Rants, Raves & Observations

Rogue One’s Darth Vader Star Wars Portrayal is the Best Ever!

Whoa!Let’s just bypass all the fluff and riga-ma-roll and jump right into it. This shouldn’t be a SPOILER, since they’ve shown this iconic character in a number of film trailers, but if it is – I sincerely apologize. But now that I think about it, if you weren’t aware he was in the film, then you’re probably not a die hard Star Wars fan and so it probably doesn’t matter anyways? But let me just dive and state for the record, that this Darth Vader Star Wars portrayal was EASILY the best we have EVER seen him.

darth vader star wars

Synopsis

First, the premise of the show, if you didn’t already know, was basically a small band of rebels, teaming together to try and pull of essentially the heist of the century, and steal the plan to Empire’s super weapon, the Death Star. We know from the very first Star Wars IV: A New Hope, that the rebels, led by Luke Skywalker manage to exploit that weakness in the Death Star’s construction and destroy it. This victory was made possible, by the events we see unfold in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

darth vader star wars

We also know, from the very beginning of Star Wars IV, that the film opens up with Princess Leia and the rebels, trying to outrun, Darth Vader’s Imperial Star Destroyer. Leia’s ship is captured, but before they are apprehended, she uploads the plans to the Death Star into R2-D2 and then sends both R2 and C-3PO in an escape pod to the planet Tatooine below, to which begins our long and exciting adventure with Luke and Co.

darth vader star wars

There you have it. Current situation in a nutshell. I won’t go into as to how the entire Rogue One story unfolded, as a LOT of things went down, but I will add a few links here to favorable reviews which I totally agree with:

Darth Vader Star Wars Portrayal

darth vader star wars
This is ALL based on a personal opinion, so I ENCOURAGE you to voice your own opinion in the comment section below. And please, we can do this as Star Wars die-hard fans and be civil about it!

**SPOILERS AHEAD**

This Darth Vader Star Wars Portrayal that I experienced in the theaters, left my jaw agape in utter amazement. I literally, sat, in stunned silence at the conclusion of the film, after witnessing DARTH VADER FINALLY RISE to level of magnificence that we all knew resided at, but never really saw. Let me explain….

We know that Anakin Skywalker (A.K.A. Darth Vader) is supposedly like the greatest, baddie, Sith Lord ever. He is the supposedly one of the most potent users of the force in the galaxy. Yes? Can we agree on that?

darth vader star wars

HOWEVER, for me, Darth Vader has always been sort of ‘ho-hum’. I mean, we’re TOLD that he is the baddest, but maybe the only time we REALLY saw this, was when he and Luke Skywalker fought at Bespin, the Cloud City, in The Empire Strikes Back. That for me, was probably the best fight scene between he and Luke of the entire series. They had a big final fight in The Return of the Jedi, but the fight in The Empire Strikes Back was much more drawn out and overall much better.

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In 1999, we got Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (which I hated), however, we were given probably the greatest fight sequence of all the Star Wars series – the duel between Darth Maul (Sith), Obi-Wan (Jedi) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Jedi)

This for me was the best of the best when it came to light saber and force dueling between Jedi and Sith, and for me, anyways, it solidified Darth Maul as at least one of the most EXCITING and DYNAMIC Sith combatants around.

But Still, we were led to believe that Anakin (A.K.A Darth Vader) was the greatest of all.

This never sat well with me. I LIKED DARTH VADER….a LOT! Don’t get me wrong. But they never let him live completely up to the hype in the films, until that is….we were given maybe 2 minutes in the tail end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. HOLY SHIT!!!

Here’s the scene

We see Lord Vader earlier in the film, but it’s nothing compared to the final minutes of the show.

Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor manage to beam the plans of the Death Star off the planet and to a waiting Rebel Starship in orbit. The Death Star ‘arrives’ and subsequently eliminates the entire Imperial base, including what’s left of our heroic rebels on the surface.

Darth Vader, then arrives, and makes his way to the Rebel starship, to re-capture the plans to the Death Star.

He boards the ship. The Rebels, are ready for him. Vader appears in one of the ship’s corridors and the Rebels open fire.

What we are then BLESSED with, is THE GREATEST SINGLE, DARTH VADER STAR WARS moment in the history of the series. It gives me chills even recalling the masterful display of the force from this most awesome of Sith Lords.

Darth Vader, at what I refer to as ‘The Vader-gait’, then proceeds to deflect every blaster bolt thrown his way with either his light saber or hand, and at the same time either deflects bolts back at the Rebels or uses his powerful command of the force to throw bodies right and left, or crush the life out of them. As he closes ground, he brings his saber to bear, slashing to and fro, cutting down hapless Rebels in his wake.

The Rebels are desperately trying to get the tape, containing the plans to the Death Star out of this corridor of ‘death’ before Vader gets to them, and eventually slip it out of a seam in the bulkhead door. Vader is just seconds too late as the Rebels ferry the plans to Princess Leia on her ship, and speeds away.

THE GREATEST 2 OR 3 MINUTES OF DARTH VADER STAR WARS CARNAGE EVER CAPTURED ON FILM!!!

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

via GIPHY

And that, ladies and gents is where I will end it!

In closing, this just in:

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story began its domestic box office marathon yesterday with a whopping $71 million Friday gross. That includes $29m in Thursday grosses, which is the biggest “preview” figure of 2016. As for the actual $71.072m Friday number, it’s the third-biggest of the year behind Captain America: Civil War ($75m) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($81m) [Forbes]

Best Anime Show On TV

EASILY the best Anime show currently airing, One Punch Man. Normally I’d rant and rave about the show, but I rather have you go out, find it online and WATCH. You really have to see this show for yourself. Fantastic animation, fluid and smooth, quirky but entertaining story line and action like no other.

Anyways, I lied, here is a reeeeaaally quick breakdown of ONE PUNCH MAN. Just promise as soon as you leave here you check out episode I at the minimum

ONE PUNCH MAN Wiki

The story takes place in the fictional Japanese metropolis of City Z. The world is full of strange monsters that mysteriously appear and cause disasters. Saitama, the protagonist, is an incredibly powerful hero who easily defeats the monsters or other villains with a single punch. However, due to his overwhelming strength, Saitama has become bored with his powers and is constantly trying to find stronger opponents who can fight him.

On his adventures, he meets new friends, enemies, and his own disciple, the cyborg Genos, and joins the Heroes Association in order to gain fame for all of his efforts to defeat evil. Despite defeating many strong monsters that even the Heroes Association’s top members are unable to defeat, Saitama struggles to gain respect. Most people look down on him due to his plain physical appearance, and some accuse him of being a counterfeit hero. Only a small number of individuals recognize his incredible talent and humility towards others.

You know how I like to roll! When I like a show, I have to scour both high and low for any and all interesting pieces of gear, apparel and collectibles specific to the show and ONE PUNCH MAN is no exception. Here are some of the many great graphic tees I came across.

Saitama Punch – One Punch Man

one punch man
[$25.22 via RedBubble]

One Punch Man – Saitama

One Punch Man
$22.40 via RedBubble

One Punch Man Grey

one-punch-grey
[$24.39 via RedBubble]

One Punch Man – OK

saitama-ok
[$24.80 via RedBubble]

One punch man logo

one-punch-man-logo
[$21.94 via RedBubble]

One Punch Man Face

one-punch-man-face
[$24.80 via RedBubble]

One Punch Man Hero

one-punch-man-hero
[$22.40 via RedBubble]

One Punch Man Workout

one-punch-workout
[$21.47 via RedBubble]

Comic Book Store Blues in Boise

My long time favorite local Comic Book store in Boise, The Paper Back Place recently closed down shop….another great comic book store in a line of great comic book stores over the years in Boise to eventually shut their doors. The notion that ‘they will be missed’ is an understatement.

I have now had to go all in with Captain Comics just outside the Boise downtown, and although they have a great set-up and excellent selection, they have a ‘policy’ that over the long term, may prove to become difficult to source solely from them.

All About Comic Book Art

comic book art

Art by Humberto Ramos

I like Comic Art. It’s one of the main reasons, motivators, whatever, that I have in choosing a particular comic. Writing is of course, very important, but everyone has their ‘preference’ and personal quirks, and for me, ART trumps WRITING.

Captain Comics has a ‘policy’ that you must grab staff in the store (of which there are maybe 2 at any one time…), if you want to ‘open’ the plastic, protective covering they place, even newly arrived comic books in. Why would you want to ‘open’ this protective casing? Well, for people like me, that would like to actually SEE the artwork inside, this is pretty much a MUST. Looking at the COVER ART on a comic book does not necessarily mean that is how the artwork ‘INSIDE’ is. I have learned over the MANY years at reading comics that physically taking a quick glance inside is almost always necessary, and ESPECIALLY NOW, with the price of comic books at LUDICRIS levels.

No way I am going to chance grabbing a bunch of titles, at $3-$4 a pop and ‘HOPING’ that when I get home, peel open the protective case, that the art agrees with me.

Problems With Captain Comic’s Policy?

  • It’s Inefficient. You mean to tell me that I have to grab one of the few staff in the store (screw this notion if the store is packed and someone needs to man the register), every time I want to look inside a comic book? No matter that I may look into 4 or 5 books, this individual is to me follow me around like a ‘gas attendant in Oregon’ and open each one for me? Don’t get me wrong, I definitely feel ‘SPECIAL’ having my personal comic book attendant, but this is silly?
  • It’s sort of Annoying? I have to find, wait (for them to finish with someone else), then grab staff, every time I want to do something that maybe takes 10 sec for me to do?

To their credit…I UNDERSTAND, some of the precautions here they would like to take with just anyone going into and out of these sometimes STUNNING collectibles and works of art, but there’s got to be a better way? Yes? No?

Taking Steps Into My OWN Hands…For Now

With no serious options in sight right now with regards to an alternative comic book shop to use (Hastings is an option as their selections have gotten better…), there are things I can do to improve my ‘EXPERIENCE’ at Captain Comics for the time being.

  • Know What I’m Looking For. I have already established a list of artists I like using EVERNOTE. I just need to better organize it and make it more available and usable relatively quickly. With a list of names, I can scan the outside covers of comic books for the artist I prefer. This works for artists I know. However, I don’t KNOW what I don’t KNOW right? So if a new comic is released and I’m not familiar with the artist name on the cover, I’m SOL!

Yes, yes I know….small city problems, but I love BOISE so I’ll just need to figure it out. If any of you reading this have similar pains in your neck of the woods, I’d love to hear about it. Misery loves company right?

Read Or Don’t Read The Martian Before Watching The Movie?

Literally just strolled out of the theater after having watched Ridley Scott’s film, The Martian, starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain, and it was fantastic. I had also just listened to book from which the movie was based on not a week earlier, written by Andy Weir. Also fantastic! So after having read the book and watched the movie adaptation, I can tell you there are pros and cons to this. But my question to you – what’s your opinion? Would you read The Martian before watching the movie, or not?

The Martian

In a nutshell, the film The Martian, Directed by Ridley Scott (the book, released in 2011 and written by Andy Weir) a is essentially a film of survival and determination by Astronaut Mark Watney.

When the Ares III manned mission to Mars is hit by an intense Martian storm, astronaut Mark Watney is lost and presumed dead. With the lives of her crew at stake, mission commander Melissa Lewis is forced to leave the planet, leaving Watney behind. Having survived the destruction of his communications equipment and now unable to contact NASA, he uses his knowledge as a botanist to grow food within the mission’s artificial habitat, anticipating that he will need to survive for at least three years before the next manned mission to Mars is sent. He keeps a series of video logs to maintain morale and then diligently (and with much humor, despite his predicament), sets upon the task of figuring out how to survive on Mars, how to communicate with NASA and Earth and how to stay alive to make it back.

The Martian Theatrical Trailer

Like any other space movie, what can go wrong will go wrong, and The Martian is not immune to this age old rule.

The film as a whole was fantastic. The characters and actors were stellar, from the astronauts and crew of the Hermes, to NASA personnel desperately trying to figure out a way to bring their stranded astronaut back to Matt Damon’s Mark Watney character, who despite severe hardships, manage to keep his spirits and humor sky high.

The author of the book, Andy Weir had mentioned in one of his past interviews that he had patterned Watney’s personality to his own. If that’s true, I would definitely LOVE to meet Mr. Weir, because in the darkest most hopeless moments and setbacks of the film, Astronaut Mark Watney maintained his lighthearted humor throughout.

How Close Was The Film to the Book?

the martian
Did the movie ‘differ’ from the book? Sure, as it’s nearly impossible to cram the full detail and depth of a novel into a two-hour film made to ‘entertain.’ However, that being said, of all the films I have seen that were either adapted or based on a book, The Martian really stayed ‘close’ to the story and much of the ‘main dialogue’ and important segments throughout.

Where the film lacked, was in the details, no surprise. For the moviegoer (who has NOT read the book), the movie may seem to flow nicely. For those who have read the book, it would feel like huge swaths of time were just skipped and trials and tribulations that Watney had to deal with, zipped up to barely a mention. It was unfortunate that such fine details had to be omitted or summed up, but by the same token, I am glad I was able to read the book and have that ‘background’ burned in, because I felt much more ‘informed’ than the audience as to the WHY, certain things had to be in the film.

The benefits of watching the film? I have a vivid imagination that can carry itself any day (just ask my mom), but it’s always great to see someone’s translation of the book into something cinematically beautiful.

The Martian landscape

Mark Watney’s sickly and malnutritioned body

It was just wonderful to see these and other elements from the book projected on to the big screen.

There were even ‘additional’ scenes added on to the ending which were very much welcomed.

To Read or NOT to Read?

the martian book
The question I ask, is in your opinion, is it better to read or not read a novel before seeing the film? I’ve seen similar questions to this raised in the past, for viewers of the hit television series, Game of Thrones, where fans seem to be split with those who have read the massive George R.R. Martin books and those that have only watched the TV show.

My feelings are mixed after having just watched The Martian and having just read the book a week earlier.

I would LOVE to hear your experiences with this below!

9 Salt Lake Comic Con Tips For First Time Attendees

The Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 event just concluded last weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah, and words CANNOT…and WILL NOT convey the amount of fun times we had there, especially as first-timers.

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It should go without mentioning that before ANY Comic Con event, you familiarize yourself with the convention schedule. And even more-so, create your OWN SCHEDULE of the events, contests, photo ops, and shopping you plan to do. The clock is ticking and since we’re already in October, planning for next year’s Salt Lake Comic Con or ANY Comic Con for that matter, should take significant importance, especially if you reside within THE GEEKOCRACY as I do!

Below are some things I learned that you may want to make note of when planning your trek to the Salt Lake Comic Con or ANY Comic Con for that matter.

Attend all 3 Days

salt lake comic con
I initially thought – ‘if we get to Salt Lake City the night before then hit the convention hard from doors opening to doors closing, that would be adequate.’ WRONG!

Manage Your Time

anthony mackie
Like I mentioned above, get really familiar with the schedule of events at Comic Con. And not only that but the map and the general location of where everything is. Trying to ‘wing it’ and just make your way around the convention is not only a huge waste of your valuable time but a huge waste of what ‘limited time’ you have. I say ‘limited’ because between any panels and celebrity photo/autograph opportunities you want to participate in (and the lines of excited fans you’ll have to wait in), and any shopping you want to do with the hundreds (maybe thousands) of cool shit on the floor for sale, time all of sudden becomes a valuable commodity.

Eat Before You Go and Hydrate

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day (so ‘they’ say, whomever ‘they’ is…), but more importantly than what someone says, eating BEFORE going to Comic Con will not only give you desperately needed energy but also put something in that belly so you’re not tempted to spend hundreds of dollars on bad food. Plus, why would you want to spend all that cash on sustenance when you could be spending it on much more important things like toys, comics, posters, light sabers, collectibles and more?

Take Water and Snacks

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I know you’ve had a great breakfast (above), but also bring a water bottle and some small items to snack on. Within no time you will become dehydrated and low on energy because at a Comic Con, who wants to waste time chugging water and munching on nuts. BUT, it is important and helps to make the entire experience that much more enjoyable. And WHY? Because one – you won’t have to spend loads of saved up cash on over-priced bottles of water and snacks INSIDE the convention, and two – you won’t ‘peter-out’ worn and tired, unable to finish walking the show floor because you have no more energy. Tuck some snacks, nuts, energy bars, whatever, in your bag and a bottle or two or water. Well worth it (literally!)

Don’t Wear Flip Flops or Sandals

My wife would argue against this one as she wore flip flops and CLAIMS she was fine. I’m not going down that path right now, but to be on the safe side, wear good walking shoes. And not just because you will be walking to Hell and back throughout the duration of the week, but also because with so many people, stomping, shuffling, jumping, mashing their heavy shoes around you, I can almost guarantee you’ll get stepped on SEVERAL times throughout the convention.

Plan For Parking or Take the Train

utah trax
We were so damn excited at just ‘going’ to the Salt Lake Comic Con that we forgot to plan how exactly we were going to ‘get there?’

Luckily for us we had a good friend in the ‘area’ that we could stay with and not pay exorbitant hotel costs. But we still had to physically get there and that is where we failed. Like your typical NOOB we drove down into the heart of downtown Salt Lake, following instructions on the Salt Lake Comic Con website about plenty of downtown garage parking to be had, oblivious to the fact that thousands upon thousands would be doing the very same damn thing! FAIL!

Took us close an hour of valuable, LIMITED time to find a parking spot. Never again. Next time for us, we’ll take the Utah TRAX (train), but for Comic Con’s in your area, I encourage you to research any and all means of getting down to the convention that don’t involve sucking away all your time. The Utah Trax is inexpensive, and drops you off literally across the street from the convention center. And when you’re done, it’ll take you well outside the sphere of craziness to a quiet parking lot well away from the traffic. Nuff said!

Have a Good Camera

female cosplayersI thought I was adequately covered for photos with my handy Samsung Galaxy S5 (great photos if the subject is standing absolutely and completely still…UGH!), and my trusty mini, point-and-shoot, that fit snugly in my cargo pocket. I didn’t think I could bring my Canon Rebel 35mm so I left that baby at home.

NOPE. The lighting wasn’t the best, subjects were moving, people were criss-crossing all over which meant I had to continuously adjust my own position, essentially taking photographs on the move and not surprisingly, most of my ‘treasured’ moments at the Salt Lake Comic Con were blurred or otherwise just not satisfying. SUCK!!!

I don’t know if the Canon rebel would of done me much better, plus its a lot more to lug around. What I would suggest is a quality point and shoot camera and a good camera phone as backup. and also to take multiple photos, if feasible, of your subject so that you have some redundancy in case one of the photos turns out shitty. Lesson learned…

Bring CASH!

cashSilly me! Doesn’t everyone now have the ability to swipe your credit/debit card with those nifty iPad card swipers? Apparently not! Two times at the Salt Lake Comic Con, I had waited in long winding lines only to find out that the vendor was cash only. Sometimes signs were posted alerting us to that fact, sometimes they weren’t. BRING CASH! You can thank (and pay me) later…

Lastly, HAVE FUN!

Each one of these lessons learned I have passed on to you. Many of these you might’ve known on your own, and if so, good for you. But basically the goal here is to make sure you’re adequately prepared for any and all eventualities so that you can have to most memorable experience, like EVER!

If there are any of you reading that are more experienced, please share your expert tips and advice in the comments below! We would love to hear them!

In related news – Salt Lake Comic Con sets new cosplay world record – Comic Book Resources

Great time to be a Geek. But Beware Of Internet Trolls

It’s a great time to be a geek. There was a time when Geeks and Nerds were frowned upon, teased and ridiculed, that is until these individuals started becoming the ‘flag bearers’ for the future of society as we know it. From Science and Technology, to Entertainment, Music, Fashion and beyond, the Geek has really ascended to plane all their own. But BEWARE! Especially for the ‘newly’ indoctrinated Geek, the newbie, the individual who has finally seen the light and has decided to join our swelling ranks…there are denizens of The Geekocracy, who can and WILL make your journey perilous and miserable. Who are these classes (or, classless) of people? We like to call them Internet Trolls. Let me give you a brief introduction.

The KNOW-IT-ALL

know-it-all
This is the KNOW-IT-ALL, the so-called expert in whatever particular subject you happen to be commenting on, whether its a particular film, comic, television show, whatever. You’ll find quite a few of these, as folks jockey for legitimacy and relevance. You’d think this individual was in on the production of the show or one of the creators or writers, with ‘inside knowledge’ regarding any and everything related to the subject. KNOW-IT-ALL’s…

Are confident, over-confident, sure of themselves, can’t be wrong and cannot be reasoned with. Their statements and comment are THE STANDARD and woe to those who decide to question their rule!< Are quite common, especially on fan-based sites, forums, Reddit and Facebook groups. Take a moment to browse through the comments of some of the more popular posts and you will see these individuals in all their delusions of grandeur. Also typically have a number of followers or minions who act as their 'YES-MEN', agreeing with and liking everything that comes out of the know-it-all's mouth. They also tend to look up to the KNOW-IT-ALL, asking him all manner of questions and deferring to his 'all-knowing-ness' on various topics rather than just going online to find answers at legitimate sources. This helps to add to their so-called legitimacy and may even encourage others to fall under the KNOW-IT-ALL's war banner.

THE SUPREME LEADER

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When he/she gangs up on you, their barrage of insults and ‘put-downs’ will be followed up by an equal level of torment from their faithful followers and cronies. They will faithfully support every comment and statement made by their beloved alpha. It’s almost entertaining to watch as they fall into line, liking and positively commenting on every word uttered from the supreme leader’s pie hole.

THE SUPREME LEADER will also most definitely be a KNOW-IT-ALL (above) and even a MR. NEGATIVE, discounting anything you say that clashes with his edict and even going as far to chastise and ridicule your asinine thinking. And if you make the stupid (although heroic) mistake of questioning or disputing anything uttered by the Supreme Leader, your feeble (although heroic) gestures will be met with a shit storm of minion ridiculousness. They will come to the aid of THE SUPREME LEADER in droves, belittling you to the point where you begin to question whether you knew anything at all?

From the ‘sidelines’ watching this ‘event’ take place is something to see, as you watch a hapless Geek succumb to the tsunami of worker ants eat away at their carcass, while all THE SUPREME LEADER moves on to other easy prey.

NOTE: It is advised not to directly confront a SUPREME LEADER unless you are fully prepared to weather through the mounds of shit that will, at haste, come barreling your way. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

MR. NEGATIVE

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This individual puts down any and everything that they do not agree with, which is usually nothing, even if they themselves suggested it, only because they’ll probably accuse you of piggybacking off their own ideas! Films and TV shows were either written poorly, filmed wrong, were politically or culturally wrong or incorrect, didn’t represent the genre, the fan base, whatever. You almost want to tell them, to go make the fucking show yourself since everything to you is essentially shit. Why do you even watch or read anything?

These guys (or gals) are huge turn offs and can really put a damper on a forum or group discussion, because they aren’t happy WITH ANYTHING. Tell me this, in real life, do you like hanging around with a Debbie Downer? I doubt it, and online these digital Debbie’s suck to be around. I typically leave a discussion when the crap starts to flow from their gaping mouths. It’s just toxic and doesn’t really add to the discussion.

NOTE: You can try to change their minds or add a little positivity to their lives, but I would caution against it, only because you have much more useful and entertaining things to do and explore than to get pulled down into ‘shitsville’ with this party pooper.

THE ANALYST

analyst
Bless their hearts, these folks will analyze something TO DEATH. Really pick apart your favorite show down to the nitty gritty, pulling out all sorts and manner of inaccuracies whether historical, scientific, technological or what have you. These are the ones that proudly proclaim whether in-fact time travel would actually work in that particular manner or whether the gun fired 9 or 10 times or whatever. They pull shit out that you wouldn’t of thought of in a million years. And its not that what they state is untrue or inaccurate, but that you could give a shit! You’re just trying to watch the fuckin’ movie!!

They will analyze the accuracy of comic book films and how close or far away they were from the comic book story line, or whether light speed or hyper sleep is even possible or that the latin name for this bug or that bird was even accurate in the film….just silly shit!

Now, granted, some of the stuff THE ANALYST pulls out of their ass is indeed interesting, as I myself have even been surprised and taken back by their discoveries, but you know…it’s a fuckin’ movie, right? We’re there to escape reality and be entertained. If I wanted to go to school I go to fuckin’ school right?

MEME MASTERS

idiot
I’m not gonna lie, there are MEME’s out there that are funnier than shit. But some users like to MEME everything, and not in a good way. There are MEME’s which help accentuate a topic or add to it in some funny or hilarious manner, but then there are MEME’s that seek to degrade and belittle whomever originally posted the piece or commenters on the piece. These particular MEME’s seem to garner lots of likes because to many they may seem funny, but to the poster or commenter that they are directed at, they are downright mean and degrading.

Many of the MEME’s are too derogatory to post, but trust me when I say this, they will most likely offend and piss you off to no end, so try your best to ignore and move on. MEME MASTERS are literally masters at creating or finding the most offending of MEME’s so in that regard they are quite resourceful. But make no mistake, they will rally the community against you.

MEME MASTERS have no real allegiance to anyone although they tend to just ‘go with the flow’ of the discussion. If the general feeling of the commenting is against you, then the MEME MASTER will join in on the fray. They rejoice in getting attention (as many of us do online), and the funnier and more trendy the MEME the more attention and likes they get.

IN CLOSING

You will undoubtedly run into variations and permutations of the above personalities as well as others not documented here (I would appreciate you adding into the comments below, any NOT listed here, for future reference). The point is, that NOW is our time. The rise of the Geek and the growing Geekocracy is at hand. But be aware and take caution, that there are ‘trolls’ out there that will seek to spoil your fun and enjoyment. Learn to pay them no mind, and by all means try your best NOT to engage them in heated discussion. You may be in for more than you bargained for, and in this case, that is a really bad thing!

Remember When Transformers Were Cool?

Managed to get out and catch a movie, during a long and very difficult work week, which was surprising, and see the newly released sci-fi film, Transformers Age of Extinction. My level of interest in seeing Transformers Age of Extinction was high, my excitement was moderate (wasn’t expecting much, since the first Transformers film was my fav), and what I got, was a disaster the like Cybertron has never seen before!

Here are my 7 Takeaways from Transformers: Age of Extinction

Low brow, kid-themed, my 3rd grade daughter loved it

brains
Although Transformers started out as toys in the early years, the movies have taken on a more violent themed feel, probably to also appeal to the younger adult crowd. So when I say ‘kid-themed’, I don’t necessarily mean it’s appropriate for kids, but just that the corniness of the dialogue, the acting and my biggest pet peeve, the continuous inclusion, of not-very-funny, and actually very annoying autobots, will have your kids engaged and enjoying every step. Me? Not so much…

I never tire of watching vehicles transform into massive fighting machines

optimus-prime
The first Transformers film was my favorite and I’ll never forget that first moment we really saw the magic of special effects come to life, when we watched the Decepticon Blackout, transition from helicopter to killing machine. The whole scene was surreal and magical as it was the first real time we were presented with a ‘modern day’ Transformer on the big screen.

Since then, even though we have now seen many iterations of a vehicle or object transform into a walking, talking, fighting machine, it has been no less miraculous to me. The attention to detail to every little piece, moving, rotating, folding into place to create this masterpiece of alien awesomeness remains the one coolest part of every Transformer film, and this was no different in Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Mark Wahlberg is much better than Shia LaBouf

transformers mark wahlberg
The actor formerly known as Shia LeBeouf has officially gone off the fuggin’ deep end [Actor Shia LaBeouf arrested and released after outburst in Broadway theater], which isn’t all bad given that I thought Mark Walhberg did quite decent. One disclaimer here, Walhberg is one of my favorite actors, so yes I am biased, but in all honesty, he really did do okay, in a film otherwise brimming with mediocre performances (besides Grammer and Tucci) and a crazy, muddled-as-hell story line.

The cool thing about Walhberg is he’s great at playing the tough guy (Lone Survivor), and bad ass but can also play a fuggin’ funny ass role as well (The Other Guys), and Transformers Age of Extinction was no exception. He had a bunch of decent serious parts in the film and even some little funny quips. I don’t know if they will be any more Transformer films after this, but if there are, hopefully Mark Walhberg stays on.

I’m curious how many perished in the destruction that was reigned down?

transformers
What’s the deal with the level of destruction raining down on helpless innocents over the last several blockbuster films? From Man of Steel to The Avengers to Transformers Age of Extinction, civilians are getting the short end of the stick, and getting left out to dry amidst toppling buildings and alien destruction of downtown sectors.

The level of destruction is staggering in Transformers Age of Extinction and you can’t help but imagine the causalities every time a building topples or is partially leveled. I realize that having big monsters and machines (ex. Pacific Rim or Transformers) is much more exciting watching them tussle within the ‘concrete jungles’ of any metropolis rather than some far flung jungle, but damn…..

Kelsey Grammer and Stanley Tucci were good. Especially Tucci.

transformers age of extinction stanley tucciKelsey Grammer was a pretty good bad guy, Transformer-hunter and Stanley Tucci as a rich, eccentric, inventor was hilarious at times as he stumbled from one situation to another while running from spec op forces, machines and whomever else was out looking for his hide.

A lot of shit wasn’t plausible, even for a sci-fi film

You have to suspend a lot of belief when you go to watch ANY sci-fi film. That’s standard. But there were moments in Transformers Age of Extinction where I just sat there wondering who wrote this, and why the Hell they thought this particular part in the film would have even the most clueless of audience-goers wondering WTF?!

From Mark Wahlberg hacking a small, super high-tech, robotic drone with parts he scavenges in some abandoned gas station on the side of the road to him then taking that drone and doing all manner of silliness with it. It was hard for me to sit and stomach it. And there were many, many more parts of a similar nature throughout that had me shaking my head and wondering where the hell this ground-breaking series had left the tracks!

There were cool new transformers and some really stupid ones

Tranformers Lockdown Lastly, we have the stars of the show, the Transformers. We had some pretty cool ones, and as expected we had some pretty dumb ones.

Who was cool?
The Bounty Hunter, Lockdown was my favorites of the film. A true bad ass, and just plain cool in how he looked, how he spoke and how he took down even the mightiest of foes, Lockdown was a great breath of fresh air in a mess of a film.

The Autobots, Optimus, Hound and Drift, Bumblebee and Crosshairs were all decent enough, with Hound (voiced by John Goodman) stealing the show in my opinion. Optimus and Bumblebee held their own, Crosshairs had a couple of shining moments and Drift, should of been used more. I mean, if you’re gonna have a samurai in your film you might as well use him right?

Who was dumb?
Galvatron and the whole lineup of human-manufactured Transformers. Dumb, dumb and dumb! The whole notion of humans figuring out how to make a transformer was dumb enough for me, but now you have the transformation processes looking like a puzzle being put together in mid-air and forming this ‘higher’ tech Transformer. It was so stupid I had trouble even watching. And Galvatron? The human’s answer to creating a bot that could fight Optimus, who apparently had been infused with the memories of the late Megatron, was both dumb looking and insignificant. A less than valiant attempt at reviving Megatron to all his glory.

In a Nutshell

I didn’t like it. And believe me, that pains me greatly to say, because I am a die hard sci-fi fanatic, and I more or less enjoy the Transformer films to a certain extent. Maybe I have Transformer fatigue or maybe Transformers Age of Extinction just plain missed the mark.

I’d love to hear your review, good or bad?

My Somewhat Unusual Game of Thrones Favorite Character Roster

I have NOT read the Game of Thrones books. In fact, I have deliberately refrained from even attempting to read them, as much as I would like to, for the simple fact that I want to be ‘surprised’ while watching the show. I want that feeling of NOT knowing what’s around the corner, or behind door ‘3’ if you get my gist. Folks who have read the series just don’t get the same ‘impact’ as the rest us after having watched episodes like ‘The Rains of Castamere’ or the ‘Viper and the Mountain.’

Anyways, we all the know the ‘RULE’ when it comes to Game of Thrones. Don’t attach yourself to anyone because everyone dies, as the joke goes anyways. And the problem is, is that its just sooooo hard NOT to like anyone because there are such rich and fascinating characters throughout the story. So in bucking that trend, of not ‘liking’ anyone in the show, I have gone ahead to pick my official Game of Thrones 6-man [or woman] roster.

Unfortunately, those of you who have already READ the books cannot really participate because you of course, already know who is going to live and who is going to die.

But for those of you, who are like me, and wholly addicted to the television series, here are my favorite six Game of Thrones characters as of season 4, episode 8 [we’ll start a few obvious ones…]

Tyrion

Game of Thrones Tyrion
The crowd favorite without a doubt, Tyrion represents what is BEST in the world. Level-headed, intelligent, cunning ‘beyond his height’, fair and just. If he were ever to become King (not a chance but we can dream), the show would be essentially over because there is no doubt he could bring peace to the land as a fair and just King.

Jamie Lannister

Game of Thrones Jamie Lannister
One of several love/hate relationships for me in the story, Jamie Lannister ‘King Slayer’ has come a long ways from the big headed, jerk of man to what he is now, a changed person for the most part (except for this lingering infatuation with his sister…ugh!), after his journey back to King’s Landing with Brienne of Tarth.

Jamie is warmer, friendlier, more trustful and seemingly has his eyes ‘opened’ to the evils and injustices of the world.

Arya Stark

Game of Thrones Arya Stark
As one of two last living daughters to the unjustly slain Ned Stark, Lord of Winterfell, and Warden of the North, Arya is no doubt (at this point in time anyways), the stronger and more easily tolerable sister of the two. Maybe its because Sansa Stark is so blatantly weak and oblivious to the way of the world around her, because she is definitely an annoyance every time she is on screen. Arya, on the other hand, small, relatively weak, but mentally tough, is a pleasure to watch always. Especially when conversing with her ‘captor/traveling companion’ The Hound.

Brienne of Tarth

Game of Thrones Brienne of Tarth
The giant and noble female warrior known as Brienne of Tarth, won me over in the first moments onscreen. Trust-worthy, strong (especially for a woman in the Game of Thrones world), and a warrior unafraid of taking on a group of ruffians without hesitation, she is one of the few bright shining beacons of hope throughout the story. And, equally important, a major factor in the change in Jamie Lannister.

Now for some of my NOT so usual suspects…

The Hound

Game of Thrones
Like Jamie Lannister, I disliked The Hound profusely, opting for Tyrion’s man Bronn, when the two were about to square off earlier in the show. But like Jamie, I started to come around to The Hound, after he parted ways with nut job Joffrey and got on the road with Arya Stark, which has turned into nothing but fun to watch. The conversations and situations Arya and The Hound find themselves episode after episode is fantastic.

Ramsay Bolton

Game of Thrones Ramsay Bolton
Probably the most controversial of my picks and one certain to draw some jeers and hisses – Ramsay Snow (or Bolton after last week’s episode)

Ramsay Bolton is a psychopath. In today’s world, he would be considered an unstable and deranged serial killer. He is dangerous, unpredictable and crazy beyond anything you see on the show, and that’s saying something. And, for me, is one of the stronger, survivable characters in the show.

Honorable Mention….?

Prince Oberyn

Prince Oberyn
Alas, Prince Oberyn, a new comer to this season’s show and already a huge favorite of mine until ‘The Viper and the Mountain’. For me, Prince Oberyn, was a man who was unafraid of any in King’s Landing, and yet all knew of the history between his people and that of the Lannisters.

Mind sharing your top six below?

There you go. I have done what many said NOT to do and that’s fall in love with a character in Game of Thrones, because as my friends sarcastically put it, EVERYONE DIES! But let’s have a bit of phone (plus, I’m curious), but if you don’t mind, rattle off your top 5 or 6 Game of Thrones characters in the comments below. I would love to see your roster!

Are We Entering The Era of the Geek?

I was more of an introvert growing up [who am I kidding, I still am!], and often found comfort and entertainment in such pursuits as video games, role-playing board games [like D & D], comic books and movies and TV. Now an adult, not much has changed in who I am, now that I back, but was HAS noticeably changed is the perception of what being GEEK or NERD means and is in today’s society. Have we entered into the Era of the Geek?

Case in point, let me start start with something rather mundane and go from there?

Film & Entertainment

Top 10 films of All-time
Can you remember a time when there was a list like this, where movies in the top 10 list films of all time at the box office were made up of films like Avatar, Marvel’s The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and The Dark Knight Rises? Movies all hailing from the fantasy and comic book genre?

Comic book films in fact have never been hotter and this extends into the TV world as well with hits like ARROW, the slowly growing in popularity show, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the high anticipation for the CW’s The Flash and the Netflix originals Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.

What about the popularity and increasing prevalence of science fiction? Highly anticipated science fiction movies being released within the next couple years [including this year]? Edge of Tomorrow (2014), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (2014, 2015), Interstellar (2014), Jupiter Ascending (2014), Transcendence (2014), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), Star Wars Episode VII (2015), Terminator: Genesis (2015), and I could go on. Many of these will be huge successes at the box office because science fiction is more popular than it ever has been before.

And, don’t get me started on the video gaming craze, that shakes up the universe every once in a while with huge video game title releases [Call of Duty: Black Ops developed by Treyarch and published by Activision made a record $360 million in sales on the first day of its release] and video game consoles like the XBOX One and Playstation 4.

Point is, every aspect of the entertainment industry has gone or IS going extreme geek, especially in things we like to do in our personal time and I see no slowing down in this trend.

Technology

smartphone-zombies
Technology? Really? You had to go there didn’t you? This might be one of the biggest indicators that society as a whole is migrating to Geekdom faster than you can tweet it.

Walk into a coffee shop, restaurant, through the park, whatever, and you’ll see people with their faces buried in their smartphones, tablets or macbooks, jogging around with their nifty fitness gadgets, or marveling at their smart watches and one day, Google glasses.

Social networking is HUGE and will only continue to grow and become more pervasive within every day lives. And, I’m not just talking about Facebook or Twitter but social apps like Instagram and Snapchat and others which are quickly adopted by the younger generations who will shape tomorrow.

Even older generations are migrating from the simple and casual use of tech to a more geek’d out posture. I had an older work associate come up to me the other day describing how it was time for him to ditch his old school, cell phone for a more advanced smartphone so he could start using apps. It’s a changing world, and people are geeking out just to stay ahead.

Education

Education has been gradually taking a more technology and geek-focused arc with the rise of technology-based charter schools where kids can now strengthen their proficiency in math, programming and other technical skills. High schools now have programs and competitions where kids can ‘compete’ in technical challenges like programming, database design and robotics [God I wish they had this when I was younger]

Add this increased emphasis on formal technology learning with what kids today already have access to and you can see how this is building for a Geek-centric society of tomorrow.

Careers
What are some of the hottest careers out there right now? Health and medical? Sure. There is a rapidly aging population to care for, but also jobs like Software Developer, Computer Systems Analyst, Web Developer, Information Security, Mobile Application Developer and Database Administrator [see U.S. News & World Report – Best Jobs of 2014].

There is financial gain and career opportunity in becoming a technology geek. Rapid changes in society is driving this trend and its only going to become stronger. Consumers CRAVE the latest and greatest in technology and technology tools, as do companies, and they need Geeks to make this happen and feed this ever increasing hunger.

Business

Who are the rockstars of the business world? Who are the companies that always command attention in the headlines? Why are interviews conducted with Developers and Inventors just as much as CEOs?

Look at the heavies in the business world today? Facebook, Google, Apple and their respective ‘leaders’ or faces of the organization that have journalist scurrying for a sound bite. Individuals like Mark Zuckerberg [Facebook], Larry Page/Sergey Brin [Google] and of course the late Steve Jobs [Apple]. These guys are GEEKS! or NERDS, or whatever you want to call it.

How about the new kids on the block? The inventors and developers building the latest in high-tech out of their garages or college dorm rooms?

Military

drone technology
And don’t think the ranks of Geeks are reserved for the commercial front. The U.S. military has decidedly gone uber-geek as the evolution of wars and battles go high-tech.

Robotic research and science fiction are colliding as artificial intelligence and more autonomous bots, armed and dangerous take to the air, land and sea to wage war on our behalf.

Hackers, persistent and increasingly more skilled have begun to infiltrate and steal from corporation and government databases which have prompted the military to beef up their cyber security and cyber warfare capabilities. Taking the fight to the enemy has also beckoned military leadership to seek out more ‘proactive’ ways at getting the upper hand as well.

Weapons [ex. the rail gun], planes [ex. F-22 Raptor] and other technologies are being designed by geeks to help protect troops and protect the country and like all technology shows no signs of abating.

The Era of The Geek

Mark Zuckerberg - Founder Facebook
Have we entered a new age? A new reality where the Geek and Nerd, once ‘relegated’ and dismissed as strange, weird, outcasts, funny [in a strange way], are now revered and respected? Are we [and yes, I have lumped myself in with the Geek-elite], now the new technology elite, whom society will soon hold in the highest regard, like rockstars and the politically elite?

Is this the Dawn of the Geek Elite? Please share your opinion below…..

Forget Making A Black Widow Film. How About Mystique?

Variety magazine reported back in February the prospect of developing a film that would revolve around the Marvel Avenger, Black Widow, played by the lovely Scarlett Johansson. And, this was even before Captain America: Winter Soldier premiered the first week of April this year, when the Black Widow character was sort of a ho-hum role (in my opinion), having appeared in The Avengers and Iron Man 2 previously. Now, after a solid performance in Captain America: Winter Soldier, all of a sudden the notion of a Black Widow film is becoming very real. But I say, forget the Widow… why the Hell not Mystique?

Kevin Feige on a Black Widow Film

Variety – Studio president Kevin Feige has long been high on the character even before her role was expanded for April’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” When promoting the homevideo release for “Iron Man 2,” in 2010, he said, “We’ve already started discussions with Scarlett (Johansson) about the idea of a solo movie and have begun putting together concepts, but ‘The Avengers’ comes first.”

“(Black) Widow’s part in that (Captain America) is very big,” Feige said. “We learn more about her past and learn more about where she came from and how she became in that film. The notion of exploring that even further in her own film would be great, and we have some development work with that. When we meet the Avengers at the top of ‘Age of Ultron,’ it’s a very different landscape than we left them at the end of the first film. Partially, that’s because we love the rhythm that the comicbooks have developed — each of the characters appear in their runs, occasionally they get together for a big event or crossover series, they part again, and then they come back together again.”

But what I say, is that the Black Widow character plays better as being part of a supporting role in Marvel films or maybe more a title character in something more along the ways of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television show. Having a film, featuring Black Widow, would probably not involve any ‘SUPERS’ and probably play out more like Captain America: Winter Soldier, as more of an espionage thriller sans Captain America and the The Winter Soldier. Nothing wrong with that, but ‘been there DONE THAT!’

Mystique on the other hand could essentially give us anything that a Black Widow film would give us and MORE!

Why Mystique Would be Infinitely Better

Mystique
Not trying to ruin or spoil anything for anyone who HASN’T yet seen X-Men: Days of Future Past, but essentially the character Mystique takes on and even more important and central role in the plot of film, so we see a LOT of Mystique, which got me to thinking. How cool would that be, seeing a film focused entirely on Mystique?

** Spoilers **

What steered me that direction was the scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Mystique, masquerading as an Army Colonel shows up in Vietnam to secure the rescue of mutants being shipped off to Trask Industries for ‘testing’ and experimentation in support of the Sentinel project.

After watching this scene unfold, with Mystique essentially going solo in taking down highly trained soldiers and then, just as easily as she infiltrated this group, walk out of the holding tent, freed mutants in tow, and get them aboard a transport plane, I thought, a Black Widow film? WTH? Let’s go Mystique!

With Mystique you can create a story from anything? With her ability to change her appearance, she could infiltrate and pose as basically anyone throughout history. Just as Bolivar Trask stated in his address to the President in X-Men: Days of Future Past, she could essentially masquerade as the President and initiate a nuclear strike if she so wanted to. And, think you’ve got her cornered and under arrest? Think again. The girl can fight her way out of twenty, heavily armed men if she wanted to. Can Black Widow do anything like this? She could give it her best effort, but it wouldn’t be nearly as exciting to watch.

Add to this, that fact that a Mystique film could even have cameos and quest appearances by notable and recognizable mutants, and it becomes even clearer why a Mystique film would easily trump a Black Widow one.

Still not convinced? Check out this great compilation of Mystique transformations put together by MTV.com

View EVERY Mystique Transformation EVER!

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Why Do the Same Actors Rotate Through All the New Roles?

Apparently Hollywood is in the midst of a shortage of new actors? How do I know this? Well, being that we’ve already had actors portray multiple super hero roles and other older, seasoned (albeit great actors), being called upon to play roles other leading super hero roles, it’s painfully obvious that we just don’t have enough NEW actors to fill these spots on the set?

Maybe its the film studios wanting to cast recognizable faces to help insure that the film makes more than modest earnings? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t mind seeing some new blood cast. Not only would it be a fresh new look by not having some actor you’ve seen in a other similar roles (Johnny Depp) or an actor that has played other super hero characters in the past.

Case in point…

The Seasoned Actor…
Michael Douglas to Star as Hank Pym in Marvel’s Ant-Man [Marvel.com]

Michael Douglas has stepped into some of the biggest–or should that be tiniest?–shoes of his career. The two-time Academy Award-winning actor will join director Edgar Wright and Paul Rudd in Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” hitting theaters July 31, 2015.

Douglas will star as Hank Pym, who first appeared in TALES TO ASTONISH #27 (Jan. 1962), with Rudd starring as Scott Lang in the film.

Marvel Courts Johnny Depp for ‘Doctor Strange’ [Rolling Stone]

Johnny Depp is reportedly in talks to star as the neurosurgeon-turned-magician Steven Strange in Marvel’s upcoming film adaptation of Doctor Strange, according to Variety.

Same Actor Multiple Super Hero Roles…

Chris Evans – Fantastic Four (Human Torch) AND The Avengers/Captain America
chris_evans
In 2005, Chris Evans starred as the Human Torch in the Tim Story directed and poorly done Fantastic Four film debut. Surprisingly, a sequel to the film would be created and released a couple years later in 2007 which was equally as bad at the first attempt at bringing the iconic four Marvel heroes to the big screen.

Evans would don the super hero outfit again as Captain America, a much better ‘re-launch’ of his super hero cred in 2011, and with one Capt. America and Avengers film under his belt with another Capt. America releasing this year, it’s safe to say that Evans has found his final destination in the Marvel universe.

Ben Affleck is the new Batman [USA Today] batman daredevil

Ben Affleck will replace Christian Bale as Batman in the highly anticipated Batman-Superman movie that’s scheduled to be released on July 17, 2015.

Affleck, 41, will star opposite Henry Cavill’s Superman in the as-yet-untitled film, which was unveiled in July at Comic-Con. It’s a sequel to this summer’s Man of Steel, a re-imagining of the superhero’s origin story that also starred Cavill and has pulled in more than $650 million worldwide since its June release, according to The Wrap.

I’m not saying these choices are bad, (though a couple of them are cause for some concern..ahem, Ben Affleck and Johnny Depp) but when casting calls when out are we serious that there were absolutely NO other talented and qualified candidates?

Give some of these younger go-getters that chance. I like the seasoned old-timers, but damn…