Justice League: Humanity

Justice League: Humanity

What kind of Justice League movie do I want to see with the current actors already cast? It would be called Justice League: Humanity

– where Superman has accepted the fact that he is literally a god, is aware of every crisis on Earth, and has chosen to shut himself down emotionally in order to best serve the universe. His story arc would be his finding a way to feel again while still doing as much good as possible.

– where Batman optimizes his efficiency to the point where he is a sociopathic automaton, acting as judge, jury and executioner in order to cut out the middle man, due process, which he thinks just gets in the way. His would be analogous to corporate CEOs and their laser focus on profitability, but his focus would be on swift justice. His story arc would involve finding a flaw in this method, and also finding balance between efficiency and humanity. His would be similar to Rorschach, except there would be a light at the end of the tunnel.

– where Wonder Woman would begin with a disdain for the society outside of Themyscira, especially America, and she would be constantly questioning the methods of this new society, especially its patriarchal tendencies. Her story arc would involve learning, understanding, accepting, but continuing to try to change the new society for the better.

– where The Flash’s Barry Allen is continually trying to balance his superhero life with married life, to Iris West, trying to be a good human and living a “normal” life but struggling with the power and knowledge that he could get more done if he simply went faster. His story arc would involve finding a solution to speed vs. normal.

– where Cyborg would be the ingenue, the young learner, and the whole story would be from his innocent point of view. He would constantly be cataloguing the daily actions of these superheroes while tempering that data with the human condition, to try to find a balance between how a machine operates and how a man lives his daily life. His story arc would be similar to The Vision’s in Age of Ultron or Data in Star Trek, always trying to decide which is the best path to take in order to do the most good. He would continually be comparing himself to Batman, the man who would be machine.

– where Aquaman is the Easy Rider of the group, the chaos bringer, the undependable, inconsistent piece to the puzzle. His unpredictability is both a blessing and a curse, and it drives both the good guys and the bad guys crazy, and sometimes even wins the big fights. He wouldn’t really have a story arc, because his wouldn’t be as much a character as an idea and a catalyst for the others to bounce off of. His chaos balances out everyone else’s quest for balance, sanity and understanding.

– where the villain(s) would be a chimera and a chameleon, much like John Doe was in Seven. The villain(s) would create conflicts that would ultimately present solutions to each of the heroes’ personal conflicts. Problems that need to be solved by first solving the self.

By the end of the movie, there would be no deaths, only banishment and self-imposed exile for some of the heroes. This would serve to make room for other characters’ story arcs as well as act as a pseudo-reboot for the series that would hopefully bring a freshness to the next movie.

 

 

 

 

Donate to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

If you enjoyed this and want to donate to a good cause, please consider sending a PayPal gift of any amount to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue. Even if you donate JUST ONE DOLLAR, that dollar will buy a can of food that a rescuer can feed a stray cat, or help get the cat in a humane trap so it can be taken to an animal hospital to be checked out medically and spayed/neutered. Just one dollar will help prevent unnecessary kittens being born and help with controlling overpopulation. If you give just one dollar, you’ll feel good about yourself. Promise.
http://makingbiscuits.org/
https://www.facebook.com/MakingBiscuitsCatRescue/

About Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

Making Biscuits is a cat rescue started in June of 2009 in an effort to humanely reduce the overpopulation of stray and feral cats. Adoptable cats are spayed/neutered, defleaed, dewormed, vaccinated, microchipped, given veterinary care including, when necessary, seen by a veterinary specialist (i.e., dental, eye, etc.), fed premium food and loved immensely. Making Biscuits feels very strongly about the role nutrition plays in the long-term health of our cats and whenever possible, educates pet owners. We advocate spay and neuter and often help people in the Long Beach and surrounding areas with their own pets as well as strays by loaning traps and cages, humanely trapping, defleaing/deworming, teaching bottle feeding, providing information about area clinics, veterinarians, behaviorists and all other aspects of cat parenting.

If you’re on Amazon, you can also send Making Biscuits a gift from their wish list:
http://amzn.to/1XHjVC4

Or go here and select “Making Biscuits Cat Rescue” as your charity of choice (it costs you NOTHING, Amazon will donate a % of THEIR profits to the charity):
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2801690

Credits

Music is “Orbiting A Distant Planet” by the Denver, Colorado group Quantum Jazz, through the Free Music Archive:
http://freemusicarchive.org/search/?sort=track_date_published&d=1&page=12&quicksearch=orbiting+a+distant+planet

Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

 

 

Justice League Trailer Written Response

Justice League Trailer Written Response

The new Justice League trailer came out this morning. This was my written response to one of the Facebook posts:

 

If you look at the most critically acclaimed superhero movies, beginning from the first Christopher Reeve Superman, one aspect is strong with most/all of them: at least one of the main characters is kind.

Reeve’s Superman had a kindness that at least in my opinion doesn’t exist in any of the Supermen that came after him. Cavill looks like he’s trying to “act” kind and caring, but I just don’t buy it. We had to wait decades later and jump to the Marvel universe to see that kindness repeated with Captain America.

* (Some parts of Man of Steel, esp with both of Superman’s fathers, had touches of kindness, so they get half-credit.)

Guardians of the Galaxy is oozing with it, and that was wildly successful.

Batman Begins and The Dark Knight’s anchor was Michael Caine’s Alfred, and his taking care of Bruce felt genuine. Even Bruce Wayne’s dad, in the short scenes with the stethoscope, had genuine kindness. Morgan Freeman’s voice is automatically comforting and supportive.

Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man 2 was also oozing with it, including Doc Oc’s redemption scene. And of course, Aunt May’s speech of the century.

Iron Man had Yentsin’s death scene.

Avengers had Cap America’s sacrifice with the people in the building, and Iron Man’s nuclear suicide flight.

In Dawn of Justice, the logistics of Superman’s death was plain stupid and convoluted.

In both Thor movies, not a lot of feels. All the gods looked like they knew they were gods.

The Black Panther, I think, has the potential to ooze with kindness, and Chadwick Boseman’s cradling his father combined with his empathy toward Zemo at the end is a good indication that his standalone movie is going to be a hit as well as critically embraced.

In terms of X-men movies, Logan cornered the market with Patrick Stewart’s performance–his was the most believable, sincere, vulnerable, HUMAN, out of all the X-men movies.

Deadpool’s dysfunctional characters’ kindness toward one another felt real–how the married couple lamented over Wade’s cancers, Wade with the blind lady–even if it wasn’t traditional kindness, it felt genuine in an effed up way.

So far, I haven’t seen this kindness in Batman v. Superman, and most of Man of Steel, especially since Amy-frickin-Adams was Lois Lane! Talk about missed opportunity! It’s like Zack Snyder doesn’t know how to feel like a human being, so he just kinda skips that part in his movies and instead gives us a vapid light show. He did the same with the abusive scenes in Watchmen–absolutely no empathy towards Silk Spectre’s plight. 300 was just an armed forces training video with spears. And Sucker Punch turned pedophilia and mysogyny into a video game.

Technically and visually, Justice League is near flawless. But when it comes to humanity, it feels hollow. Justice League feels like the exact opposite of Logan. You can’t hire a heartless robot to write and perform a Johnny Cash song.

 

 

 

 

Donate to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

If you enjoyed this and want to donate to a good cause, please consider sending a PayPal gift of any amount to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue. Even if you donate JUST ONE DOLLAR, that dollar will buy a can of food that a rescuer can feed a stray cat, or help get the cat in a humane trap so it can be taken to an animal hospital to be checked out medically and spayed/neutered. Just one dollar will help prevent unnecessary kittens being born and help with controlling overpopulation. If you give just one dollar, you’ll feel good about yourself. Promise.
http://makingbiscuits.org/
https://www.facebook.com/MakingBiscuitsCatRescue/

About Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

Making Biscuits is a cat rescue started in June of 2009 in an effort to humanely reduce the overpopulation of stray and feral cats. Adoptable cats are spayed/neutered, defleaed, dewormed, vaccinated, microchipped, given veterinary care including, when necessary, seen by a veterinary specialist (i.e., dental, eye, etc.), fed premium food and loved immensely. Making Biscuits feels very strongly about the role nutrition plays in the long-term health of our cats and whenever possible, educates pet owners. We advocate spay and neuter and often help people in the Long Beach and surrounding areas with their own pets as well as strays by loaning traps and cages, humanely trapping, defleaing/deworming, teaching bottle feeding, providing information about area clinics, veterinarians, behaviorists and all other aspects of cat parenting.

If you’re on Amazon, you can also send Making Biscuits a gift from their wish list:
http://amzn.to/1XHjVC4

Or go here and select “Making Biscuits Cat Rescue” as your charity of choice (it costs you NOTHING, Amazon will donate a % of THEIR profits to the charity):
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2801690

Credits

Music is “Orbiting A Distant Planet” by the Denver, Colorado group Quantum Jazz, through the Free Music Archive:
http://freemusicarchive.org/search/?sort=track_date_published&d=1&page=12&quicksearch=orbiting+a+distant+planet
Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

 

 

No Cheese Please – LOGAN Movie Written Review (Spoilers!)

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No Cheese Please – LOGAN Movie Written Review (Spoilers!)

Logan: “Everybody that I care about dies.”
Laura: “Then I should be fine.”

I’d been trying to figure out why I think Logan is a brilliant movie and for a few days I couldn’t put my finger on it, until now.

Answer: it doesn’t have cheese.

The movie treats itself not as a movie made up of people with “amazing” superpowers, but more as a straightforward western-style thriller, with characters that regular people like us can relate to. There aren’t any tongue-in-cheek moments, or blatant fan-service easter eggs that would make you roll your eyes upon recognition. There are no snappy puns, one-liners, or cliches. The fourth wall is never broken. There’s no mcguffin, and nature or luck or coincidence never steps in to save the day. There’s no wasted dialogue of the heroes and villains telling each other what they’re going to do to each other before they actually start fighting. It’s continually self-reflecting but never self-aggrandizing. There’s no posturing.

Everything is laid bare, everything is exposed. Everything is honest. Everyone gets hurt.

Logan reminds me of three Clint Eastwood-directed movies: Unforgiven, Million Dollar Baby, and Gran Torino. Each is an intimate tone poem, a moment in a much bigger universe, each with a definitive ending. Logan has the same methodical pacing as the Eastwood movies, taking its time and keeping the story simple. You could even say it’s sparse, compared to the typical blockbuster superhero movie. There’s a lot of open road, there’s a lot of time to talk, there’s enough time to do nothing to the point that the real truths get squeezed out to break the desperate silence.

Now for the players. Hugh Jackman, like a seasoned jazz musician, has portrayed the character for so long, for so many times, that he can now improvise his moves organically, seamlessly, going from rage to sorrow to emptiness to hope, and make us believe every step of it. He is the hub of the story, the caregiver, the caretaker, the son, the father, the friend, the provider, the protector. His constant limp, the source of which is never explained, is a constant reminder of his fragility, whether or not his healing factor can still squeeze bullet shells out of his battered body. His hidden reserve of Wolverine power is still there, but we know it’ll be gone soon. He is dying from within, from age and time and relentless hardship. He is dying because he refuses to give up. And the closer he gets to that moment, the closer he gets to being like us, the more we identify with him.

Patrick Stewart, like our own elders, plays the burden as well as the movie’s conscience. He is the load that we all bear on our shoulders throughout life, but also the lessons that we learn from carrying it. For all intents he is Logan’s father, suffering from senility and Alzheimer’s and making everyone suffer when his telepathic episodes flare up. He reminds us that we all affect each other, even when we try not to, even when we distance ourselves. The steel water tower that acts as his home and psychic shield serves like our own convalescent facilities, where he hide away our seniors when they become burdensome, when they become “too much” to handle. Stewart portrays a nonagenerian with schizophrenic unpredictability, wavering from a wise teacher to a giddy child to a stubborn patient. Anyone who’s ever taken care of a senior can identify with Logan when Charles petulantly sticks his tongue out to show that he has indeed swallowed his meds. And when you’re just about sick of his shit, he becomes fragile again, needing to be carried and dressed and guided. The way I see it, for an actor to portray an old person that well, he must have studied them, spent enough time with them, enough to understand and sympathize with them. A lesser actor would have aped the role, would have made it either too comical to be believable, or so dim and hopeless that the performance becomes monotone, one depressing note. I believed Stewart’s portrayal because he reminded of my own real life parents and grandparents.

Dafne Keen portrays Laura, the product of an organization that values control and profit at the cost of innocence and natural progress. She never had a childhood. She was never given a proper birthday party. As Wolverine began as Weapon X in the comic books, Laura was raised to be a weapon, an X-23. And just as Patrick Stewart could have portrayed a senior without depth or nuance, Keen could have lazily portrayed Laura as a killing machine, like in a Terminator movie. Since she didn’t speak for the first half of the movie, she had to show us who she is through her physical movements, her eyes, her subtle gestures, her convincing way of eating cereal just like any other American kid would while still keeping her survival instincts at high alert, and ALL of this without parody or exagerration. When she showed that she could kill without hesitation, we still needed to be assured that that’s not all that she was. She used her body to shield Charles from gunfire not because she was programmed by scientists, but by natural instincts. Her rubber ball and backpack could have been cliched props, but they were believably hers, her only possessions. James Mangold, the director, kept her at a distance from us, the audience, just long enough so that when she finally did talk, and the verbal floodgates opened, it was a wonderful, cathartic moment of relief.

Stephen Merchant as Caliban is the sacrificial lamb in all of this, the penitent man, the alarm clock, the bargaining chip, the closest thing to the movie’s comedy relief. He, like the other adults, is filled with regret since he used to help the Reavers round up mutants. He atones for his past sins by helping Logan take care of Charles, by doing what he can to help the few remaining mutants safe. His skills are limited because he is also dying. And for most of the movie, he is disposable, a liability–he wasn’t even welcome to join Logan and Charles on their ultimate goal, buying a Sunseeker boat and living in the middle of the ocean. Merchant’s portrayal of an albino mutant telepath who is allergic to light could easily have been overdone to the point of being comical or two-dimensional. Instead, the movie’s focus is on his effort and allegiance, desperately trying to make himself useful somehow, some way. His last gesture, of committing suicide to provide distraction so that Logan, Charles and Laura can escape, is a poignant one, that tells us that no one is ever, absolutely, useless.

As for the bad guys, there are plenty. But I think the true villain in this story is time. The atrophy that comes with time. The time that is never enough. The time that we lose through neglect, and regret that we could never get back. The death that, given enough time, comes to all of us.

Which makes our time here more precious. No time to waste on superficial dialogue. No time to waste on unnecessary subplots and characters. No time to waste on flashy costumes.

I think director/writer James Mangold and Hugh Jackman, who I’ve heard came up with the original story in a dream, respects time enough not to have an open-ended ending. Logan is dead, Charles is dead, Caliban is dead, and the children will reach Eden, period. The movie doesn’t require an alternate timeline in an alternate universe. It doesn’t need continuity with other X-men movies. Nobody will be resurrected here. There are no maybes.

I think this is why I admire this movie so much. It had an uncompromising goal, and reached it.

This review also appears on my Letterboxd page: https://letterboxd.com/thedailyknight/film/logan-2017/

 

 

 

Donate to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

If you enjoyed this and want to donate to a good cause, please consider sending a PayPal gift of any amount to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue. Even if you donate JUST ONE DOLLAR, that dollar will buy a can of food that a rescuer can feed a stray cat, or help get the cat in a humane trap so it can be taken to an animal hospital to be checked out medically and spayed/neutered. Just one dollar will help prevent unnecessary kittens being born and help with controlling overpopulation. If you give just one dollar, you’ll feel good about yourself. Promise.
http://makingbiscuits.org/
https://www.facebook.com/MakingBiscuitsCatRescue/

About Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

Making Biscuits is a cat rescue started in June of 2009 in an effort to humanely reduce the overpopulation of stray and feral cats. Adoptable cats are spayed/neutered, defleaed, dewormed, vaccinated, microchipped, given veterinary care including, when necessary, seen by a veterinary specialist (i.e., dental, eye, etc.), fed premium food and loved immensely. Making Biscuits feels very strongly about the role nutrition plays in the long-term health of our cats and whenever possible, educates pet owners. We advocate spay and neuter and often help people in the Long Beach and surrounding areas with their own pets as well as strays by loaning traps and cages, humanely trapping, defleaing/deworming, teaching bottle feeding, providing information about area clinics, veterinarians, behaviorists and all other aspects of cat parenting.

If you’re on Amazon, you can also send Making Biscuits a gift from their wish list:
http://amzn.to/1XHjVC4

Or go here and select “Making Biscuits Cat Rescue” as your charity of choice (it costs you NOTHING, Amazon will donate a % of THEIR profits to the charity):
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2801690

Credits

Music is “Orbiting A Distant Planet” by the Denver, Colorado group Quantum Jazz, through the Free Music Archive:
http://freemusicarchive.org/search/?sort=track_date_published&d=1&page=12&quicksearch=orbiting+a+distant+planet
Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

 

 

LOGAN Movie Spoiler Review – The Daily Knight #60

LOGAN movie review

LOGAN movie review

LOGAN Movie Spoiler Review – The Daily Knight #60

 

(As soon as I left the theater I wrote the paragraphs below.)

I think about this movie and I tremble. About the consequences of past sins and how elusive happiness can be. About a future that is in our hands to mold or destroy, and a future that is so mired in fog and apprehension that sometimes it’s not even worth considering.

I think about the confusion of youth, how as children we are literally thrown into a world that we are forced to understand, survive in, adapt to, assimilate to. I think about the frustration of old age, about confusion, futility, about anticipating and then steadily watching your own mind wither away, until the people around you have no choice but to become your necessary limbs.

I think about the people caught in the middle of all this, those who are still young enough to hope but old enough to regret. About the tugs of war that happen within a person’s heart regardless of their age, about choosing to care for the weak or choosing to care for oneself, or being forced to do both.

I just saw Logan, and the first part of my written review is above. This is a perfect movie. No matter who you are, go see it.

 

Donate to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

If you enjoyed this and want to donate to a good cause, please consider sending a PayPal gift of any amount to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue. Even if you donate JUST ONE DOLLAR, that dollar will buy a can of food that a rescuer can feed a stray cat, or help get the cat in a humane trap so it can be taken to an animal hospital to be checked out medically and spayed/neutered. Just one dollar will help prevent unnecessary kittens being born and help with controlling overpopulation. If you give just one dollar, you’ll feel good about yourself. Promise.
http://makingbiscuits.org/
https://www.facebook.com/MakingBiscuitsCatRescue/

About Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

Making Biscuits is a cat rescue started in June of 2009 in an effort to humanely reduce the overpopulation of stray and feral cats. Adoptable cats are spayed/neutered, defleaed, dewormed, vaccinated, microchipped, given veterinary care including, when necessary, seen by a veterinary specialist (i.e., dental, eye, etc.), fed premium food and loved immensely. Making Biscuits feels very strongly about the role nutrition plays in the long-term health of our cats and whenever possible, educates pet owners. We advocate spay and neuter and often help people in the Long Beach and surrounding areas with their own pets as well as strays by loaning traps and cages, humanely trapping, defleaing/deworming, teaching bottle feeding, providing information about area clinics, veterinarians, behaviorists and all other aspects of cat parenting.

If you’re on Amazon, you can also send Making Biscuits a gift from their wish list:
http://amzn.to/1XHjVC4

Or go here and select “Making Biscuits Cat Rescue” as your charity of choice (it costs you NOTHING, Amazon will donate a % of THEIR profits to the charity):
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2801690

Credits

Music is “Orbiting A Distant Planet” by the Denver, Colorado group Quantum Jazz, through the Free Music Archive:
http://freemusicarchive.org/search/?sort=track_date_published&d=1&page=12&quicksearch=orbiting+a+distant+planet
Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

 

 

Essay – You Had One Job and Three Chances…

You Had One Job and Three Chances…

So yeah, that happened. At the Oscars. The second biggest televised event of the year, next to the Super Bowl.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers is the company that tallies all the votes for the Academy Awards. They print the results on a master list that’s kept at an undisclosed location. They also print those results on cards that go into the red envelopes that get opened by the presenters during the actual show. They print two identical sets of those cards and envelopes, and give one set to one PriceWaterhouseCoopers representative who stands off to the left side of the stage, and the other set to another rep who stands off the right side of the stage. Before the presenters, for example, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, walk onto the stage, they are handed one of those twin envelopes. If they walk in from the left side of the stage, the left side PriceWaterhouseCoopers rep hands him his card, and if they walk in from the right side of the stage, the right side rep hands him her copy.

It seems as if one of the reps handed Beatty and Dunaway the duplicate, sealed envelope from the PREVIOUS winner, Emma Stone (best actress), instead of the winner for Best Picture. When Beatty opened the envelope and saw Emma Stone’s name, he got confused, and then handed the card to Faye Dunaway, who must have skimmed past the Emma Stone part and went straight to the La La Land part, and said what she said.

And the next few minutes will be the most popular stream on YouTube until Beyonce makes another announcement.

Flashback: When I was a kid taking piano lessons, and we had to play a couple of songs at the winter recital, our teacher had one very important tip: MAKE SURE YOU NAIL THE END OF THE SONG. You should try to begin the song competently, and you can afford to mess up a little in the middle, but never ever end the song with a mistake.

Maybe Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were a little nervous and didn’t pay close enough attention to what was written on the envelope or the actual card. Maybe one of the reps, the one that had the duplicate Emma Stone card, was so excited to meet Bonnie and Clyde that they pulled out the wrong envelope to hand to them. Maybe everyone backstage was focused more on the champagne and the crafts table.

Regardless, they had many chances to fix the problem before it got out of hand. Once La La Land was mistakenly announced, one of the PriceWaterhouseCoopers reps should have caught the mistake and stopped the La La Land people from walking up to the stage. Long before that, they should have had a more methodical way of doling out the envelopes, ESPECIALLY since they knew they had duplicates. Maybe Beatty and Dunaway should have taken initiative and just stopped the program as soon as they realized that something was hinky–they’re in the league of Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, so they’re allowed that sort of thing.

But they didn’t, and so I have something to write about.

I just think that for an event in which armies of paparazzi, red carpet bodyguards, hairstylists and makeup artists, dress fitters and dress makers, and trains and trains of broadcast trucks are able to be wrangled to run smoothly enough, that a set of cards and envelopes could be more efficiently organized. It’s like spending tens of thousands of dollars for a wedding, and the groomsman forgets the ring.

 

Donate to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

If you enjoyed this and want to donate to a good cause, please consider sending a PayPal gift of any amount to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue. Even if you donate JUST ONE DOLLAR, that dollar will buy a can of food that a rescuer can feed a stray cat, or help get the cat in a humane trap so it can be taken to an animal hospital to be checked out medically and spayed/neutered. Just one dollar will help prevent unnecessary kittens being born and help with controlling overpopulation. If you give just one dollar, you’ll feel good about yourself. Promise.
http://makingbiscuits.org/
https://www.facebook.com/MakingBiscuitsCatRescue/

About Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

Making Biscuits is a cat rescue started in June of 2009 in an effort to humanely reduce the overpopulation of stray and feral cats. Adoptable cats are spayed/neutered, defleaed, dewormed, vaccinated, microchipped, given veterinary care including, when necessary, seen by a veterinary specialist (i.e., dental, eye, etc.), fed premium food and loved immensely. Making Biscuits feels very strongly about the role nutrition plays in the long-term health of our cats and whenever possible, educates pet owners. We advocate spay and neuter and often help people in the Long Beach and surrounding areas with their own pets as well as strays by loaning traps and cages, humanely trapping, defleaing/deworming, teaching bottle feeding, providing information about area clinics, veterinarians, behaviorists and all other aspects of cat parenting.

If you’re on Amazon, you can also send Making Biscuits a gift from their wish list:
http://amzn.to/1XHjVC4

Or go here and select “Making Biscuits Cat Rescue” as your charity of choice (it costs you NOTHING, Amazon will donate a % of THEIR profits to the charity):
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2801690

The Daily Knight #59 – The Walking Dead S7E9, other Mini-Reviews

The Daily Knight #59 – The Walking Dead S7E9, other Mini-Reviews

* Special thanks to my buddy Fernando for telling me the priest story that his father told him the day before;)

  • The Walking Dead Season 7, Episode 9 Review – “The Rock in the Road”
  • Legion TV show premiere episode quick review
  • Arrival movie quick review
  • Queen of Katwe quick review

Donate to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

If you enjoyed this and want to donate to a good cause, please consider sending a PayPal gift of any amount to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue. Even if you donate JUST ONE DOLLAR, that dollar will buy a can of food that a rescuer can feed a stray cat, or help get the cat in a humane trap so it can be taken to an animal hospital to be checked out medically and spayed/neutered. Just one dollar will help prevent unnecessary kittens being born and help with controlling overpopulation. If you give just one dollar, you’ll feel good about yourself. Promise.
http://makingbiscuits.org/
https://www.facebook.com/MakingBiscuitsCatRescue/

About Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

Making Biscuits is a cat rescue started in June of 2009 in an effort to humanely reduce the overpopulation of stray and feral cats. Adoptable cats are spayed/neutered, defleaed, dewormed, vaccinated, microchipped, given veterinary care including, when necessary, seen by a veterinary specialist (i.e., dental, eye, etc.), fed premium food and loved immensely. Making Biscuits feels very strongly about the role nutrition plays in the long-term health of our cats and whenever possible, educates pet owners. We advocate spay and neuter and often help people in the Long Beach and surrounding areas with their own pets as well as strays by loaning traps and cages, humanely trapping, defleaing/deworming, teaching bottle feeding, providing information about area clinics, veterinarians, behaviorists and all other aspects of cat parenting.

If you’re on Amazon, you can also send Making Biscuits a gift from their wish list:
http://amzn.to/1XHjVC4

Or go here and select “Making Biscuits Cat Rescue” as your charity of choice (it costs you NOTHING, Amazon will donate a % of THEIR profits to the charity):
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2801690

Credits

Music is “Orbiting A Distant Planet” by the Denver, Colorado group Quantum Jazz, through the Free Music Archive:
http://freemusicarchive.org/search/?sort=track_date_published&d=1&page=12&quicksearch=orbiting+a+distant+planet
Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

 

 

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

The Most Anticipated Movies of 2017

I took a quick poll among my friends, asking them to choose their top 5 most anticipated movies for 2017. These are the ones that got the most votes. My thoughts on each of these movies are below.

Guardians of the Galaxy – 11 votes
May 5, 2017

For Guardians it’s a matter of sustainability—can they sustain the freshness of the first movie? Can Baby Groot be as charming as Big Groot? Will Dave Bautista’s Drax say lines that we never thought of saying in public? Will Rocket Racoon finally get on our nerves so we’re sick of his quips and negativity? How long can Starlord and Gamora flirt with each other before something needs to happen between them?

From the looks of the first couple of teasers and trailers, it looks like YES to all these questions, but remember that these are only a couple minutes of movie footage that are setup to wow us immediately. This movie will probably be close to 2.5 hours long, so there’s a lot of time left to fill with freshness.

BUT Guardians has the LUXURY of officially being in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which already has over a dozen successful movies under its belt, and has access to literally dozens of interesting characters, plot lines, villains and scenarios! So…basically…ANYTHING GOES, and it will probably work!

James Gunn, at least with the first Guardians, has been able to throw many of the rules out the window while still keeping enough consistency to qualify them to remain within the Marvel MCU, including almost breaking the fourth wall with scenes that out and out state the obvious (“Well now I’m standing. Happy? We’re all standing now. Bunch of jackasses, standing in a circle.” Rocket from Guardians 1, and “She just told everyone your deepest darkest secret!” Drax from Guardians 2)

 

Star Wars: Episode VIII – 8 votes
Dec 15, 2017

This is a no-brainer and 90% chance will be the biggest box office draw during its run, even if it’s not as well received as The Force Awakens.

Advantages

It’s the middle movie, which means that it’ll answer questions posed in the previous movie, PLUS have enough wiggle room to present a new set of questions for the next/final movie in the trilogy.

Carrie Fisher fans will pay homage to her by seeing this movie, and everyone else will be interested in how they’ll setup her character for Episode IX by what happens in this movie.

AND don’t forget there’s Rey, Finn and Poe’s own adventures…this saga is like the Marvel Universe, where there are enough subplots with very strong characters so that if one or two characters are a little weak, the others can pick up the pace.

It doesn’t have the fan service, try-to-please everyone pressure that The Force Awakens had, PLUS it benefits from the success of standalone movie Rogue One being, being able to tell its own story and have its own unique style. In many ways, Episode VIII can be absolutely, totally fresh, and people will probably still accept it with open arms because Rogue One has already prepared us for something new and fresh.

And we get Luke friggin’ Skywalker, finally!

Disadvantages

This one has to keep up with the scale and spectacle of The Force Awakens—this movie cannot be a Rogue One because people will expect more from it. People, also already having seen the massive spaceship fights and larger battles in Rogue One, won’t be forgiving if Episode VIII repeats the shorter, more intimate battle scenes offered in The Force Awakens. Episode VIII has to be bigger in almost every way, while maintaining the strong character development.

Episode VIII will need to introduce a darker tone without going fully dark, which is more work for everyone, especially the writer, director, and editors. If they can offer a really awesome, ominous movie, audiences might forgive if its dialogue is not as sharp and witty as The Force Awakens. In fact, audiences might even WANT the dialogue to more subdued and morose in this one.

After The Force Awakens and Rogue One, I think audiences are basically tired of just seeing the old X-wings and TIE fighters. This new movie will need to give us a new set of fantastic ships (and probably new locations), just like The Empire Strikes Back gave us AT-ATs, probe droids, snow speeders, the super stardestroyer, Cloud City, and Yoda.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming – 8 votes
July 7, 2017

On the surface this is an automatic money maker. The Disney/Marvel movie marketing machine is trying to attract yet one more demographic to their cinematic universe, which is the current Taylor Swift generation, as well as older people who grew up during the 80s, with movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The cafeteria scene in the trailer is right out of a John Hughes movie!

How Marvel Can Screw This Up

It will be VERY hard to not have this do well in the box office, but here are some points:

Marvel has to balance the snappy teenage dialogue while maintaining the trademark MCU action sequences. Audiences will want the same awesome as Spidey in the Civil War movie, but more of it, WITHOUT overdoing it or making it feel stale.

There will be more Spider-man movies with Tom Holland, so Marvel can’t blow their whole load in this first movie, BUT at the same time, the movie has to FEEL as if they’re blowing their whole load. Kinda tricky but Marvel has done it before, with Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy I. Both movies are open-ended but you felt satisfied watching them and you got your money’s worth.

To get an even wider audience, the movie has to be culturally diverse, but still have that retro Spidey feel to it, you know, when the world was a smaller, more ignorant place and New York wasn’t a soup of different ethnicities like it is now. Maybe focus on small, intimate scenes between Peter Parker and his Asian buddy Ned Leeds, interspersed with the 21st century action sequences and meetings with Tony Parker.

It has to stay away from being TOO CUTE. If it’s too cute, it’ll patronize the young people and make grownups angry. BUT it still has to have enough “aww…” scenes so Peter Parker stays endearing and we keep rooting for him to succeed.

Is Zendaya Peter Parker’s emo friendgirl? That relationship will have to be written impeccably and naturally, so whatever its evolution will feel organic. Again, make it modern but infuse it with the retro 50s attitude of simplicity.

I think Michael Keaton will nail it with his Vulture character—Keaton is a natural with these parts. And I would love it if they inject some Batman AND Birdman references in there somewhere, just to appease us older folks!

 

Thor: Ragnarok – 6 votes
Nov 3, 2017

In my opinion, this movie is the wildcard of the year, simply because it’s absolutely LOADED with talent (Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins and Benedict Cumberbatch, whew!) but hardly anybody has even talked about it! It’s like we’re so spoiled by Marvel movies always delivering great action, juicy dialog with impeccable acting and right-on-the-money directing and producing, that we don’t even worry about anything MCU anymore!

What We Know

It’s gonna have ACTION. Basically it’s Hulk vs. Thor on a planet where there are gladiator games.

AND THEN Doctor Strange is going to be in it! Along with Loki and Anthony Hopkins as Odin. So you have your Shakespearean acting filled.

AND THEN they throw in Cate Blanchett to class it up even more!

What I Hope

Groundbreaking action sequences full of weight and punch and originality—just when you think Marvel can’t possibly invent a better action sequence, they come up with the airport scene in Civil War! I would ask simply to be surprised by what they decide to do.

COMEDY. This cast is so good that they can easily be just as witty funny as they can being serious, with Cumberbatch’s dry and pompous wit in last November’s Doctor Strange being the latest example.

By the way, remember the indescribably original astral projection fight scene in the operating room during that movie? If that was anything but a Marvel MCU movie, people would STILL be talking about that scene, saying how groundbreaking it is. Plus Tilda Swinton’s Yoda-slash-Dalai Lama character adding yet another flavor to the already robust universe.

Bottom line is, because Marvel has so much magical momentum right now, as well as 16 movies that they’ve been able to learn from, they are better able to spot cinematic weaknesses in their productions early on, and correct them before the movie is shown to the public. I would be surprised if this movie doesn’t make as much money as Age of Ultron, and doesn’t get at least a 75% on Rotten Tomatoes. Its pedigree is just that good.

 

Logan – 6 votes
March 3, 2017

Now this is my sentimental favorite, that little film that could. Yes, it will have action but not blockbuster action, and that’ll be okay. The story will be linear and simple, with only a handful of characters, but that’s okay too. It’ll be a western, and that is SO very much okay with me.

There will probably not be any flying people, magic people, disintegration people, supernova people, or anybody who can leap further than a dozen yards at a time. Again, it’ll be a western, where the fight is settled with bullets and punches. In this case, claws and punches.

What do I want to see? I want a movie that takes its time, even if it risks disappointing viewers who want bigger action sequences.

I want the fewest words, but the best words, to make up the screenplay. I want the music to be as much a character as the people. I want the sunset to be heartwrenching.

I want impact more than blood and gore. I want the characters to be torn between their intentions, just like regular human beings. I want Logan to be the ultimate reluctant hero, but do it in a genuine way, like Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, like Christian Bale in 3:10 to Yuma, like Chris Pine in Hell or High Water.

I want to see Wolverine go berserk.

It would be nice to see more action sequences, but only if they’re absolutely appropriate for the story. And if not, take them away. I want simplicity.

I want to see Wolverine go berserk.

I want to see Wolverine go berserk more than once, to make up for those other movies.

 

Donate to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

If you enjoyed this and want to donate to a good cause, please consider sending a PayPal gift of any amount to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue. Even if you donate JUST ONE DOLLAR, that dollar will buy a can of food that a rescuer can feed a stray cat, or help get the cat in a humane trap so it can be taken to an animal hospital to be checked out medically and spayed/neutered. Just one dollar will help prevent unnecessary kittens being born and help with controlling overpopulation. If you give just one dollar, you’ll feel good about yourself. Promise.
http://makingbiscuits.org/
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About Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

Making Biscuits is a cat rescue started in June of 2009 in an effort to humanely reduce the overpopulation of stray and feral cats. Adoptable cats are spayed/neutered, defleaed, dewormed, vaccinated, microchipped, given veterinary care including, when necessary, seen by a veterinary specialist (i.e., dental, eye, etc.), fed premium food and loved immensely. Making Biscuits feels very strongly about the role nutrition plays in the long-term health of our cats and whenever possible, educates pet owners. We advocate spay and neuter and often help people in the Long Beach and surrounding areas with their own pets as well as strays by loaning traps and cages, humanely trapping, defleaing/deworming, teaching bottle feeding, providing information about area clinics, veterinarians, behaviorists and all other aspects of cat parenting.

If you’re on Amazon, you can also send Making Biscuits a gift from their wish list:
http://amzn.to/1XHjVC4

Or go here and select “Making Biscuits Cat Rescue” as your charity of choice (it costs you NOTHING, Amazon will donate a % of THEIR profits to the charity):
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2801690

Credits

Music is “Orbiting A Distant Planet” by the Denver, Colorado group Quantum Jazz, through the Free Music Archive:
http://freemusicarchive.org/search/?sort=track_date_published&d=1&page=12&quicksearch=orbiting+a+distant+planet
Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

 

 

Ask Me (Almost) Anything

A geek friend posed these questions to me, here are my answers:

What’s your favorite series/franchise?
Right now it’s Marvel Studios, because the Netflix shows have put them past Star Wars for me. But the bottom line is it’s all about Disney right now–they’re killing it on all fronts.

What’s the most underrated film/comic/book/whatever in your opinion?
Comic book: The Question, although I haven’t read it in a long time. It was the first non-generic superhero comic series I ever got hooked on, plus Bill Sienkiewicz did a bunch of the art. Movie: Joe Versus The Volcano–it reminds me of a Coen Brothers movie and has countless allegories wrapped up in a goofy comedy.

What’s the most overrated film/comic/book/whatever in your opinion?
Tim Burton’s Batman: IMO it’s misguided, just like Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Here’s a curveball: 2001: A Space Odyssey, to me, is both one of the most underrate AND most overrated movies ever. It’s simultaneously genius but also self-indulgent.

What’s your favorite decade?
The 1970s. The best detective movies, the best war movies, the best dramas, best rock and roll, Star Wars, Billy Joel, etc. It was the last decade where anyone can do any kind of art without thinking too much about commercialism and marketing and metrics. Record stores offered refunds and exchanges if you didn’t like the vinyl album you bought (no kidding!) Star Wars created the blockbuster and changed the industry both for better and worse. Also, in the 70s America was still “hungry”–we had the gasoline crisis, cold war, everybody was in the middle class, and there were no tech or economic bubbles. During the 80s, the Reagan years, America was at its wealthiest in history, compared to the rest of the world, so the music and movies kinda reflected that (Go-Gos, John Hughes movies).

If you could speak to your younger (20’s?) self, what would you say? (you don’t have to answer if it’s too personal)

Letter to My 25 Year-Old Self

Favorite and least favorite MCU films?
Favorite is 3-way tie with Avengers, Iron Man, and Winter Soldier. In their own way, each movie felt fresh. Least favorite is Thor: The Dark World except for the miu-miu part, that was funny.

Also, favorite and least favorite parts of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, if any?
Favorite EU game is the X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter video game for DOS back when you still had to use your imagination. For books, I don’t read the new stuff but my childhood favorite was Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, with Luke and Leia, written right after A New Hope came out in theaters. Again, it was the 70s and Alan Dean Foster just wrote what he felt in his heart, without so much pressure from the suits or studios. Now I really like Star Wars Rebels.

What’s something that hasn’t yet been adapted to film that you would love to see?
A decent Stephen King movie like The Stand, which has been made into a limited series but it absolutely sucked. If they could take the talents of Steven Spielberg combined with Frank Darabont’s writing, and make an HBO series out of The Stand, it would be fantastic. The first season of The Walking Dead, which Darabont initially produced, is the closest I could think of to what a good representation of The Stand should be.

Do you feel that some things shouldn’t be adapted and should instead stay as a certain form of media?
Yes, like Bach’s Illusions or de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, I think is best left to literature. Even 1984 they couldn’t quite get it right, but Snowpiercer was a good homage to it. It’s like loving a song then seeing its mediocre video–most of the magic happens in the interpretation and imagination of the reader/listener. (Again, that’s why 80s music is so-so to me, because often the pop stars are already planning out the video even before they’ve finished writing and recording the song.)

Do you feel that the movie industry is ‘in trouble’ or stagnating in any way?
I think the movie industry is on the verge of getting so fluent with CGI that it’s not “wow” anymore, and I think that’s a good thing. We can get back to good scripts and telling the story, more minimalist approach but with absolute technical control that we get with modern technology. It’s like when they figured out how to make color movies–the first few movies were done just for the sake of making a color movie, but after people got used to it, they went back to focus on the story. Jump forward a few decades and you have movie makers PURPOSELY making black and white movies because it serves the story.

Any other industries/avenues that you feel are in trouble?
Any companies that run their business like the DCEU franchise, and I’m not saying this just to bash DC movies (again). It’s 19th century thinking, not trusting your subdivisions, not knowing enough about your own business that you don’t know how to pick the right people to help you in running it. It’s not just movies, it’s also in government and in any large bureaucracy. Heck, even Apple is going through it right now. All of a sudden, Microsoft is the fresh one!

Thoughts/advice about the youth of today, if applicable?
The youth of today got handed a lousy deck of cards, and my generation is largely responsible for it. We got spoiled during the Reagan years (before China joined the global market), dot-com years, the real estate bubble, those years of indulgence combined with 9/11 has resulted in a worn out, depressed, used up and fearful America. BUT here’s the bright side–because of the rubble, I think the young people are forced to be scrappy and inventive and cunning and hungry, and they are willing to try ANYTHING. And just like the 70s, maybe we’re on the verge of an artistic and cultural explosion, if it’s not already happening. Keep in mind that Nixon was the president in the early 70s, and he got impeached, and during his era and immediately after, there was an explosion of creativity. Out of the rubble, amazing things.

The Daily Knight #57 – Suicide Squad Drinking Game!

The Daily Knight #57 – The Suicide Squad Drinking Game!

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Donate to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

If you enjoyed this and want to donate to a good cause, please consider sending a PayPal gift of any amount to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue. Even if you donate JUST ONE DOLLAR, that dollar will buy a can of food that a rescuer can feed a stray cat, or help get the cat in a humane trap so it can be taken to an animal hospital to be checked out medically and spayed/neutered. Just one dollar will help prevent unnecessary kittens being born and help with controlling overpopulation. If you give just one dollar, you’ll feel good about yourself. Promise.
http://makingbiscuits.org/
https://www.facebook.com/MakingBiscuitsCatRescue/

About Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

Making Biscuits is a cat rescue started in June of 2009 in an effort to humanely reduce the overpopulation of stray and feral cats. Adoptable cats are spayed/neutered, defleaed, dewormed, vaccinated, microchipped, given veterinary care including, when necessary, seen by a veterinary specialist (i.e., dental, eye, etc.), fed premium food and loved immensely. Making Biscuits feels very strongly about the role nutrition plays in the long-term health of our cats and whenever possible, educates pet owners. We advocate spay and neuter and often help people in the Long Beach and surrounding areas with their own pets as well as strays by loaning traps and cages, humanely trapping, defleaing/deworming, teaching bottle feeding, providing information about area clinics, veterinarians, behaviorists and all other aspects of cat parenting.

If you’re on Amazon, you can also send Making Biscuits a gift from their wish list:
http://amzn.to/1XHjVC4

Or go here and select “Making Biscuits Cat Rescue” as your charity of choice (it costs you NOTHING, Amazon will donate a % of THEIR profits to the charity):
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2801690

Credits

Music is “Orbiting A Distant Planet” by the Denver, Colorado group Quantum Jazz, through the Free Music Archive:
http://freemusicarchive.org/search/?sort=track_date_published&d=1&page=12&quicksearch=orbiting+a+distant+planet
Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

 

 

 

The Daily Knight #56 – 2016 The Year in Review – What the Hell Happened???

The Daily Knight #56 – 2016 The Year in Review – What the Hell Happened???

Like The Daily Knight on Facebook to get daily movie/TV/geeky updates: https://www.facebook.com/thedailyknight/

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Donate to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

If you enjoyed this and want to donate to a good cause, please consider sending a PayPal gift of any amount to Making Biscuits Cat Rescue. Even if you donate JUST ONE DOLLAR, that dollar will buy a can of food that a rescuer can feed a stray cat, or help get the cat in a humane trap so it can be taken to an animal hospital to be checked out medically and spayed/neutered. Just one dollar will help prevent unnecessary kittens being born and help with controlling overpopulation. If you give just one dollar, you’ll feel good about yourself. Promise.
http://makingbiscuits.org/
https://www.facebook.com/MakingBiscuitsCatRescue/

About Making Biscuits Cat Rescue

Making Biscuits is a cat rescue started in June of 2009 in an effort to humanely reduce the overpopulation of stray and feral cats. Adoptable cats are spayed/neutered, defleaed, dewormed, vaccinated, microchipped, given veterinary care including, when necessary, seen by a veterinary specialist (i.e., dental, eye, etc.), fed premium food and loved immensely. Making Biscuits feels very strongly about the role nutrition plays in the long-term health of our cats and whenever possible, educates pet owners. We advocate spay and neuter and often help people in the Long Beach and surrounding areas with their own pets as well as strays by loaning traps and cages, humanely trapping, defleaing/deworming, teaching bottle feeding, providing information about area clinics, veterinarians, behaviorists and all other aspects of cat parenting.

If you’re on Amazon, you can also send Making Biscuits a gift from their wish list:
http://amzn.to/1XHjVC4

Or go here and select “Making Biscuits Cat Rescue” as your charity of choice (it costs you NOTHING, Amazon will donate a % of THEIR profits to the charity):
http://smile.amazon.com/ch/27-2801690

Credits

Music is “Orbiting A Distant Planet” by the Denver, Colorado group Quantum Jazz, through the Free Music Archive:
http://freemusicarchive.org/search/?sort=track_date_published&d=1&page=12&quicksearch=orbiting+a+distant+planet
Creative Commons License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/