Gravity – A Movie Review

 Culture, Movies  Comments Off on Gravity – A Movie Review
Oct 182013
 

Gravity Movie PosterDr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone – tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness.

In Theaters: October 4, 2013; MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language.); Genres: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Writers: Alfonso Cuarón, Jonás Cuarón

Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen, Paul Sharma, Amy Warren

Let me start by saying we did not see this in 3D, so I include that disclaimer. I am certain it had an impact on my feelings about this movie, as one can clearly see there are aspects of the cinematography that were designed to be enhanced by the 3D and IMAX capabilities. The effects and cinematography are outstanding, but I’m always a sucker for space visuals. On the whole though, Gravity lacked gravitas…to be more blunt, it sucked. Continue reading »

News Roundup-Week Ending April 15, 2007

 Corruption, General, Politics, Presidency, Science, Technology, Travel  Comments Off on News Roundup-Week Ending April 15, 2007
Apr 202007
 

Johnny Hart Died Saturday

So who was Johnny Hart? He was the creator of two of my long-time favorite comic strips, B.C. and The Wizard of Id. I especially loved the Wizard of Id for the occasional appearance of their local undertaker. Hart died Saturday at age 76 while working at his home in Nineveh, NY. “He had a stroke,” his wife, Bobby, said Sunday. “He died at his storyboard.”

Hart’s “B.C.” strip was launched in 1958 and eventually appeared in more than 1,300 newspapers with an audience of 100 million, according to Creators Syndicate Inc., which distributes it.

Former Microsoft chief architect Charles Simonyi spent $20 million to become the fifth space tourist

The man given much of the credit for overseeing the development of Microsoft’s Word software blasted into space over the weekend as the fifth space tourist.

Charles Simonyi, who was once chief architect at Microsoft and now runs his own development company called Intentional Software, began his journey into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at just after 11:30pm Saturday local time. Simonyi traveled with Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Fyodor Yurchikhin inside the Soyuz TMA10 spacecraft.

Disney to Host Gay Nuptials

The Walt Disney Co. has changed its policy and will allow same-sex couples to take part in its Fairy Tale Wedding program at its California and Orlando, Fla., resorts and cruises, a Disney spokesman confirmed Friday.

“We want everyone who comes to Disney to recognize their special occasion to feel welcomed and respected,” Disney Parks and Resorts spokesman Donn Walker told Gay.com on Friday.

Would that everyone had that attitude.

Voter Fraud, A Big Non-Starter
“Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections.” Just 120 people have been charged with voter fraud crimes, and 86 convicted as of last year, and Ann Coulter isn’t one of them.

A Martian Post Card

 General, Places, Science, Technology  Comments Off on A Martian Post Card
Sep 262005
 

It took NASA’s Spirit rover a year and a half to get to the top of Husband Hill in the Gusev Crater on Mars. It finally made it, and, like all mountain climbers, took a photo. Check this out

You may have seen lower-res versions in your newspapers, but the full res shows much more. Note the dust devil whirling in the distance!

There is lots more info on this amazingly long-lived mission, and more photos at http://marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.html

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

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Jul 222004
 

Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the Rebels attempt to destroy the Second Death Star, while Luke Skywalker tries to bring his father back to the Light Side of the Force.

Directed by
Richard Marquand

Genres
Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

Cast
Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Sebastian Shaw, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz, James Earl Jones, David Prowse, Alec Guinness, Kenny Baker, Michael Pennington, Kenneth Colley

VHS

With a somber ending in The Empire Strikes Back suggesting that Darth Vader has won the day, nobody wants a story to end right there. In everyone’s mind, the good guys have to eventually win the war. With that comes Return of the Jedi, the sixth episode marking the final chapter of the saga. It’s hard to say which of the films of the original trilogy is the best, but this film has the most spectacular space battle of the three. Not only that. There are two other simultaneous battles: one in a forest and the other in a second Death Star.

The beginning of the film functions mainly to reunite the main characters. 3PO, R2, Luke, Leia, and Lando all try to free Han Solo from his encasement in carbonite in the palace of Jabba the Hutt. After a deadly fight in the desert over a monster pit, the allies escape and plan their next action against the Empire. This part of the movie also serves to tie some loose ends with Luke. When he returns to Dagobah, he witnesses the death of Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s spirit. Not only does he learn the truth about Darth Vader, but also another family secret.

Darth Vader once again makes his appearance, but this time alongside someone even more menacing and ruthless: Emperor Palpatine. We also get a glimpse of the Emperor’s inner sanctum, complete with an Imperial Royal Guard whose faces are completely concealed. With Palpatine’s presence, Darth Vader and the rest of the Imperial officers become simply pawns in our eyes. That is significant, because as Luke Skywalker believes, even Darth Vader has a little bit of good in him and not fully seduced by the Dark Side of the Force.

The film after the desert scenes takes place on the forest planet of Endor, populated by short furry creatures called Ewoks. There haven’t been any cute creatures seen in the Star Wars films so far (except Yoda, maybe), and with them, there even seems to be some extra humor added to one of the final three battle scenes. For some, it may make the film have less of a dark tone, but then again, aren’t 3PO and R2 more of the humorous characters in the film? After all, they don’t do too much direct fighting and are just caught in the middle of everything.

Nevertheless, Return of the Jedi is a marvelous film that still delivers what A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back had given to the fans. It has characters we care about, a plot that engrosses our imagination, and impressive visual effects leave us in absolute awe. The musical score by John Williams continues to be great, using familiar themes established in Episodes IV and V. The film ends the Star Wars series nicely simply because its ending is a heartwarming wrapup. In the battle of good versus evil, evil has been rooted out, and the good folks of the galaxy rejoice, which the last scene of the film does a great job portraying.

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Star Trek: Generations

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Jun 242004
 

Star Trek: Generations (1994)

Capt. Picard, with the help of supposedly dead Capt. Kirk, must stop a madman willing to murder on a planetary scale in order to enter a space matrix.

Directed by
David Carson

Genres
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Drama

Cast
Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Malcolm McDowell, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, William Shatner, Alan Ruck, Jacqueline Kim, Jenette Goldstein, Thomas Kopache

VHS

I’ll admit it, I’m a trekkie, and I’ve enjoyed most all the movies.

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