Terminator: Salvation 
2009.05.28 16:46 - Guns, Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR, Entertainment, Movies, Internet Stupidity, Meatspace Stupidity
2.5 out 4.

Terminator: Salvation is okay. It doesn't manage to be as interesting as the first of the Terminator films, nor as much fun as the second. (The third, I have not seen--consensus seems to view that as a wise decision.)

The lighting was murky, the acting was serviceable, and the characters mostly not as sympathetic as intended. I liked Marcus Wright, but I was ready for the film to be over by the time the credits rolled. Lots of callouts to previous films in the series.

In the end, one is left with the distinct feeling that nothing genuinely significant just happened: the only character that was really developed in the film was also removed from the stage.

Recommendation: since most of the people reading this probably have home A/V setups that can give a mid-range theater a good run for its money, I'd recommend waiting for the inevitable Blu-Ray/DVD release. At least you won't have to wonder if the slimy mess you stepped in on the way out of the aisle was somebody's melted Slurpee ... or a puddle of Astroglide.

If you're just looking for an excuse to see a science-fiction film in the theater, however, have you seen Star Trek, yet? I'm not sure it makes much more sense, realism-wise, but it's a heck of a lot more fun. Of course, Pixar's latest is also out this week.

Gun dorkiness follows:
To be honest, I spent a good chunk of my time trying to see the Magpul Masada that was hiding behind Barnes in about 60% of the shots he was in. Didn't see it: between the constant shadows and the distracting chatter from the row behind me, I managed to miss the one shot it was visible. It's plenty visible on the Internet, of course.

As an ancillary matter, the weapons seem to have been chosen primarily on the basis of coolness. Hence the Deagle, all the HKs, all the 5.56...
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On Star Trek 
2009.05.12 13:30 - Entertainment, Movies
1. It's good. I'm not sure it's high cinema, and it's got some flaws, but, as Star Trek films go, it's very good.
2. Apparently, Starfleet is very, very pretty in the alternate future.
3. Also, suffering a huge personnel crisis.
4. Could've done with less Nimoy, actually. Dunno if it was Nimoy's acting, or just lines he had to work with, but I thought that was the weakest part of film.
5. On a related point, the plot is kinda stupid around the edges. The rest of the movie's too much fun to care, though.
6. Poor, poor Olson. If only he knew.
7. It may just be having wound up in the center of the very front row, but I am absolutely over shaky cam and close-ups so close you can count people's pores in high-definition.
8. I need an origami sword (origamigatana?). The day I can carry a three-foot long razor in my pocket is a good day. Science needs to get on that one right away.

Several of the performances were fine, but the role in this film was kinda small. Hard to cram that much pre-existing characterization into the space alotted. It's really to their credit that they didn't try.

And I wish to note that, though I have a more-than-passing familiarity with the Trek franchise, I'm not a Trekkie, Trekker, or whatever by pretty fair stretch.
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Who Reads The Watchmen? 
2009.03.09 15:04 - Entertainment, Comics, Movies
I haven't been to the theater yet to see Watchmen. I'm expecting to be somewhat disappointed based on the magnitude of the hype and on my experience with the book itself. As far as it goes, I thought Squadron Supreme had a better foundation, and that Kingdom Come was Squadron Supreme with better writing and art.

Watchmen, its value as a cultural artifact aside, has always left me ... lukewarm, I guess. The art's interesting, the comic is compelling in its way, but the conclusion and certain of the key, underlying assumptions don't work for me and the result seems hollow. Maybe it made more sense in the 1980's, when the Cold War was a going concern and we worried more about WWIII being one very hot, very short exchange of extreme hostilities, rather than a long, tedious struggle against religious extremists.

In the end, though, Watchmen, the comic book, seems to me mostly a story about a paranoid, sociopathic right-winger and a nebbish with a costume fetish losing out against New Progressive Man and a literal Man of Science. Honestly, it's a hard story to like. As for spoilers: Watchmen was published in 1986. There's a statute of limitations on this stuff.

For a bit more in this vein, check out Peeve Farm, and the Will Collier review linked there.
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'Tis the Season 
2008.10.09 15:54 - Guns, Entertainment, Movies, Internet Stupidity, Zombie Preparedness
I'm just going to present these without commentary. I think they pretty much speak for themselves.

Zombie Targets
DIY reactive zombie targets
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The Force Unleashed 
2008.09.23 13:25 - Entertainment, Movies, Microcode
I picked up a copy of The Force Unleashed for the XBox360 over the weekend, and have been sinking time into it the last few days. I'll have a proper review ready by Friday, I think, but the capsule review is that if don't enjoy Star Wars and/or hated the gameplay in God of War, you may as well skip it. It's a not a bad game, and has a fairly strong story, but a handful of warts in the interface, clunky controls, quick-time events, a somewhat buggy implementation and uninspired gameplay makes it a hard recommendation if the license isn't a factor in your decision.

So far, the biggest disappointment is the Star Destroyer sequence, which ought to awesome, but is only frustrating and tedious, because it takes forever and the QTE indicators are not accurate (seriously!).

Also, game developers? Please stop putting quick-time events everywhere. They're annoying. If you want to give me a really cool cinematic or animation, just roll the clip. Without the button pressing involved, at least I'll be able to watch it. At the very least, let me turn them off for non-boss battles.
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