Classic Films, Uncategorized

Movie Review: Hidden Figures

First Thoughts:

Love the title of this film, such a play on words.  “Hidden”, unknown.  “Figures”, as the women in the film are experts in math and numbers.  And “figures” as in notable persons.

Story:

The film covers several themes which I found fascinating.  I’ve always loved NASA’s early space program and even what they’re accomplishing now, regardless of government cut-backs they still make something happen:  flyby of Saturn, discoveries on Pluto, and landing on the Moon often which no nation has yet accomplished.

But the historic backdrop is blurred by the underlying racial prejudice of those times, in the South, in the state of Virginia.

Separate sections in the library for whites and “coloreds”.  Separate bathrooms, waterfountains, busses, etc. etc.  This was in the 1960s as Dr. King was calling for equal rights among all races.

The characters in our play are confronting these sitauations daily and it’s fascinating watching them counteract each, as their counterparts tell them that “that’s the way it is!”

The film is based on actual occurrences.

The acting was superb.  The personal sidenotes, such as the proposal of a man to one of the ladies was cute and you’re pretty cold-hearted if you shed no tear!

Final Thoughts:

If you want to see why the USA’s space program, after many failures, finally beat the Russians and achieved winning the Space Race, and how a prejudiced South was not enough to dissuade three amazing Black women in overcoming these obstacles, pick this up!

DVD has great features and is a must-watch.

Highly Recommended.

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Fantasy/Horror Films, Science Fiction Movies

Mini Review:Ex Machina

Ex Machina is an R rated film due to lots of nudity and a bit of knife-weilding.  So far so good.

A Bill Gates wannabe picks one of his own employees, Caleb, and sends him to a private island where the development of actual operational androids appear.

Some critics have called it “boring” — you know, the kind of critic who watches five minutes, zones out and writes ‘boring’ on an Amazon.com review — but it’s far from that, although a bit disappointing.

If you watch carefully, the writing is really well done.  Hints are dropped at the beginning, such as mentioning the inventor is God and that the (spoiler) android Ava turns on her creator.  Frankenstein reference.

Or when the inventor mentions we will be seen as we see ancient Man and then how the ending wraps up is comical if thought-provoking.

Caleb is caught in the middle.  Should he trust the inventor?  Should he go along with the android’s desire to escape?  You as the audience root for Caleb and Ava, but at the end you find your desire somewhat displaced.

Interested?

I picked up the Blu Ray and it has some special features, but the movie I felt could have ended on a more positive note — on the other hand it ended like it was meant to!

Lots of female nudity, thus the R rating. It’s OK, they’re androids!

Recommended.

 

Uncategorized

Movie Review: Rogue One, Putting the War BACK into Star Wars!

First Thoughts:

I already knew a bit of the plot, but it is great to see new characters and new adventures that wrap up the what and the why of how someone “gets” to be a Rebel, why you’d want to and how sometimes it’s a one-way journey!

The story is a positive one:  a girl who loses her family at an early age discovers her father is an Imperial Engineer in the construction of the dreaded Death Star.  These events happen while Luke is still hanging out on Tatooine making his moisture farm work.  Who whodathought?

We get some cameos of R2D2 and C3PO and even an unwinnable Rebel battle against the Empire on an Imperial-owned planet, to get the plans (as mentioned in A New Hope).  The graphic violence and characters we’d begun to know all pretty much make the final sacrifice to get the plans to the Princess to make Luke possible.

Overall, an excellent entry in the Star Wars mythos.  Highly recommended! maxresdefault

Comic Books!, Event Photography, Uncategorized

San Francisco Comic Con 09/2016

What Happened?

Since Wondercon bit the dust in 2011 as the premiere Comic Book Convention in San Francisco we have been happily satisfied with the shows coming out of San Jose, Stockton and even Sacramento.

But there comes a time where eBay doesn’t do it, that you want to dive into some great comics deals, check out the cosplayers and have some fun.

Back in September 2016 I went on a Friday, the first convention in San Francisco in some years. In response the place was packed!  I got to see some old buds and made new ones.  Really liked the artist alley and even met some Golden Age of comics artists (those who were young and published in the 1940s) who are now quite elderly but have not lost their spirit.

Of course the cosplayers make the show. They were creative, inspiring and sexy.  I did note they were not all excited to get their photo taken by me, not knowing of course what an amazing cosplay photographer I am.  Hope you agree with that statement.

Tech notes: Didn’t use a flash unit this time as I normally do, and it does show, even with some white balance compensation in Lightroom 6, still not by absolute best work.

Pros: Lots to see and do, great comics deals and great cosplayers.

Cons: The Marriot Hotel at Market and 4th was not the best venue.  The panel rooms were all scattered on other floors and the maps were via iPhone only so if you didn’t have a phone you were stuck.  I really hope they find a better venue next year.

 See you at the San Francisco Comic Con!

http://sanfrancomiccon.com/

 

 

 

Science Fiction Movies, Thrillers

Film Review: Star Trek Beyond!

Star Trek Beyond

First Thoughts:

Loved the opening scenes with the Enterprise getting some docking time at the newest Starbase that fits one million people!

Special effects were great without being overwhelming.  Director Justin Li (Fast & Furious 6) kept the lens flares to minimum.

Chris Pine is growing into his Kirk role.  He really got the Shatner vibe down and adds his own flair to it.

As I have enjoyed in Trek over the last four decades, the character-driven characters, the relationship between Spock & Kirk as they come to grips with not only the possibility of their breaking up and taking other opportunities but also to do the standard save-the-universe story with some original twists.

Details:

Love the details.  What would the 25th century use as phones?  Would they consider our current hard rock music “classical”?  Right down to the make-up, the costumes, the occasional cars & trains, all makes for a world as real as Roddenberry could have envisioned.

It’s a story of revenge, of greed, and of sacrificing others so that you may achieve immortality.  Or so it seems.

Action:

The movie is a bit too fast paced, and gets to the action pretty quick with just a bit of backstory and set-up.  It got a bit too fast for me, so I had to rewind and make sure I didn’t miss anything.  Illusion weaponry and clever dealings with the bad guy makes this a tough world for Kirk!

Final thoughts: 

Tributes to Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin (played Chekov, and recently died in a freak home accident) were touching without being maudlin.  And yes, this film is much better than the other two.  Looking forward to more!