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Jurassic World Review

Jurassic_World_Teaser_Poster

Specs from IMDB.com:

Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitors’ interest, which backfires horribly.

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Writers: Rick Jaffa (screenplay), Amanda Silver (screenplay), 5 more credits »

Stars: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ty Simpkins | See full cast and crew »

Plot Keywords: jurassic park | dinosaur | brother brother relationship | velociraptor | animal attackSee All (212) »

Taglines: The park is open.

Genres: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril

Release Date: 12 June 2015 (USA)

Production Co: Universal Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Legendary Pictures

Technical Specs

Runtime: 124 min

Sound Mix: Dolby Digital | Datasat | Dolby Surround 7.1

Color: Color

Aspect Ratio: 2.00 : 1

Score 9 out of 10

This movie is phenomenal!  Thoroughly enjoyed it throughout the entire film.  After the first disastrous outcome of the original Jurassic Park, Hammond’s dream seems to be realized in the continued success of Jurassic World!  This theme park is the number one tourist attraction in the world, but the money coming in is only slightly higher than costs (it’s expensive feeding all those dinos!) and they need something new to wow the kids (“They’re dinosaurs. ‘Wow’ enough.” -Owen).  Thus is born (created? grown? semantics) the incredible Indominus Rex (“Fierce or Untamable King”), a mix of a T-Rex and other “classified” genes (“Probably not a good idea”).  When one thing goes wrong, suddenly everything goes wrong and Claire (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), the director of the park, enlists Owen (Chris Pratt), a former Navy man who is now attempting to train raptors, to help her find her nephews in the ensuing chaos.  Blood, scales, and teeth begin.

The Good:

This movie had tons of action, chase scenes, fighting, thrills, chills, and even a little bit of romance.  It’s got everything you need for a wonderful, pulse-pumping success.  Owen is a fantastic character, skilled, reliable, smart, and (justifiably) wary of science progressing to far.  His main task is training a brood of Raptors, giving him a unique outlook at the creators of Jurassic World.  Nature won’t be controlled.  Another great part of this movie were the easter eggs sprinkled throughout (I won’t spoil them all here but I’ll have a list below of what I noticed if you’re interested), each of these easter eggs brought me back to that 6 year old kid who loved the original Jurassic Park movie and I couldn’t be more pleased with this new film.  The dinosaurs look fantastic, bringing you back to the wonder of seeing dinosaurs as a kid.  They even did it well enough that they can make some great sequels.

The development of Claire from an uptight, type-A, business woman into a brave, caring woman was intriguing through the movie.  At the beginning, all she sees is work and the bottom line, but when things start getting real, she realizes that life isn’t so easily controlled.  Her and Owen have a great relationship, going from butting heads to working together (“You know, for survival”).

Enjoyed the developing brotherhood between Zach (Nick Robinson) and Gray (Ty Simpkins).  With home life a tad difficult, these brothers go to Jurassic World for the week and end up in a nightmare, but work together, trusting and respecting each other to get out of a dinosaur sized problem (see what I did there?).

Seriously though, why do they continue making giant carnivorous dinosaurs?

The Bad

The only downside of this movie is that it has the same basic plot of the Jurassic Park 1 & 2.  These guys made dinosaurs, bad guys wanna steal dinosaurs, things go wrong, lots of people being eaten, get the heck out of there.  But still, I love it haha.

Other Thoughts (Caution! Spoilers!)

Some of the easter eggs:

Ian Malcolm’s (One of the original characters from Jurassic Park) has a book seen throughout the film.

Zack and Gray, after running away from the Indominus Rex, come to the original Jurassic Park center from the end of the original film.  The Jurassic Park banner is still on the floor, they also go through the lunchroom and find night vision goggles used in the first film.  After fixing up a jeep from the original center, they bust through a high electric fence (instead of climbing over it like the original film).

A T-Rex was lead by a flare like in the first film, and we had a tech guy with a t-shirt from the original park.

Themes

Control vs Relationship

Dangers of Science without Boundaries

Trust

Life finds a Way

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Daredevil Season 1 Review

daredevil-netflix-poster-joe-quesada

From IMDB.com:

Official Sites: Official Facebook

Country: USA

Language: English

Release Date: 10 April 2015

Also Known As: Marvel’s Daredevil

Runtime: 60 min

Taglines: The man without fear

Genres: Action | Crime

Certificate: TV-MA

Rating 9 out of 10

Looking for something to binge watch on Netflix?  Well look no further!  Daredevil delivers a great story full of gritty action, great plot, scary villains, and even tougher heroes.

Matt Murdock was blinded by radioactive material while saving the life of a man in a crosswalk, while he lost his eyesight; the chemicals enhanced his other senses exponentially.  He has trained his mind and body since a boy and fights to defend the defenseless in his day job as a lawyer and as his alter ego, fights the battles that are out of the law’s hands.  He is the Man without Fear, Daredevil (but he doesn’t get his superhero name till the last episode haha).

The Good:

There is a ton to love about this show.  Great plot great action (seriously, lots of fun), complex characters and a little bit of faith. The fights are fantastic (but sometimes quite brutal.  If you’re squeamish, be advised.  Most likely not suitable for most kids) mixing martial arts, ricocheting billy clubs, and some full out brawling.  They make it feel real, and you can almost feel the blows as your see them on screen (Daredevil dishes it out, but boy he can take a beating like no other).

The characters are great.  You love Daredevil (the main protagonist, so kind of a given) and the struggles that he has.  Losing his sight, his father, lying to his friends, his questions of right, wrong, faith, and everything in between.  Foggy Nelson is hilarious, cracking jokes but just when you least expect it, he’s a hero (in his own way).  Wilson Fisk (the Kingpin) is spectacularly scary one moment and so delicate the next that you’re sitting there watching, almost stressing when he might freak out again (never go near an open car door with him).  Everyone pieces together an interwoven tale of a battle for the soul of a city.

This show explores some interesting concept of what is right and wrong.  Just because something is lawful, does that make it right? What if to do the right thing, you must step outside of the law?  What is evil?  How do you stay a good man and still fight that evil?  Can one man make a difference?

Another great aspect I love about this show is that they don’t get bogged down in romantic drama (who is dating, who is upset by them dating, will they won’t they?).  Don’t get me wrong, I like a little romance in my movies and TV shows but I hate the back and forth, they heartbreaks and the betrayals.  Be together or don’t, stop making the show all about that.  This show has romance (but not on the side that you would expect) and it flows quite nicely, some ups and downs and moves right along, not dragged out and really repetitive like most shows (seriously, can no one write interesting stories of people who love each other and stand together even when things get tough?  That’s a topic for another time I suppose).

I like Matt’s (Daredevil) discussions about good and evil with the priest (Daredevil is Catholic) and how his faith shapes his decisions and views of right and wrong.  Interesting and thought provoking.

Great series and I really enjoyed it.  Very excited for what comes next.

The Bad:

As I said, there are some great action scenes and its very heavy in the beginning.  The problem is that they lay off the action and start diving more into the mystery of how to legally take down the bad guy.  That was a disappointment for me.  Yes, I want to see the show develop cerebrally, but can’t you do half action scenes and half thinking?  Most all the episodes are action packed but then the later episodes get less and less, which is a shame because they were so well done (great job fight coordinator).

Other Thoughts:

Will be interested to see interaction with other superheroes that are on this “Defenders” lineup and how they will interact.  I hope they bring some other great Daredevil characters in and get a little bit more swashbuckling adventurer Daredevil going.  I like the realism of the show but lets have fun with it too!

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Chibi Godzilla PDA

Godzilla does not approve of PDA

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Convergence: Superman #1 Review

He's back!

Specs from DCComics.com:

Art by: Lee Weeks

Cover by: Lee Weeks

Variant cover by: Chip Kidd

Written by: Dan Jurgens

Series: CONVERGENCE 2015

U.S. Price: 3.99

On Sale Date: Apr 8 2015

Volume/Issue #: 1

Color/B&W: Color

Trim Size: Comic

Page Count: 32

STARRING HEROES FROM THE PRE-FLASHPOINT DCU! A powerless Superman is called upon to protect Gotham City…and his pregnant wife Lois Lane!

Score 8 out of 10

I have a confession to make… I love Superman comics (oh, you already knew that).  This issue had a great sense of nostalgia for me.  Superman and Lois married and with a baby on the way!! Superman was in Gotham when the domes went up (domes which hold safe the cities from universes that have died) and he’s been without superpowers for awhile, but that all changes when the dome comes down and merges with other cities from across the multiverse but only one can survive!  Can Superman save the day?  Not if any of the brutal Flashpoint Universe heroes have anything to say about it.

The Good:

I don’t know about most of you but this is the Superman I grew up reading, he’s kind, strong, and always tries to do the right thing.  He’s married to Lois Lane (he was since 1996 and I was four then so yeah, just old enough to understand) and they are fantastic together.  They’re a team and love each other deeply, sure, they have arguments and disagreements but they stand together and have each others back through thick and thin.  That’s the big clincher in this issue, you get to see the (in my opinion) best couple in comics and now they’re gonna be parents!

Superman gets his powers back just in time for a booming voice to tell the heroes that if they wish to see their city/world/universe survive, they must destroy the others.  Superman’s first thought, let’s try to save everyone.  The guy even lets the Flashpoint Superheroes pummel him so he can try to show them he’s not there to harm them (sadly Jimmy Olsen mucks that plan up). And Flashpoint Superman (super skinny but still super) hones in on Lois because he lost his Lois in Flashpoint (alternate universes, try to keep up), uh-oh.

The Bad:

Needed more pages.

Other Thoughts:

It’s nice to see the Pre-Flashpoint Universe again.  The whole universe ended very suddenly with no sort of ending.  Don’t get me wrong, the new 52 universe (soon to be called Post-Flashpoint or Earth 0) has had some great stories, great new costume designs (I may be one of the few to say that but come on, the red underwear on the outside doesn’t make Superman, the never-give-up-the-fight-for-good attitude does) for a new generation, and some new origin tellings of heroes and villains.  But there are many things I miss as well, the years I’ve spent with the characters, those moments that defined them, for good and bad.  Its wonderful to see Lois and Clark back together again (something we severely lack in the New 52).  They never bored me being married (as I find many people have a problem with married Superheroes. Seems like personal problem), in fact, that was some of my favorite interactions, especially when it came to Superman and Lois.  They have difficulties and disagree but they are together forever and that’s a beautiful thing.

I really hope that we can have one of two things happen out of this Convergence event: Either they give a happy ending for the Pre-Flashpoint universe (and especially for Superman, Lois, and baby on the way) or they still give us occasional stories for the Pre-Flashpoint universe (especially for Superman, Lois and baby on the way. A whole new chapter for the Man of Steel, he’s a dad now! That has got to open some great stories not explored except for that stint where Superman and Lois adopted the son of General Zod)

This comic makes me wanna read through all of my old Superman comics haha. Love it. Bring back Lois and Clark! The greatest pair in comicdom!

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To Serve and Protect

What is a hero?  Is one born or built? Brain or brawn? We could talk about this for years and still have more to say.

[When I refer to hero/heroes in this post, this includes men and women, heroes and heroines. For simplicity’s sake I will stick with male pronouns.]

 

It’s no secret that I have a passion for superheroes.  Not the dark, brooding hero who is angry, full of hate, and kills without mercy but I love the heroes who stand for truth, justice, mercy, hope, love, and all that is good. I don’t believe that you need to have special or super powers to be a hero (that’s simply a nice bonus which tends to make a story a little more fantastic).  I’ve heard it said that the comic book superhero is the modern equivalent to ancient myth.  Stories referring to people much like ourselves who could do miraculous things, though some heroes and some villains.  These are echoes of a story that lives within the spirit of Man.

 

So, what makes a hero?  Is it his strength of arms, his intelligence, his bravery, valor, fighting spirit?  All of these? One of these? All different combinations of these things?  Must you be someone great?  What is at the heart of a hero?

For the answers, we have to look to the Ultimate Hero, the One who gave it all.  Jesus of Nazareth, the Word Made flesh.  And what was His ultimate mark? He said it Himself, Mark 10:45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many”.  This God-Man, the one with all the power, all the knowledge, came to serve us in ways we could never have imagined we needed Him. This is what makes a hero, he serves, even when it hurts, even when he is hated, feared, abused, unto his own death, he serves others.

 

The greatest heroes are the ones who serve others and protect their fellow man.  They believe themselves gifted with the purpose of making the world a better place, standing up for what is right. Thinking of others more than they think of themselves.  Think about the greatest heroes you’ve ever seen and you’ll witness someone who served others well.

 

So, what does it mean “to serve” (to be useful or of service to; help.)? Does it mean I have to do what others want all the time? Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that kids want stuff that’s bad for them all the time but that doesn’t mean you give it to them. No, that’s not serving well. Heroes are not driven by the command of the people that they serve. They are commanded by what is right, what is good, because in the end, this is what’s best for us, and the greater good.  Not doing what we like, not doing what we want, not gravitating towards what is comfortable- but what is right.

How do you best serve others?  How do you do the right thing; help others do the right thing? Do you let people get away with everything? Absolutely not.  Sometimes the greatest act of loving service you can give someone is giving him or her a swift kick to the behind (metaphorically [maybe sometimes physically]).  Let’s say you have a friend who treats you like crap, you don’t sit there and say, “Well I want to serve them well so I should just take the abuse”. Heck no! You tell him that you won’t be treated like that and if he wants you or anyone to stick around he better get his act together.  This helps him understand that his behavior is wrong and he shouldn’t treat you or anyone else like that.  Probably not a good idea to do it in a public place to embarrass him but you talk openly and honestly, you say your piece, and you hope there is a change.  If not, you put up the boundary with him that you hang out until he gets hateful then you’re right out the door. You put up your boundaries and if you can still have a relationship with him then great, if not then you hope they change because you leave.  The central matter here is that you try to do what’s best for the person, you serve them.

Did you know that most kids want their parents to discipline them in some way?  Now, there are a wide variety of disciplines (spanking, chores, grounded, aloe plant juice on the tongue [it is utterly disgusting tasting, but good for you]) and discipline should be understood in the correct context.

Discipline comes from the word disciple meaning a pupil or student.  Discipline is always used to teach, in this case, to teach what is right and wrong, and when you forget that it is to teach, it simply becomes punishment and nothing more.  When you are teaching, you are serving.

Serving people does not mean doing what the other person wants, that’s simply catering to desires, enabling them.  It’s doing what they need, not what they want, which inevitably leads to conflict.

 

But take heart, Hero. He gave it all so you could too.  Life isn’t meant to be lived fearing the shadow, but to shine a light, fight back the darkness and bring the sun.  It’s happening all around us folks, time you put your cape on and be a hero.

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Old Fashioned (2015) Review

Old Fashioned

Specs from IMDB.com:

A former frat boy and a free-spirited woman together attempt the impossible: an “old-fashioned” courtship in contemporary America.

Director: Rik Swartzwelder

Writer: Rik Swartzwelder

Stars: Elizabeth RobertsRik SwartzwelderLeJon Woods | See full cast and crew »

Taglines: Chivalry Makes a Comeback.

Genres: Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some thematic material

Parents Guide: Add content advisory for parents »

Official Sites: Official Facebook | Official site

Country: USA

Release Date: 13 February 2015 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations: Tuscarawas County, Ohio, USA

Runtime: 115 min

Score 8 out of 10

I loved this movie.  Such a great story, about love, faith, right and wrong, and what it means to love and respect someone.  Clay is a man who has a dark past, but after being found by Jesus, he’s changed his life, nothing fancy, nothing crazy, he restores antiquities.  Amber is a woman moving on from the past, something she does frequently and is renting the apartment above Clay’s store.  When she hears about his Old Fashioned (yes, I said it) views on courtship, she’s a little intrigued by his point of view and decides (after a few interactions) to take on the old fashion way of dating.  What ensues is a beautiful story of what it means to be a man and woman in love, and doing it the right way (to the extreme haha).  Check out the Official Site to find it playing at a theater near you.  It’s only limited release, so get going!

The Good:

Clay won’t even kiss a woman until he is married, his idea of courtship deals more with asking the tough questions (how many kids do you want, what are your biggest regrets?).  He is a man who has made some horrible mistakes in his life and feels as though he’ll never really be worthy (but who is? That’s part of his journey) of love.  Plus he has incredible high standards of how to date (I totally agree with the no sex before the wedding night but dang, not even a kiss?  Fair enough, Clay, you have standards and you stick to them).  Amber begins to think of more than just if a man is dangerous or funny, but how would he treat her, how would he care for her?  Being with Clay starts to teach her what has been missing all her life (a higher calling, a better way of doing things).  Loved the story. Absolutely beautiful.

The Bad:

Ok the acting isn’t great from the whole cast, but I loved it so much, I didn’t care.

Other Thoughts:

If you hate the fact that some folks believe there is indeed a right way to have a relationship leading to marriage, then you may not like this movie, But if you’re sick of women being treated as second class, as objects, and men being horn dogs who only think about one thing, you’ll love this movie.  It doesn’t go into the Christian faith a whole lot (it’s definitely there and the whole structure of this movie is based on it, searching, finding, redemption, love, but itself is not the focal point of the movie) but it is a powerful part of this movie.

I loved the redemption of these two people who aren’t perfect, they aren’t rich, they aren’t action heroes, they’re just two normal, fallible people (just like you and me) who have made mistakes (some big ones, like you and me), but trying to be together in the right way.  There’s a give and take here, doing things the other values, having an experience together.  A relationship not based on themselves, but on each other.

I don’t want to spoil too much here, all I can say is the more I think about the movie, the more I love it. I hope you will too.

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Lady Mechanika #4 (Finally!) Review

Lady Mechanika #4

Specs from JoeBenitez.com:

Pencils:  Joe Benitez

Colors:  Peter Steigerwald & Mike Garcia

Retail Release Date:  February 18, 2015

The Mystery of the Mechanical Corpse, Chapter Four

Lady Mechanika’s investigation of the mechanical corpse leads her to Lord Blackpool, a weapons dealer with whom she’s had a prior disagreeable altercation.  When she hears that the grand scientific symposium Mechani-Con is holding its annual Masquerade Ball aboard Blackpool’s new airship the Helio-Arx, she devises a plan to sneak on board and search for clues, but she isn’t the only unexpected guest.

Score 9 out of 10

She’s finally back ladies and gentlemen! Time for Lady Mechanika to look into the strange happenings going on on Lord Blackpool’s floating Helio Arx.  She goes undercover to a masquerade ball on the Arx to investigate what happen to the body of the mechanical girl, Seraphina, is it one of Blackpool’s goons who took her? Guess she’ll need to bust (or wing, as it were) in to find out.  We have another visitor, Mr. Gitano, Seraphina’s father, who crashes the ball to help Lady Mechanika find out what happened to his daughter, but he’s keeping a secret.  There was something special about Seraphina, something that could help Lord Blackpool create mechanical monstrosities!

The Good:

As always, amazing art (just too bad that it takes so long Benitez so long to make it, but hey, it’s beautiful).  Lady Mechanika is so cool under pressure, always a lady, but totally ready to kick some butt (“Sir, per chance, can you swim?”).  Liked the masquerade scene and really wanna know who it is behind that raven mask (an ally or perhaps someone from Lady M’s past, the guy who took Seraphina’s body?).  What is the significance of Lady Mechanika’s gear cross?

We find out there is something special in the blood of the family of Seraphina, wether it be the blood of demons or angels, we do not know.  I love it when they mix in a little of the spiritual world into mix.

The Bad:

Not tons of action but made up in the charm of the characters.

Other Thoughts:

My wife (a huge steampunk and tough lady fan) and I love Lady Mechanika.  If you like steampunk, tough ladies kicking butt, mysteries, or even just love great comic book art, this is the comic for you (just hope it can stay on schedule haha)