I have yet to be randomly matched with other mid-range players, so dying has become a part of life. The second reason is that everyone moves way too fast. I know I'm getting older and my reaction time is totally not what it used to be but holy shit, all of the other pilots are jumpy little gummy bears who have no problem spinning in mid-air and tagging you. I can't tell you how many times I've been aced from the rear...I hear nothing, see nothing, and I just die. Not sure why I can't be on the other side of that. I have rarely ever gotten the jump on anyone.

One part of buying this game was that the original Titanfall had a PvE Coop mode, but this one doesn't have one or at least a map of this sort hasn't been released yet; frustrating since the only option is to wait in line for a match just to get pwned by way better players while waiting for a DLC.
Rating - Mid

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Inferno (Suspense Drama 2016)

This movie wasn't good. A long time ago I watched The Da Vinci Code and that movie was so much better. Pacing was better even though both tried to be pretty swift. This movie was all over the place from the beginning and it seems to just be a convoluted mess. It probably took more energy to organize the logistics of all of the scenes based in famous European places.

There's a very distinct reason why this movie didn't last very long in the theaters. Tom Hanks needs to go with different roles; kinda like how Matt Damon needs to stop being Borune.

Snowden (Drama 2016)

Pretty interesting movie here. Oliver Stone did a nice job directing this one. Flow was good, character development was on par, and yeah overall it was well done.

Since it was based on the real person, I just have to say that the guy seems like an ultra-idealist type of person to do all this jazz just to reveal that we're getting spied on. I think most peeps already know this and any way you look at it, not a lot can be done to stop the machine. One thing's for damn sure though; the things that make a person get up in the morning differ quite a bit; he had such a cush gig before he made his move. But yeah if you ever watch any videos of this dude talking in real life, you can tell in a second that he's pretty smart and articulate. I like how the media tried to portray him in a way different light when things first hit.
Rating - B

Bad Moms (Comedy 2016)

As expected, this movie sucked pretty bad. A few of the lines were OK and entertaining but the vast majority of the whole movie was lame. This is totally one of those forgettable films that will get dumped off into the bargin bin at Wally World.
Rating - D

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Hacksaw Ridge (War Drama 2016)

I'm usually a big fan of war films, but something about this movie didn't really click with me. The development of the primary character was done well but I think I was just as annoyed as many of the folks on screen regarding this guy's morals and ethics. It seemed super misplaced and kinda preachy.

Since it was based on a true story and all, kudos to having balls and saving lives, but still...something about this character bothered me to the extent that I would have a problem with the guy in real life. People who think they are 100% right in any topic usually have some very important screws loose; I tend to avoid these types of folks.

The film wasn't as dramatic as the trailer made it out to be and it seemed a bit short as well. I found it unbalanced and way too concentrated on the primary so I wouldn't recommend it.
Rating - C

Sausage Party (Animated Comedy 2016)

The beginning of this movie was kinda funny and made me laugh a few times, but soon afterwards it went downhill and turned into a dud. Not sure what happened but the story itself was lame so watching these talking food items plod along saying the same types of jokes just got old.

I think someone could edit down all the funny parts into a longish trailer and you'd get the same level of enjoyment from only 5 min of investment.
Rating - D

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Battlefield 1 (PC FPS 2016)

It has been quite a few years since I've had a gaming rig to play on. After recently building one again, I do have to say that I have the crappiest bad luck when it comes to picking stuff out. I had a choice of picking among the top 3 FPSs of the year and I chose the shittest one...great odds.

What got me was the trailer and the great music that went along with it. I did watch reviews but I dunno why I just picked wrong. The game is reminescent of Planetside 2 in that you die a lot and you never get to really see the person who takes you out. The mechanics are crap and I know the flow of this game isn't something I like. You die a lot in this game and none of it makes much sense. If you go head-to-head with some other dude, you get owned really quickly even though you're unloading on them just as fast. Sure, I get how SMGs and shotguns are better at close range and all, but more often than not it seems rigged in some way. Maybe it has something to do with the leveling system?

One other thing is that the aiming is really crappy. You can have a mob right in your sights, take a shot, and it won't even register a hit. There's bullet drop on sniper rifles, but the rate of misses is plain rediculous.

Overall the main, single-player campaign is short but decent. It does a good job introducing the player to the game but it's not worth buying just for that. Graphics are good and modern, but gameplay mechanics suck. Just get ready to get totally owned unless you're playing with friends in a squad...if no communication is going on you'll get ran over. Solo multiplayer is shit.
Rating - Mid

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ever Heard of Soylent?

So a few years ago I heard that a group of peeps were trying to make a power-based mixture that would replace the need to eat food since each package would contain all the necessary ingredients to sustain life in a dietary form. This peaked my curiosity since who wouldn't want to just quickly drink a liquid instead of eating? Fast forward to 2016 where I bought a pack to try out for a week.

I'll just quickly summarize that it was kinda nasty. Do you know that feeling when you tried V8 for the first time? Yeah the feeling that this stuff gives you is like that; just sorta wrong. I could not get used to the consistency and flavor of the product to eat it everyday for every meal. Was I able to get away from eating occasional meals and just sip on a mixture of this? Yes, but sparingly. Sometimes I really didn't know what I wanted to eat so I just drank this stuff and continued on my day, but other times I really wanted to eat x, y, or z so I went out like a normal person. Did I lose any weight? Kinda, yes. One week is too short of a time to really evaluate the weight loss potential of a new food source, but I think it was more "base" in terms of nutrition and what was inside of the package so that cleared out a lot of filler that is normally in food.

So in a nutshell if/when they ever create a cheap drink, like in a soda-sized container, where you can just grab one vs making a large, one-week amount from a powder, then it may be worth it. Don't feel like going out to eat for lunch? Just grab one of these, drink it, drink water or soda to flush out the aftertaste, and continue on with your day. But yeah you really need to be in the 'I don't care' mood or else your memory of what this tastes like will affect that decision to just grab a burger instead of being lazy.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Suicide Squad (Action 2016)

Yeah for all the shiny doodads that this film had with its marketing, it really wasn't that good. The action was decent but the plot and build-up was too comedic to be taken seriously. There were a lot of plot holes that didn't quite add up and yeah it just wasn't organized well. Special effects, make-up, and some acting was better than average but it's totally not enough to save the whole thing. It's a forgettable one.
Rating - C

Sully (Drama 2016)

You'd think that it would be hard to make a film about 1 single event, but here we are hu? This movie was about that pilot who landed his plane on the river near NY. It was good in a very slow, meticulous way. The plot pretty much went into the pilot's mindset as he was thrust into the spotlight after being just a regular pilot.

I think they tried to make it dramatic at times when it didn't need to be, but overall it was good. It's funny but the movie would actually be a good one to watch on a plane because it's not too flashy, fast, or think-heavy.
Rating - B

Doctor Strange (Comic Book Action 2016)

So this movie was OK. It was pretty much in line with any other comic book film. It had a nice build-up on the main character, stable plot line, regular baddies, normal special effects, and not-too-surprising plot twists. They all use the same equation these days so it's hard to go wrong.

I was never a fan of Doctor Strange though, so I can't say much more than that. He was always an 'eh' type of hero character in the comics.
Rating - B

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

2015 Scion FR-S Release Series 1.0



It's a bit embarrassing that I only had this car for a few months before that little voice in my head told me that I'm just too old for this shit. I guess it's bad that I came from an S60 that probably had the comfiest leather seats of any car in its class to the most uncomfortable ones for a commuter. Also, having more liquid cash for other needed purchases is a good thing for one's state of mind as well.

So what went wrong? Nothing really, so I only got myself to blame. It was a random summer bug that told me I needed a change. I did test drive a few other FR-S's and also the newer Miata prior to setting my eyes on this car, but I think I should've looked at it more rationally to really analyze what I liked and didn't like. When I purchased this Release Series 1.0 car, I had to drive 4-5 sum hours one-way to get it, so it was a done deal by the time I arrived. After I test drove it once at the dealer I knew that it was too low and the exhaust was too loud, but I wasn't about to turn around and go home empty-handed so I went through with it. Lesson learned about remote buying.

Pros
  • Super fast/cold air conditioning. You don't have to wait long at all until the AC gets very cold. I think it has to do with the car being a Subaru and for some reason Subaru engines have always been coupled with great AC compressors, but yeah super fast and super cold.
  • Best handling of any car I've ever driven. You can corner at 50 and it won't have an inch of body roll. Steering wheel was a great size and had a nice grip.
  • Best brakes of any car I've ever driven. A few times I had to do some emergency stops and two things happened: the first was that there was no forward body shift in the chassis (crazy solid feeling) and the second was that I stopped on a dime.
  • The USB audio was super fast in connecting and played every song in my collection without any hassle. (The Volvo didn't like half of my MP3s)
  • Very attractive on the outside and it got lots of looks. That is, of course, because it was bright yellow, but the other reason is that the car just looked hot.
Cons
  • Horrible blind spots. You have to 100% depend on your side mirrors. Maybe all sports cars are like that?
  • The whole left side of the instrument cluster is worthless. 50% of the speedometer goes up to 90 mph. WTF. The car will never go that fast and you're stuck looking at these super small increments on that side. To combat this they do have a digital speedometer in the middle, but it's sorta small. Either way, bad design and a waste of real estate.
  • The sport seats are 'way' too sport. They are super uncomfortable and jut into your sides. Lots of bolster for cornering but my commute is a 20 mile straight line.
  • The RS1.0 was lowered a bit from the factory. I found out later that this is too low to be able to go through those automatic car washes. I rather enjoyed those things so strike one.
  • The RS1.0 also had a TRD exhaust. I would've loved this back when I was an undergrad but now? Hell no. Super annoying and I felt like a prick driving around such an obnoxious sounding vehicle. The exhaust also told everyone around you what your right foot was doing.
  • By default the car loved up-shifting so you'd be tooling around at 40 mph and totally be in 6th gear which would equal no power at all. I frequently found myself driving in manual mode or using the paddle shifters because the tranny was too damn dumb. I later read that if you put the car into sport mode it would alleviate 80% of the odd upshifting programming, but the downside to that was that I would be tooling around in a lower gear and would constantly hear that damn grumble from the exhaust.
  • The turning radius wasn't all that great compared to other smaller cars. I mean the Fit and the Prius both had way better turning circles that this car. Not sure why the design caused this.
  • The car has no room. I knew that the back seat was unusable but seriously it felt so cramped in the driver's seat that some days I didn't even want to drive home; kinda like how you feel when you're stuck between 2 big dudes in the middle seat on an airplane.
  • The car had push-button start but nothing else. No other luxuries that I've grown to enjoy.
    • No heated seats
    • No steering wheel controls
    • No Homelink gate/garage door opener
    • No automatic, electric seat
  • I disliked the tranny on the car. I don't know if it's because the Volvo had more gears, it had a turbo, or maybe I got used to the Prius and its smooth CVT, but I don't like feeling when a car downshifts to gain speed. It feels cheap, just like my old 1994 Civic DX.
So yeah in the end I didn't like the car anymore and a part of me very much regretted trading in the Volvo even though the problems that that car had annoyed me as well. It's surprising how content I am driving the Prius again though. Great gas mileage and knowing that I'm saving money when I'm putt putt'ing along at slower speeds. It does have close to no acceleration and still drives like a boat, but for now it's a perfect commuter car and there's nothing I really want at a price range that the market is selling at.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Star Trek Beyond (Sci-Fi Action 2016)

If you've seen any of the other Star Trek movies then this one will be a bit of a disappointment since it's the worst of the bunch. I wouldn't go as far as to say that it was horrible, but it certainly wasn't up to par with the other two.

The in-space action had some nice CG, but almost everything that occurred planetside was fairly lame and toned down. They tried to have some character development with the new alien girl character, but I think the actress's acting was sub-par. Since it's a Sci-fi movie, I still think it's worth a watch, but just don't expect anything special.
Rating - C

Sunday, October 09, 2016

The Shallows (Thriller 2016)

Hey, shark movie. These don't come out very often. I think it exited theaters pretty quickly so that should give you a hint. The movie was eh...the whole build-up to the main drama was OK and the whole survival concept was OK as well. I do have to mention that this chick would've been super thirsty in real life and I dunno if she would've been able to pull off a lot of the stuff that she did without H2O.

The ending was an impossible treat that didn't have the best CG, but yeah...at least it was an ending. I think it's worth a rental if you're not expecting too much.
Rating - C

Monday, October 03, 2016

L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties (Animated Action 2016)

So did you know that in some larger cities you can watch foreign movies on the big screen? Seems like Vegas is one of those cities and you can see them at key AMC theaters. I've been keeping my eye out and this past weekend 3 Asian movies showed up. We picked this weird-sounding film that supposedly was popular back in China; I didn't even watch a preview.

To put it lightly, I could've put a little bit more money into my 401k and would've been more satisfied instead of wasting it on this garbage. This movie was an odd animated film about some story that would've come straight out of some half-rate fantasy Asian MMO. Seriously. Think about that for a second. Picture an average Chinese or Korean MMO game, now picture the storyline and/or cutscenes, and bam you have this film. I recently saw Warcraft and at least that movie had a story to go along with it...this one was just a mess. Special powers, special mobs, fancy character titles, and a setting that had next to no backstory. I didn't give a rat's ass about any of the characters, I barely knew what was going on plot-wise, and they kept on making these very bad scene jumps that had no connecting content. Horrible movie-making.

Suffice to say this has turned me off to foreign films for a while...I'll have to be much more picky in the future and not think that only the best made it to US shores, because holy shit it didn't.
Rating - F

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Action 2016)

It has been a while since a comic book movie has tanked this bad, but every summer has to have its share of flops, right? Many months ago I read online that this movie sucked, and these days the Internet is probably right since so many peoples' opinions usually merge to become this glob rating that seems to stick.

This movie wasn't good. It didn't super suck, but man it shouldn't be considered a movie. It was a compilation of many random scenes shoved together to kinda create a story, but nothing really flowed like a real plot should. I'd even venture to say that it felt like a short story or even a graphic novel comic. Some of the content in the film was totally geared towards preparing the audience for the eventual spinoffs like Aquaman and Wonder Woman. This isn't bad per se, but it seems sorta lame to directly build it into a film, just like a hidden marketing ploy.

Anyway, this one wasn't worth a watch at all. I would've rather have taken a nap and caught up on sleep.
Rating - D

Monday, September 26, 2016

13 Hours (Action 2016)

Not too bad of a movie. It was reminiscent of American Sniper meets Blackhawk Down. Story, acting, and firefights were all pretty good and believable; well worth a rental. If you've seen any current period war movies then you already know what to look forward to. I think it was only in the theaters for a few weeks, but it probably should've been there for a bit longer. It's always a toss up with films that get pulled too early; they usually suck too bad or they need to make room for a more mainstream film, but I'd say that this one was on par with the rest of them.
Rating - B

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Out With the Volvo

So after a little under a year of ownership, I decided to move on from my 2015 S60 and this brand. The car was fine, but there were small issues that kept on adding up. The car never left me stranded, but everyone has their tipping point. Here are all the takeaways:

Pros
  • Real leather and super comfy seats. I've sat in other luxury cars and I do have to say that the Volvo seats were pretty darn good in comparison with more expensive vehicles.
  • Fairly decent MPG for the amount of HP the car had. 26 MPGish with close to 280 HP
  • Pretty quiet ride on all types of roads, especially highway
  • Acceleration with the turbo was excellent. This car was never slow and I rarely ever felt it change gears.
Cons
  • No dipstick. It had an electronic dipstick that could only be accessed if you went into a secret mode with the key fob and push-button start. On top of this, it wasn't accurate and would not give actual readings, only binary reports (OK, Overfilled, Under)
  • The headlights were quick detachable, but the battery was totally under 2 plastic covers and a strut bar, WTF. Who replaces headlights that often? The design of the headlights was good, but with the battery being so difficult to get at, it goes to show the twisted mentality of the design team
  • Uses crazy torx screws instead of a phillips or regular sockets
  • The steering wheel controls were reversed. Usually the audio controls of most cars will be on the left-hand side but on the Volvo it was on the right. Still confused me 'till the last day.
  • Doesn't have a quick detach design for the engine or cabin air filter
  • The brakes were mushy and the pedal always went down as if the master brake cylinder was losing pressure. Additionally the braking distance sucked and it felt like there was way too much weight that needed to be stopped
  • The auto-start/stop for the newly-designed Drive-E engine was totally annoying and rarely ever engaged when I wanted it to. It caused more problems than anything and I usually just turned it off when I got into the car. In hot weather it was non-functional, so good for me but kinda crappy of a design
  • The windshield washers didn't spray in a fan pattern, it only shot 3 straight streams of fluid. Very old school and not very useful in cleaning
  • There was no spare tire (call me old fashioned)
  • There was next to no real storage if both cup holders were being used
  • The rubber fins for the cup holders broke off too easily. 70% of mine were busted off
  • The USB MP3 slot would not read any songs that were purchased off of Google Play, only ripped MP3s or Amazon Music
  • And the biggest problem that annoyed me to death was that after a mandatory software upgrade, my infotainment system would randomly stop working. You would be listening to music and then all of a sudden it would just stop. Nothing would work, no steering wheel controls or directly on the console. Power-cycing the system or the car itself would not help either. You would have to wait until the car decided that it wanted to work. To make matters worse, when this would happen, the backup parking sensors and the blind spot monitoring system would also cease to function because I think they are all part of the same circuit or system. I could've brought it into the dealership for warranty work if it was actively happening, but you know how dealerships are with any intermittent issues; if they don't see it, it didn't happen
So yeah all in all I just wasn't happy with the car anymore. I felt like I was driving a quickly depreciating vehicle and that it would be better to change over to something else while it still retained some value. Even though I didn't have a garage to work on the car, it was annoying to know that so many things I wouldn't be able to touch or tinker with because of the design of the automobile. I guess some brands are just like that, but older Volvos you could mess with. Since I'm still waiting for the release and subsequent reviews of either the Toyota C-HR or Honda Civic 5-Door Hatchback, or for a house purchase so I can get a Nissan Leaf, I decided to get a sporty, impractical car temporarily. You only live once, right?

Sunday, July 31, 2016

DMV Kiosk

So I never tried one of these kiosk machines until the DMV "lost" my registration information last year after I moved to Vegas. I totally blame this city since everything goes wrong over here but yeah. Last time I got my smog test, went online and paid for my registration, then proceeded to wait many-a-weeks for a tag that never came. I complained online and also had to print out some weird extension while another tad supposedly was ordered a second time, but to no avail. After the 3rd attempt and another email, the tag finally arrived. The whole time USPS and the DMV were pointing fingers at each other and both entities were also blaming me for changing addresses.

So this time around I thought I would try out one of these kiosk machines to see what would happen. Surprisingly enough it worked perfectly. I went and got my smog test done, then went to this machine, put in a credit card, got charged $3 extra to use the machine, and bam!, it spit out my registration form and colored decal for the back license plate. This is much better than paying $12 for 2 resubmittals and only receiving 1 copy.

I will point out that I had to go to 2 Albertsons to find a working kiosk and also if you already submitted for a registration renewal online, you can perform a resubmittal using this kiosk. This box has to be the first and only attempt in order for it to work. I totally tried this last year when my registration was lost in space.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Jason Bourne (Action 2016)

After you've seen one of these films, you've pretty much seen them all. There was nothing really new about this one: lots of action, good use of tech, fast-paced plot, and more action.

It seems like forever since the first film came out. Matt Damon sure has aged since then, and Tommy Lee Jones looks like a rug, relatively speaking. They, of course, left the ending wide open for another movie but seriously...why? Even though this type of entertainment is fun and exciting, it really is just the same old stuff. Not a lot of originality anywhere anymore.

This version of cinema led to a fun afternoon, but it was 100% forgettable as well. I will remember nothing of this film come 4 days. It's a rent.
Rating - C

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Tiger's Fate (Chronicles of An Imperial Legionary Officer Book 3) By Marc Alan Edelheit (Book 2016)

Yeah I don't do book reviews as much these days since it usually takes a bunch of time and the payoff doesn't seem to be all that rewarding anymore. Movies are different because they are few and far between, but I can clear a book pretty quickly these days.

This book I'll make an exception for because I'm continuing on with the series from this author. It's a great story with a mix of Roman-like armies, fantasy races, and fantasy-like adventures. It's the 3rd book in the series and it's just as good as the first I read. Luckily there will be another one after this and maybe the series will keep on going for a few more.

The author is one of the good ones who can write in a manner where you don't even realize that you're burning through pages at an accelerated pace. He takes time building everything up, so that results in very good characters, action, and story. It has been an enjoyable 3 days.
Rating - High

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Trainwreck (Comedy 2015)

See, Amy Schumer is an OK funny comedian, but I don't think she should go into acting. I say that, but of course for years all celebrities have tried to milk it by testing out everything under the sun. I'm sure they're just trying to maximize their cash before their careers end but yeah it's annoying to see it happen.

This film made me chuckle a few times only, but overall it wasn't really that funny. She and co-star Bill Hader have zero chemistry whatsoever. He himself is not funny period; so it was a horrible casting selection.

The humor and jokes were blah and a bit on the slutty side, but we've all seen it before. It's a forgettable film that was mediocre at best.
Rating - C

Pan (Fantasy Adventure 2015)

So this movie was kinda bad. I only watched it since it was free and I was working out at the time, but yeah, I think it would've been better to re-watch some action film instead of this.

I was interested see if it would show how Captain Hook turned bad, but spoiler...they don't. They totally just left that answer open to a sequel which, for their sakes, I hope they don't.

I still think Hook was better even though that movie was super old. This one seemed to want to be grandiose, but it didn't have any real content to back it up. Even for a kids movie it was pretty lame.
Rating - D

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Spy (Comedy 2015)

So this was a random movie that I saw. Picture Austin Powers meets some satire of The Transporter. It was a silly mix of slapstick crap with some one-liner zingers sent through Melissa McCarthy. In a one-liner, the movie was pretty damn stupid but I kept on watching it just so I could finish it. It might've been more funny when I was 14 or so, but certainly not now.

It has been a while since I watched a film this dumb but I guess the genre will exist as some people will still laugh at it; I'm just getting too old for such nonsense.
Rating - D

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Warcraft: The Beginning (Fantasy 2016)

For a film that was based on an computer/MMO video game, it really wasn't half bad. The intro story and CGI were both very impressive, but as the plot plodded along, the rest of it became kinda repetitive and not as cool. Still this was much better than any other early 90s video game movie such as Super Mario Bros. or Street Fighter.

The plot started during the time of the very early Warcraft universe back before Tides of Darkness, so a lot of the WOW stuff is still yet to come assuming that they proceed forward with this movie franchise.

Either way, it was impressive for what it was, but as a standalone the plot still needs more work. Mainly, the need to abstain from purposely simplifying the lore just because the foundation is a video game and the main demographic is younger.
Rating - C

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Now You See Me 2 (Thriller 2016)

So I didn't see the first movie so I'm sure I missed out on some of the more interesting plot lines. This one as a standalone was entertaining and fast-moving so that was a plus, but was also very forgettable as well.

Acting and such were all up to par for a movie like this; nothing bad but nothing extraordinary either. It's worth a fun rental and that's where ends.
Rating - B

Friday, June 03, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse (Action 2016)

So this movie was fair, but I think it's one of those films that get worse the more you think of it. The beginning scenes in Egypt were badass. It kinda reminded me of the cooler parts of Stargate, but then the movie fast-forwarded to the 80s and that was kinda blah. Apocalypse talks way too much in this movie. He was always mumbling about power or being a God or some nonsense. The other mutants should've just put a lid on all that talking. I think he also talked a bunch in the cartoon as well. Didn't he have an "A" belt? I sorta recall that.

Anyway the movie had good action in some parts and then it was corny and weak in others. Magneto is an easily-influenced little bitch in this film though, totally different from First Class. It's still worth a gander though; rental on a big TV is good enough.
Rating - B

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Captain America: Civil War (Action 2016)

So I actually saw this movie twice in the theater; once was free. It was the same both times and overall it was pretty much in line with the rest of the Avengers series.

Since none of these Marvel films are deep in any way, shape, or form, I'd say that it was enjoyable and had all of the regular shenanigans we are used to. There were only a few jokes though; not as many as other movies had in the past.

It's worth a rent just so you can keep in the loop.
Rating - B

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Jungle Book (Adventure 2016)

I don't remember the cartoon much even though I sorta recall a bunch of scenes with the bear. Go Disney for playing specific scenes over and over again to influence my childhood memories. As a standalone film this was actually not that bad though. CGI was quite realistic; even more than a really good PC game.

I didn't really care for Christopher Walken's giant baboon character, but thankfully he was only in one section of the movie. Most of the other scenes were entertaining enough and the whole plot moved pretty quickly. Yeah I was surprised that it was and OK film.
Rating - B

Deadpool (Action Comedy 2016)

So this movie was OK. It had lots of jokes and such, but since it concentrated too much on the witty, snarky remarks, the actual storyline suffered. And yes I know...how much of a storyline can one expect from a comic film, but I suppose I was expecting more even though I knew I wouldn't be getting it with this.

So yeah action and special effects were right about where they needed to be but the story was so forgettable. Not really sure why it got such high ratings.
Rating - C

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The End of the Tour (Drama 2015)

So this is one of those pseudo-intelligent films that follows around 2 writers; one non-successful one is tailing around a successful one during a book tour. It was a slow movie that focused on conversation rather than plot. I'm not sure if I liked it or not since it really wasn't entertaining, but I did understand what was going on.

I think most folks wouldn't like the movie since barely anything happened in it, but the main actor, Jason Segel, did do a good job portraying this kinda troubled author. I'm sure I might've missed the true purpose of the film, but as it stands, it was fair, just boring.
Rating - C

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Poldark (TV Series 2015)

Here's one of those BBC series that I used to think was dreadfully boring but instead I found myself clicking the next button a bunch of times after each episode finished up.

The story is about this British guy in the late 18th century who returns from the American Revolutionary War to his lands in England, as he was from a minor aristocratic family. He sets up shop and tries to get his life together and for some reason an interesting story formed around this premise.

The character struck me as sorta an ass, but sometimes he made some positive decisions so I suppose he was a good enough character to root for. I like the way these British folk form their sentences though...the dialog can get interesting and makes you feel like you're in a fancy library.

Again, I never thought I would enjoy a whole BBC series, but I guess that's what happens when you get older. Before you know it I might be donating to PBS...or not I'm too cheap for that.
Rating - High

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Bosch (TV Series 2014)

I usually don't review TV series' since I don't own a TV anymore, but since streaming had moved out of its adolescent phase, I find myself watching more shows while working out.

So what I do it watch the 1st episode of a lot of shows and see what sticks. It's funny how some shows totally draw you in from the get-go and so many others totally crash and die in a ditch someplace; luckily this show wasn't one of those.

From the first pilot episode I was hooked...the characters, feel, and continuous plotline were all quite good. I blasted through the whole 2 seasons without a second thought. Yeah its new to me that a TV series can truly have a continuous plot. Other past shows like ER or Firefly were kinda mini stories per episode but this show, along with others I've recently watched seriously had one long plot...sorta like watching a super long film.

Either way I would highly recommend this series to anyone who has time to burn.
Rating - High

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Terminator Genisys (Action 2015)

I barely remembered that this movie even existed since it was in and out of theaters pretty quick. Initial reviews said it sucked, but ironically it was actually one of the better ones after T2.

First off though, you got to know that the whole story is out of control...seriously it's all over the place. Time warping, multiple timelines in the same stream, an invincible terminator, etc. The whole movie is an action-filled mess mixed in with jokes stacked upon more jokes, but you know what? It wasn't that bad since that's what a Terminator movie is supposed to be like, similar to any Avengers film.

The last Terminator was supposed to be more gritty and refined, but this one seemed better. Totally worth a rent as long as you know what you're getting yourself into....another silly action movie and nothing else.
Rating - B

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Admiral (Military Drama 2008)

So this was an older Russian movie about an Imperial Navy Admiral during the end of WWI and throughout the Russian Civil War. Costumes and settings were quite impressive but everything else wasn't. The story plodded along and they kept on interjecting the whole relationship love triangle that the Admiral had with one of his subordinate's wives, but even that was lacking. The guy's story is sorta tragic but at the same time kinda stupid as well. If you are a commander of the Whites during a Civil war you should really never go anywhere without your trusted peeps.

So as a movie it wasn't that good but I still liked the details on the uniforms, go Navy stuff.
Rating - C

Monday, March 21, 2016

Inside Man (Thriller 2006)

This was one of those crime thrillers from back in the mid 2000s. I never got around to watching it so why not now. The execution in this one was good, but the story was all over the place. It wasn't enjoyable like other Denzel films that had a good pace and a good story. This one fell right on its face. When the credits started rolling I still didn't quite understand what happened. With such a cast you would've thought that it should've turned out better than it did.
Rating - D

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Zootopia (Animated 2016)

Just got back from watching this movie. Not bad, but I thought it would be better. They pretty much showed the funniest part of the film in the trailer (DMV scene), so unfortunately there wasn't too much that was as funny as that.

The main theme/morale of the story was a positive one, so I'm sure that will resonate with the current generation of kiddies. The whole thing was probably only worth a rent.
Rating - B

In the Heart of the Sea (Drama 2015)

I think the trailer for this movie was much better done than the movie itself. It was supposed to be about the story of Moby Dick, a book that I never needed to read (thankfully) for school.

This film just felt boring. Characters were superficial, action was blah, and I didn't feel any realism to it. All of the trappings were there for it to be something better, but it really was a disapointing movie.
Rating - D

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Last Witch Hunter (Action 2015)

You know what's interesting? I've seen much worse in my day. Of course I wasn't expecting anything spectacular with this film, but it actually surprised me as it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Sure it did still suck and was rushed through like most fantasy-esque films, but I actually liked it much like I liked Underworld. Underworld was better of course.

Special effects were OK, story was not bad, and acting was eh. It was campy at times but yeah it is one of 'those' movies.
Rating - C


Wednesday, March 09, 2016

The 33 (Drama 2015)

So this movie kinda sucked. The story was OK (we all know the ending), but the whole build-up and everything in the middle felt like filler without a base. The two primaries, Banderas and Lou Diamond Phillips, merely took turns at emotional monologue scenes or frustrated, yelling ones, but it was so disconnected with all of the other scenes. It didn't feel like a real movie, more like 3 TV episodes smushed together.
Rating - C

The Revenant (Drama 2015)

So as a movie it was OK, but it really wasn't worth all the hype. I'm sure I could think of a handful of films that were of the same quality that didn't get a bunch of accolades or attention either.

What I'll give this film is its style and cinematography. Many shots were pretty well done and all of the makeup for DiCaprio freezing in the snow were spot on. The story was fair but very linear as well. I suppose DiCaprio acted like ass off and got ransacked by a bear so that deserved best actor...we'll give him this one.

It is just a rental though. A very slow rental because the action is equally as slow.
Rating - B

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The Big Short (Drama 2015)

This was a pretty good movie about the financial meltdown caused by the housing market. It was similar to the documentary film about Enron. In this film some "good guys" won, but not really since they were just lucky or smart enough to see a good deal and jumped on it while the rest of the US economy took a shit.

I suppose the film further supports the fact that a lot of big money folks have been and probably will forever be taking advantage of the system and screwing the little guy over. The little guy does make some bad decisions though. As a movie it was better than average and it kept my interest, so kudos to that. Definitely worth a rent.
Rating - B

The Good Dinosaur (Animated Adventure 2015)

This movie was a partial The Land Before Time ripoff and you can guess which film is better. I'll follow Ducky and Petrie before tailing around these clowns. Haha, but no, it wasn't that bad, it was just boring. There have been other Disney/Pixar films that have not been full-blown Pixar. There's a huge difference between the storytelling quality of the two.

I think kids may even be bored while watching this movie...it had no interesting characters and was very mediocre overall. I barely remember watching it.
Rating - D

Kung Fu Panda 3 (Animated Comedy 2016)

I suppose this movie was better than the 2nd one, but the first still takes the cake. It's the same old Jack Black comedy with a few more forced joke and exaggerated excitement. Dreamworks is just trying to make more money.
Rating - C

Monday, January 18, 2016

Samsung GearVR

So this device caught my eye back a little under a year ago when the Developer Edition was first released for around $200. When they finally decided to go full retail on the technology for only $99, I was all over it.

The GearVR only works with the Galaxy S6/Edge/Note generation of smartphones. It functions by utilizing the phone itself, plugging in through a USB input, and auto-launching an Oculus App. The headset consists of only a few lenses, a touchpad, plastic, pass-throughs, and straps. All of the heavy-duty work is all done by the phone.

So let's get to it. Is the device all that it's cracked up to be? Yes, using it and experiencing where VR technology is right now was a grand experience. A lot of the visuals were hit/miss as some were way too low-res while others were just right. They need to get everything in high-def before people will take it more seriously though. A lot of applications were there to just showcase what the technology could do and that was pretty cool.

I'd define the headset as a neat toy to try out and tinker around with. It would give developers and forward thinkers a lot to ponder about regarding the capabilities of this tech. Everything from games to teaching to communication. There were a lot of possibilities since it was a very immersive experience.

The first negative was that my S6 phone got super hot after only 10-15 min of use and the software would warn you and then shut off. Some people were making heat-sinks out of old CPU copper or tinfoil and such. Kinda ridiculous but not really if you wanted to use the GearVR for longer swaths of time. The second negative was that the applications were way too limited and in its infancy. Do you remember when Smartphone apps first came out and there were just a buttload of random crap everywhere? Picture that but just with a whole lot less content. Different folks have some financial backing and are trying to produce content but it's truly hit/miss. After a few more years somebody is bound to produce an app that people will actually use. It'll need to be on dedicated hardware though since this overheating issue is unacceptable.

For me I never got nauseous, like VR back in the early 90s, but my eyes didn't feel too good and I did start getting a headache. Again...it's a great 30min toy to demo, but there's still a lot that needs to be done before VR goes mainstream.