Monday, August 22, 2016

Cinema Cycle - Aliens


CINEMA CYCLE
(Cardio Workout And Reviewing Movies At The Same Time)

Aliens: Special Widescreen Collector's Edition (1986) (Uncut)
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DATE REVIEWED: 08/17/2016

TITLE: Aliens

FORMAT: LaserDisc

TIME RIDDEN / FILM LENGTH: 2 hours 39 minutes

DISTANCE RIDDEN WHILE VIEWING: 38.1 miles

TOTAL CINEMA MILES LOGGED: 4933.2 miles

SYNOPSIS: An elite space marine unit is sent to exterminate and eventually flee from a parasite like alien that uses humans as breeding hosts.

CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: Let's take good and make it better.  A whole lot better.  The start of a genre, with lots of extra footage.

PROS AND CONS:  Been there, done that, with this film.  Seen it several times in the past.  However, had never seen this version with about 30 minutes of additional footage.  Not needed for the storyline of the film, but fun to watch none-the-less.

Since the film is about 20 years old now, it is starting to show its age.  We know that deep space probes would look a lot different than the interior of an aircraft carrier.  So, in that regard, this film is aging into that “Forbidden Planet” zone where Sci-Fi classics live.  

Probably more than anything, it shows what a good film maker James Cameron is.  His quick pacing and direction along with some subtle character development make almost all his films fascinating to watch.


To read an overview of this project, check out this status posting.  

This film is a part of my LaserDisc Collection.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film. 

This film was viewed while exercising on my recumbent cycle.  A summary of my time spent working out on my journey through movie-land can be found on Strava.com.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cinema Cycle - Jupiter Ascending


CINEMA CYCLE
(Cardio Workout And Reviewing Movies At The Same Time)

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DATE REVIEWED: 08/15/2016


FORMAT: Streaming (iTunes)

TIME RIDDEN / FILM LENGTH: 2 hours 10 minutes

DISTANCE RIDDEN WHILE VIEWING: 29.5 miles

TOTAL CINEMA MILES LOGGED: 4895.1 miles

SYNOPSIS: An advanced alien race battles over legal ownership of the Earth in order to harvest the population to maintain their own immortality

CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER:  More of the “living in an alternate reality” science fiction epic, similar to the Matrix.  High concepts and story line interspersed with long scenes of special effect violence.   

PROS AND CONS:  The Wachowski siblings know how to do over-the-top science fiction. Their resume make that abundantly clear.  What they fail to embrace is the art of subtlety and character development.

There were long stretches of this film that while visually interesting seem a bit forced.  The use of the occasional humorous segment also seemed out of place.

While it appears that Mila Kunis is close to taking the female action star crown away from Angelina Jolie, Channing Tatum still has a ways to go before he gets to full blown action star status.  His turn as a half human, half wolf with wings just didn’t do it for me in this film.   



To read an overview of this project, check out this status posting.  

This film is a part of my LaserDisc Collection.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film. 

This film was viewed while exercising on my recumbent cycle.  A summary of my time spent working out on my journey through movie-land can be found on Strava.com.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Cinema Cycle - Beyond Justice



CINEMA CYCLE
(Cardio Workout And Reviewing Movies At The Same Time)


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DATE REVIEWED: 06/07/2916




FORMAT: LaserDisc


TIME RIDDEN / FILM LENGTH: 1 hour 47 minutes


DISTANCE RIDDEN WHILE VIEWING: 24.8 miles


TOTAL CINEMA MILES LOGGED: 4898.2 miles


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SYNOPSIS: A wealthy mother hires a mercenary to retrieve her kidnapped son.


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CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER: Formulaic shoot-em up that is surprisingly unbelievable.   


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PROS AND CONS:  Made when Rutger Hauer was a box office draw and Carol Alt was a hot runway model.  Let's mix them all up and create a modern day Spaghetti Western with Muslims as the bad guys, Ennio Morricone penning the musical score and Silvio Berlusconi (ex-Italian President) as producer.


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The plot is predictable to a point where it is almost boring to watch.  The romantic relationship between Alt and Hauer seems awfully forced.  And, Omar Shariff does his best to make the whole thing not laughable.  


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Near the beginning of the film, when Hauer is discussing his ‘fee’ he adds that he will need an additional $15,000 for each person they might have to kill in order to get her son back.  Alt owes Hauer at least $900,000 by the end of the film.  



To read an overview of this project, check out this status posting.  


This film is a part of my LaserDisc Collection.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film. 

This film was viewed while exercising on my recumbent cycle.  A summary of my time spent working out on my journey through movie-land can be found on Strava.com.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cinema Cycle - I, Claudius (Volume 1)



CINEMA CYCLE
(Cardio Workout And Reviewing Movies At The Same Time)
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DATE REVIEWED: 06/03/2016




FORMAT: VHS


TIME RIDDEN / FILM LENGTH: 1 hour 42 minutes


DISTANCE RIDDEN WHILE VIEWING: 22.9 miles


TOTAL CINEMA MILES LOGGED: 4869.4 miles


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SYNOPSIS: The chronicles of an aging Roman nobleman are told in flashback, with lots of intrigue and backstabbing.


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CONCEPT IN RELATION TO THE VIEWER:   Stories and plots that deal with human nature, cunning, greed, and envy are timeless.  Only the settings change.


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PROS AND CONS:  This is theater and not cinema so it relies most of all in the acting, no special effects or explosions here.  This is adult cinema, with adult themes.

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The story of intrigue and backstabbing in ancient Rome is nothing new.  The themes of greed and power are timeless and could be placed in any era.  


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The historical accurateness is actually very good here and the acting is extremely good.

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However, this is a long and slowly unfolding story much like a very long novel.  Base on the first two hours, it will be an interesting ride.




To read an overview of this project, check out this status posting.  


This film is a part of my LaserDisc Collection.

Clicking on the title will take you to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) entry for this film. 

This film was viewed while exercising on my recumbent cycle.  A summary of my time spent working out on my journey through movie-land can be found on Strava.com.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Five Frames - 06/20/2016

Five Frames

Images Posted / Taken With an iPhone 6 Plus on 6/20/2016.


Crown Graphic w/Leash


Ralph & Suzanne


At The White Shrine


Typical Saturday Night


Pride Weekend
These images and many many more can be found on my Flickr account.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

That Other Pollution That You Can't See



I splurged the other day.  I went out and bought something for myself that I really didn’t need.  However, I have been thinking about buying them for a long time so it wasn’t a snap decision.  Since I am doing a lot more exercising,  listening to music and listening to audio-books, the one thing that has been lacking in my arsenal of technology has been a really good pair of headphones.

You have to keep in mind that in my younger days when I had a full head of hair, I used to work in radio and I was a stereophile (a person that collects High Fidelity equipment).  So I know good headphones.  The earbuds that Apple and Google give you with your phones are not high fidelity.  They sound nice, but they lack of lot of oomph in the bass and mid-range.

So I went to the nearest Best Buy electronics store and plunked down $400 on a set of Bose Noise Canceling Headphones.  By the time I got home and unpacked them I was having a little buyers remorse.  These headphones almost cost as much as my new iPhone.  Never the less I read the instructions and powered them up.

What happened next sort of caught me off guard.  These things really do cancel out noise around you and they really work.  The bonus is that they have really GOOD sound.  I can hear bass lines and treble that I never knew were there before.  But it is the sound canceling feature that really blew me away.

Bose has found a way to determine what is ‘man-made’ noise around you and cancel it out.  How they determine what is man-made and selectively cancel out rhythmic patterns and frequencies is a mystery to me, all I know is that once you flip the switch the rest of the world disappears.

That isn’t to say you can’t hear around you.  You can, but all of the humming, clicking, rumbling and clanging goes away and the world becomes a very quiet place.  In some cases almost too quiet.

I have learned that these headphones are not something you wear in public.  You won’t hear cars coming or sirens or loud air conditioners which can be un-nerving and dangerous.  Wearing them outside and listening to music is like being disembodied and floating among your surroundings.  Strange indeed.

What they are better used for is sitting in a noisy environment where you want to concentrate on something.  They are unbelievable in this role.

The headphones taught me that there is pollution all around us that we just take for granted.  Few of us actually know what silence sounds like anymore.  We live in a mechanized society where our brains have learned to filter out a lot of noise, or so we think.  Once you take it all away, the brain does some funny things.  

We Will Tell You Who To Praise and Who To Ignore.

The Greatest .....

Mohamed Ali passed away last week.  I never really cared much for the man, his personality and brashness sort of rubbed me the wrong way.  But I will gladly admit that he was a great man.  He grew up poor without a father in a lower class neighborhood and had to deal with racial segregation and racism as a youth.  He rebelled against all that and used his athletic ability as a platform for social change, to battle injustice and to fight hypocrisy.  A worthy legacy for any of us.  The world is a better place because he was here.  So while I did not care for him personally, I have to admire his ability, tenaciousness and his moral center which benefited all people.

Gordie Howe died this week as well.  Now I don’t know diddly about hockey.  I am not from Canada, and the idea of grown men putting on ice skates and running around with sticks to hit a solid disk just seems sort of weird in my book.  That said, my gosh, I could never do what he did.  The agility, athletic prowess and skill needed to excel at hockey for as long as he did is well beyond me.  Like Mr. Ali, Mr. Howe left the world a better place when he died.

Unlike Ali, Howe did it the opposite way.  Instead of being brash and bold and confrontational, Howe put his head down and just worked at it day after day.  Instead of fame garnered in 10 or 15 boxing matches, Mr. Howe went to work every week for decades and in so doing gave the City of Detroit a hero that every young boy could look up to.  “You see son, this is what you get with patience, determination and perseverance.”,  many a Michigan father would have told his son.

Without a doubt, Ali had the larger impact on society.  Mr. Howe didn’t have to deal with racism and segregation.  Repressed people all over the world know Ali, only Mid-Westerners and Canadians probably know who Gordie was.

So I was a bit perplexed this past week when I turned on the news and every channel was covering the funeral of Mohamed Ali in great detail, while Gordie Howe only gets a passing reference before the next commercial.  I didn’t see any interviews with old teammates, or community leaders or political figures singing Mr. Howe’s praises.  But they were all lining up to throw accolades at Ali.

My conundrum here is the uneven media coverage of the two.  Broadcast television extols the free thinking radical that shakes up the system.  It no longer lauds the hard working every-man who makes a difference through a lifetime of hard work and dedication.  Instead it praises the lottery winner or the miner that strikes it rich and not the poor working stiff that scrimps and saves everyday to put their children through college. So why is this?  Is this a culture that praises the brash and confrontational or a culture that promotes its long term growth?

My fear here, is that the media is pandering to the lowest common denominator.  You don’t have to work hard to get ahead, just be loud, obnoxious and stamp your feet until you get what you want.  Who are the people watching all the news stories about Ali?  People that want to do it the Ali way?  Definitely not the people that did it the Howe way.

In the early days of media, the Howe example was standard.  It was the ‘American Way’ to work hard, be honest and seek change  within the system.  Now the media says rebel against the system, only chumps work hard.  The media is pandering to the quick and easy.

They were both great men, worthy of ‘equal’ praise.  Which isn’t what they are getting.  That makes me angry, because that isn’t indicative of the country that I was raised in.