Ruined Phrase – Seven Day Project

We use thousands of different words every day. Maybe even hundreds of thousands. However, every year or so, one phrase is so utterly tied to an idea that that phrase is always going to be associated with that idea for the rest of its modern lifespan. For example, the phrase “set of skills” will always find a spot in American lingo thanks to the film Taken. Others are far more specific to the point that their association only is obvious when you hear the phrase. Try to ask someone if they are talking to you without reverting to a DeNiro voice, for example.

For the next week, I’ll update daily with seven phrases that are ruined for me. I know I tend to pick up projects well outside my scope here, and they prove to be too much. For example, I had tried to write a story a week for a year. The problem with that was, aside from having less and less time to devote to purely writing for a website, was I began creating bad stories for the sake of meeting my goal of 52 stories. From this attempt, a story emerged that is interconnected. Every story posted for that project was related somehow, which at the start was unintentional. To make that project worthwhile and make it less of a babble exercise, I am going to write a fewer stories with the idea that they are all connected tightly. I already have a larger novella length story to connect all the characters together in mind. This allows me to focus on important/interesting stories rather than writing anything and everything. More on that later.

Hope you enjoy the following posts. I think it may be time for a revision to this website. The purpose of it was to serve as a portfolio, but I think now I want it to serve exclusively to my creative and technical writing pursuits.

Until next time.  

2012 in Film: Movies I Have Seen

I like to do this year in review once a year just to cover everything I have seen. I usually avoid immediate reviews because my opinion may be heavily tainted by the audiences. I do not claim to be any sort of authority on movies, but I do enjoy writing enough to get a great deal of pleasure out of doing this reviews.

2012 was a weird year. There were some monumentally big movies and some of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time. There were some major disappointments as well as some huge surprises, but I think it was a positive year in the end. It looks like Hollywood’s economy has rebound just enough to make spending millions upon millions on movies worth it again. I’ll close this with my optimism for 2013.

Gangster Squad was delayed until January, thanks to an act of domestic terror. The Great Gatsby will be out around May, which should prove to be an intelligent take on an American classic. Without any further ado…
2012 in Review

The Devil Inside

I like horror movies. I can’t really explain why, other than I have always been attracted to things that were unsettling and horrible. In fact, of my very few published stories, they are all heavy on the horror elements. One thing I detest is possession movies.

It may be due to the fact that The Exorcist was so good at what it did, or it may be the fact that subsequent possession movies were so bad, but I find the possession trope to be so played out, stupid, and lame. First, no one who is a flat out atheist is ever possessed; only the DEEPLY religious who pray a lot are. The opposition likes to say this is because Satan already has the soul of the atheist, but I call that a cop out. Then, getting over the main element of the film, possession movies really cannot deviate from The Exorcist formula. In The Devil Inside, with its hilarious porno title, a young girl learns of her mother being housed in a mental asylum in the Vatican. She goes to visit her clearly disturbed mother, only to find she is batshit insane. As the movie progresses, Isabella meets two priests who show her, first hand, an exorcism. It goes crazy, the possessed girl knows her name, and I think the fact she had an abortion. Of course, the one of the priests get possessed then eventually Isabella does too.

The problem I had with the movie was the lack of real scares. Everything is photographic in terms of scares other than this one dog barking suddenly that wasn’t even intended to be ominous  Far more egregious is the ending, or lack thereof. The movie, I believe, was way over-budget, and it had to end prematurely. This is evidenced by the fact it ends with a placecard telling you to visit a website for more information about this clearly fake case. I went to the website, and it had no real information that wasn’t at least somewhat expressed in the movie. It also had a message board. When I ripped into the movie, my post was removed. So, the company was making sure only posts that praised this abortion of a horror movie would be seen. It’s a pathetic attempt at marketing.

0/5 – There’s nothing even tangentially redeeming about this movie.

Chronicle

After Cloverfield essentially popularized the found footage genre that was reintroduced to the movie going audience with Blair Witch Project, it was expected that the genre would explode. Paranormal Activity cemented this notion by creating a multimillion dollar draw on about $10k. Thanks to that, we get movies like Chronicle.This movie was god damn awesome. First, the found footage aspect really fit organically. Andrew, the main kid in the movie, pre-super powers, is abused at home and school. To combat that, he films himself. It seems like he is contemplating suicide and made this film part of his long suicide note so that when it’s found after he kills himself, people would understand his life was awful.

Somewhere along the way, he, his cousin, and the class president gain super powers through mysterious circumstances. The powers start small and we watch them grow in their abilities doing things high school kids would do, like playing football in clouds. Andrew starts to show his abilities with the abilities is much more enhanced than anyone else in the group. Andrew’s life as a victim enhances his fall to the dark side of his power, and he goes on a rampage.

The acting is amateurish by design, and I thought the characters were solid and likable. I am genuinely interested in a follow up movie or novel. The breakdown of Andrew was covered very thoroughly, but I’d love to see the origin of their powers as well as the possible fallout such as another person gaining them.

It’s a really short movie, and it feels like a short Youtube film since it moves so fast. There’s no slow parts at all for this pop-corn flick.

4/5 – In a genre that will be supersaturated in no time, it’s wonderful to have a nice movie that tries to reward your attention rather than drag you along like some offenders on this list.

The Woman in Black

Movies like Harry Potter are under-appreciated for a lot of reasons. Yes, the movie was a colossal blockbuster film series, netting everyone involved more money than the GDP of a couple of countries. The problem is every single actor in that film series stands the chance to become typecasted. Nothing is more true for Daniel Radcliff. Other than being the epitome of the Harry Potter look, he has truly become Harry, which could ruin his chances of a film career down the line.

Enter: The Woman in Black. The film is the second major adaption of the novel by the same name. For a fun fact, the original teleplay of the book starred Adrian Rawlins as the main character. Adrian Rawlins is now most famous for playing James Potter, Daniel Radcliff’s father in the Harry Potter series.

The film is a tortured story of a young widower, Arthur Kipps, who is hard up for cash to pay off his various bills. He works for a law firm, and he is given the job to settle an estate. His son, the only thing he really has left after his wife died during childbirth, is left in the care of a nanny while Kipps heads to Eel House Mansion.

Arriving in town, he is given the cold shoulder when he mentions Eel House, until a kind man he had met on the train agrees to bring him there, informing him of the town’s belief that the house is haunted by a child murderer (Hint: it is).

Arthur’s presence seems to awake a scorned mother from the house, causing her to drive children to kill themselves in various ways. Arthur becomes involved with the attack and tries to resolve it all before his son arrives with the nanny.

The visuals for this film are dark to the core. The film is seriously chilling and unsettling as we learn the story behind Eel House. Radcliff does a scary performance as a grieving father who is trying to provide for his son by any means. For a horror film that is clearly a period piece, it does everything right in terms of story pacing. Nearly every scene seeks to build on the story revelation, and being such a short film, there’s no wasted minutes.

4/5 – It was a great horror film that helped Radcliff distance himself from Harry Potter. What he follows up with next will determine if this will be a forgotten step along the way.

21 Jump Street

What the hell?

Okay, so this movie had zero interest from me. Like The Other Guys, it looked like a shitty team odd-couple team up movie, where you knew exactly how it would end. Also, like The Other Guys it went batshit insane and mocked itself often.

One of the funnier scenes in the movie is when creepily thin Jonah Hill shoots things that should explode, they don’t, then he hits something that probably shouldn’t, and it does. The movie is loaded with random hilarious moments like this that make it a solid comedy.

The storyline is actually pretty surprising, and it actually came to fruition when some shitty cops decided to infilitrate a high school, and a 25-year-old female cop seduced a high school senior into buying her pot, then busted him. Fortunately, the movie is much less depressing and evil than that.

4/5 – This surprised me so much, and I really loved it. I know there are rumors of a sequel, and I am looking forward to that.

Hunger Games

I hate contrived love triangles in story lines. More often than not, they are superficially forced into it, and Hunger Games is definitely the personification of this. I also hate stories that are literal rip-offs (see my scathing opinion on Avatar). Hunger Games does this 10-fold with a story I read in college called Battle Royale. If you read the synopses of both stories, it’s hard to tell which is which because the stories are so ridiculously close. The author simply dismissed it as having never read the book, which is a weird statement considering Battle Royale is the quintessential modern dystopian novel. Whatever.

Hunger Games looks like it was filmed by tying a string to a camera, spinning that string at high speeds, and then, stopping it to show the fallout. I can understand what they were aiming for with that choice, but it comes off as sloppy and weird. Most of the action sequences are blurs with nothing really seen until a corpse appears. It was super hard for me to get invested when that was happening.

Visually, the film is pretty good. Where there are colors, they are vibrant and rich, but a lot of the movie is filled with washed out blues and dark lighting for the sake of paralleling the characters’ mindset. When everyone is happy and enjoying things, the colors easily show that, but when shit gets rough, it looks like a depressing war film.

The acting wasn’t acting. Jennifer Lawrence is quickly becoming the next Kristen Stewart where we are forced to believe someone who can barely act and has such few emotional ranges is somehow the hottest and smartest character in this world. She is unrealistically good at everything, like previously mentioned Gapping Fish. She has nearly no flaws in this film, and she is only bested by people being slightly better than her in one avenue only to topple them easily later. Everyone else was super mediocre and forgettable.

The story was really not that interesting to me, again since I have read and seen Battle Royale and this movie has a similar ending. I didn’t really care about a single character in the movie. I didn’t care about the action. And I REALLY didn’t care about the hamfisted love story they added in the closing act. I don’t know if that will continue onward, but meh, I won’t stick around to see.

1.5/5 – I won’t watch this without Rifftrax. I put this in the same category as Twilight.

The Cabin in the Woods

Okay, after saying I loved horror movies, I am well aware some horror movies are just really, really bad lately. Seeing the trailer for this, I assumed the same. I even ran into a guy who said he was excited about it, and his reasoning was “It looks gory.” K.

About 2 seconds into the movie, I realize that this was a great movie. In the same vein as Sam Raimi’s dark comedy, The Cabin in the Woods is a film that mocks all the classic horror movie tropes, keeps the scenarios light and fun, and tells a VERY compelling story.

A lot of people criticize the final act where everything goes batshit insane, and I disagree. I think that was part of the horror trope mocking. In most horror movies, we have Act 1 where we meet the villains and the heroes. In this movie, we do exactly that. In Act 2, the villains act on the heroes, and the heroes react to that. In the final act, the hero strikes against the villain. This formula exists in nearly every slasher movie from Texas Chainsaw Massacre to Friday the Thirteenth to Nightmare on Elm Street to HalloweenCabin in the Woods set the parameters to stay within those tropes, so it HAD to perform the final chaotic act, and it did it its own way. My serious only complaint is that it was way too short. I need more now.

5/5 – This is a candidate for my top 5 movies of all time. I don’t think I have ever laughed that hard in a movie theater.

The Avengers

I tend to enjoy most comic book movies. Generally, lately that is, they are solid films. They focus a lot on character development, and the story works to develop this character in a way that you can get behind solidly.

The Avengers is the first of its kind. It is a movie that was developed over about 6 films (Iron Man, Iron Man 2, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America, and Thor), and has taken characters from all six and dumped them into one team-up film. One thing I loved is the fact they waste zero time re-explaining things we missed. A lot of the information in the movie is assumed, which allows the movie the full 2 and half hours to develop this particular story.

One shocking and ostensibly disappointing change is Mark Ruffalo taking over Bruce Banner from Edward Norton. I love Edward Norton, and I thought he did a great job in The Incredible Hulk. I like Mark Ruffalo too, so I was apprehensive about this change. In the end, Ruffalo became the star of the film. He was the perfect disciplined while tortured Hulk that was really believable in his role.  His Hulk was very different from Edward Norton’s despite both being CGI and voiced by the original Hulk, Lou Ferigno.

The movie overall did a lot right, but it was a heavily loaded film. The first half of the film is about The Avengers, mostly Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man, fighting between themselves and not really being good partners. Once again, I cannot explain how shocking it is that this movie worked because that aspect, the fact that three very big and important characters had to share the screen seems so hard. Iron Man alone has had 2 movies with a third coming just around his character, and Thor and Hulk are getting sequels already. These are franchise characters dumped into a single film, and I never felt overwhelmed with the results.

The humor in the movie is quite good and fits the comic book feel. The story is easily open for more additions in The Avengers series, and I think, while Loki was a weak villain, he managed to really command the film powerfully.

4/5 – Another solid film this year, and I think this was kind of expected. It was a project with a lot of hard work, and it paid off immensely.

Men in Black 3

This review will be a bit shorter. I, like a lot of 90s kids, love Will Smith. I think Fresh Prince of Bel Air sold him to us, then he did Independence Day, which is the quintessential 90s sci-fi film. Essentially, he cannot do anything wrong by me.

I loved Men in Black when it first was released in theaters. It was a silly, intriguing film that was able to integrate the comedy elements flawlessly. Men in Black 2 was a bit derivative, but it still worked good enough.

This film has Agent J (Will Smith) going back in time to save his partner Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones) who was erased from history. J meets a young Agent K (played perfectly by Josh Brolin) and works with him throughout the film in the past. They have a lot of fun with the time difference, and the ending is actually a bit heart-breaking and endearing.

You know what you are getting when you go into this one, and it was fitting for the series.

3.5/5 – If you liked the other two movies, this one fits the format. It’s a bit mindless but still entertaining.

Prometheus

Sci-Fi movies tend to be like horror movies, especially Sci-Fi Horror. Prometheus is the spiritual (and almost direct) prequel to Alien. It has had a lot of mix reactions, and I think the negative reactions are misguided and wrong.

The movie starts exactly where it wants: a random, pale man shattering into DNA after consuming a black liquid. It is heavily implied that this creature is what started evolution on Earth, making him God. After a few million years later, a group of scientists are searching for aliens that influenced Earth’s life, i.e. this first man, who they dub the Engineers.

Thanks to advanced technology, the science team goes to a proposed planet of the Engineers. After exploring the planet, the team discovers various hazards and enemies of the planet. Through a series of backstabs, the Engineers are shown to actually be our originators, but their reasons for creating us are unknown, and it is shown that we serve as incubation devices for the iconic Xenomorph of the Alien series.

The acting is a bit all over the place. It’s far from perfect, but a lot of people are ridiculously believable and disturbing in their roles. Michael Fassbender’s David, the android is PERFECT. He is terrifying as a robot and is able to emote perfectly well for my liking. The cinematography was weird and precise. There are repeated images of Jesus metaphors and evisceration  It is a grizzly movie for sure, and it makes me really question what it means to be human, particularly with David.

4/5 – Again, this movie was REALLY solid. It will polarize people for sure, which is a sign of a great movie. It has a lot of unpacking to do to really understand most of the scenes, which makes it a rewarding movie for many viewings.

Ted

Prefacing this now: I fucking HATE Family Guy. The show should have died a fiery death, and from what I’ve heard, Seth McFarlane agrees. Shows like American Dad show that McFarlane is capable of making a smart comedy that builds on story rather than setting up stupid side jokes that are offensive for the sake of being offensive.

Ted breaks that mold. Nothing in the movie is done solely for the set up of a joke, rather jokes come from the things naturally. Ted is a magic talking bear. As Mark Wahlberg grows up, and Ted experiences a rise and fall of celebrity status, they both become virtual losers. Markie Mark works a job he obviously hates, and Ted gets high and drunk a lot since he has no money after losing his status as a celebrity after various arrests.

In this story, Markie Mark is dating the goddess Mila Kunis, who is on the verge of leaving him because he is unreliable and unwilling to grow up because of Ted. Through this, Markie leaves Ted behind like a bad rap career, and grows with Mila. There’s a kidnapping storyline, and Markie and Mila realize how important Ted is. Ted and Markie make up and grow up together.

It’s a Seth McFarlane comedy, so it’s going to have irreverent and inappropriate jokes everywhere. The acting for a movie like this is pretty good, and it has Flash Gordon, randomly. I laughed hard, but this is not a movie that takes itself serious, and it shouldn’t. I think I heard Ted 2 is in the works. We’ll see how that works.

3.5/5 – It is a coarse and gross humorous film. I laughed way too hard for the movie at times, but it still has that Family Guy sense of humor backing it, which can be tiring on multiple views. Mark Wahlberg’s range is great, but Seth McFarlane can’t escape his home.

The Amazing Spider-Man

It hasn’t even been a full 5 years, I believe, since Spider-Man 3 came out with Toby McGuire. That series really set into stone what Spider-Man was on the big screen, and it was hard pressed to find a better actor to play Peter Parker. When it was announced that Andrew Garfield would play the eponymous character, I had a lot of reservations. First, Andrew Garfield looks nerdy but only barely. He really fits more of a smart villain role, but it worked out. Secondly, Andrew Garfield is a decently series actor, and Spider-Man tends to err on the side of being quite silly. All of those fears were for naught.

Doing a second origin story in roughly the same decade as the first is risky. People will always compare Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man and a lot will give more credit to the former simply because the latter is newer. I think Batman Begins had this issue going into it.

The Amazing Spider-Man blows those suppositions out the water and torches them to the ground. Peter Parker is a grittier character this time, as expected from a tragic orphan hero. Instead of completely ignoring his parents, this movie uses them to teach Peter who he is. Uncle Ben has a large role in this film with his death being much more painful to watch than in previous iterations of the story, and Peter’s relationship with Gwen Stacy feels awkwardly organic.

The villain this time is Dr. Connors who transforms into the monstrous Lizard. In this movie, the Lizard seeks to change everyone in New York City into what he becomes, and Spider-Man must stop it. In a total change from every super-hero movie in the last 20 years, Spider-Man doesn’t kill Dr. Connors. That’s a spoiler, but this is monumental. In Batman Begins, the movie ends with Batman’s greatest foe, Ra’s al-Ghul dying. In Spider-Man 1 – 3, every single major villain dies, with only the Sandman fading away. Same with Iron Man. It’s just very rare for a superhero movie, especially a designed series, to leave the villain living for the next movie. Dr. Connors will likely play a role down the line in the series, and I am excited to see them build off that built-in animosity.

The movie is really good, and if it had come out a few months earlier, it would probably have been a box office hit, but it came out 3 weeks before The Dark Knight Rises. Hopefully, the next installment will be smarter.

4.5/5 – It’s a really solid superhero film that tries to personify a character, who like Batman, was born through the loss of his family. The acting is really solid and chilling at points, and the action is exciting and on-point.

The Dark Knight Rises

Uhh, okay, so I was hyped up for this movie since The Dark Knight ended. Hearing Bane would be the villain topped my enthusiasm off the charts.

The film got a lot of flack. It wasn’t as good as The Dark Knight, but honestly, very little will be. This film did have some stuff that was way better. In TDK, Christian Bale coasted through the entire film while Heath Ledger commanded most of the scenes. In this film, it was totally different. We were introduced pretty late into the first Act the older, crippled Bruce Wayne, 8 to 10 years retired as Batman. Things aren’t great though.

Bruce has become a recluse since Rachael Dawes was blown up by the Joker, and his company is bleeding money. Also, a new villain has hit Gotham City in the form of Bane. Forced back under the mantle, Bruce has to undergo a transformation as he returns to a new world.

Inevitably, he encounters Bane, who beats him in hand-to-hand combat, and breaks his back in the EXACT SAME MANNER AS THE COMIC BOOK. It was a huge comic fanboy moment for me as Bane lifted Bruce in the air and brought him down hard.

The ending is the perfect ending to the series: Bruce has his own finale, and the story can still continue without him, if necessary. There’s no finality in the movie, but it closes the book on a majority of the characters.

4.75/5 – I saw this movie twice in theaters, and I would gladly go again. It has that Nolan scene in every movie of his where things don’t make perfect sense for a single scene or two, but the acting is superb, and the writing was the perfect comic book film. It’s no The Dark Knight, but it was well worth my money.

Premium Rush

When I watched the previews, I could have sworn this was a film adaptation of the video game Paperboy. It looked ridiculous, and fortunately, it was… in a good way.

The movie follows Joseph Gordon Levitt as a bike delivery guy in New York City. He loves riding, he hates the concept of work, and he is fine with this being his entire life. In the movie, we follow him after he has taken a package that places him in front of a gambling addicted crooked cop, with A LOT of debts.

Going in, I didn’t expect much, but it seemed like a cool popcorn flick, and when the Triads were added to it along with a few scenes making fun of itself, I was thoroughly entertained. It’s along the same lines as Wanted, where you understand what you are getting a few minutes in, and I love that in a film like this.

3/5 – Totally a film to just sit back, enjoy, and not analyze. It’s pretty funny, and the story line is interesting.

Dredd

I can vaguely remember Judge Dredd from the 90s, but I can remember a lot of people hated it. Having not gone deep into the comics beyond a basic dossier of the character, I know this movie did a great job with Dredd.

The movie is dark, graphic, pretty, and entertaining. It’s a popcorn flick to the X power, but I think people will discredit it too much for that. The villainess is able to stand toe-to-toe with a virtual god-cop, and it is extremely believable. They use of slow motion camera work really drives home the brutality of the film.

3.5/5Dredd is a short film that will probably be forgotten in a year. It’s a really cool look at this dark world, and the characters go balls-to-the-wall in nearly every action scene.

Looper

When I had first seen the trailer for the movie, it looked really neat. When I saw a second trailer, I swear Joseph Gordon Levitt had make-up that he did not have before. I looked it up, and the make-up was done to make him look like a man that could possibly grow up to be Bruce Willis. That alone deserves a lot of respect and recognition.

The movie follows a Looper, a hitman who kills people from the future and disposes of the body in the past. A loop is closed when the Looper kills himself from the future. In this story, JGL is unable to kill himself before future him escapes. The movie shows of a future ruled by mafiosos who use time travel as a means to eliminate their enemies.

Other than being filmed in my hometown and being extremely obvious, the film does a great job with a future-looking setting without going too off the rails. JGL’s character is from about 2044, whereas Willis is only 30 years later. Realistically, technology won’t be drastically different, and the movie reflects that.

The movie has a huge obstacle though in making a time travel movie that can work. For a sci-fi flick, I think it did that very well. The acting from Emily Blunt, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Bruce Willis was really well done and worthwhile. Jeff Bridges’ character, while really short in his screen time, really created a character that is intriguing on his own.

4/5 – It’s a solid film that got a lot of flack by people dissecting the science behind a science fiction film. There was nothing wrong with the movie at all, other than a few story decisions (not delving too much into the future for example, while being a fairly short film seemed weird).

Pitch Perfect

The movie Glee has tried to be for X seasons.

Anna Kendrick adorables her way into an acapella group at a college. The group sings a bunch of pop hits, and I believe everyone sings and dances themselves.

The story line is a complete throwaway in that it’s a teen love story flick where the nerdy guy gets the ridiculously hot girl.

There’s a lot of hilarious one-liners, but the movie was pretty stupid and poorly acted for the most part. The music is really good, but I wish it would have been just an hour and half of them singing songs rather than trying to do that dumb story.

2/5 – Meh.

Sinister

Horror film.

Going in, I thought it would be a stupid, campy horror film. Parts of it definitely are, but it was a dark and solid film like The Woman in Black.

The movie follows a true-crime author who is reviled by a lot of people for his books, along with his admirers. He decides to move into a house where a family was found dead, and he believes his next novel is there. After finding a box of video tapes, he learns the family was lynched on a tree in the backyard, and one of the daughters is missing, but the killer filmed the entire thing (along with others). As the film progresses, he begins to see a figure that seems to be recurring in all the murder videos.

The story goes from dark to insane as twists are unraveled. The movie doesn’t hold back punches with regards to some of the kills, but I don’t want to spoil how that works.

The acting is really interesting because everyone has a sense of unease in nearly every scene. There were a lot of stupid things like the author hearing a noise in his house, and instead of turning all lights on immediately, so he could actually see what the sound would, he walks around the dark house with no lights. It was still entertaining, and I would highly recommend it.

3/5 – The movie is REALLY intense in its imagery, and the acting is really good for a horror film. It is a bit contrived at parts, and there are a lot of decisions made solely for the purpose of scaring the audience rather than being logical, but it is better than most horror films that came out in the last few years.

Paranormal Activity 4

Like with Dexter, I have an abusive relationship with Paranormal Activity. I loved Paranormal Activity 1. It was vastly different from any American horror movie at the time, and it was made on a shoestring budget that allowed it to not be drenched in effects. It was a tight little horror film that had a beginning, middle, and end and got the fuck out of it.

Paranormal Activity 2 was an abortion of a film. Taking everything that made the first good, discarding that, then repeating all those good parts ad nausem got old fast. The third entry was okay because they went back to story development.

This film was out of this world fucktarded. It follows some teenage girl who has a ton of web cams or some shit and is freaked out by her neighbor’s creepy as fuck child. It turns out her adopted brother is actually the son of the family from the second movie, and the demon-possessed Katie comes for the child for god knows what reason.

The most enraging part of this movie is it was sold as the final chapter/the most important part this movie series. It ends with nothing revealed. We have no idea why this kid was so important, nor do we have any idea why the fuck does a demon-possessed woman have a kid. I wanted to shout at a wall in frustration. The only legitimately scary scene for me was when the dumbass teen girl decides to search for her dad and brother in the house with the creepy kid and Katie in PITCH FUCKING BLACKNESS, only to turn around and see Katie waiting at the end of the hallway, start running and screaming at the teen girl, then her face contorts to a demon’s face. It was kinda cool looking, and things charging at the screen has scared me since Pet Semetary. The last scene, for some reason, has the teen girl confronted by seriously over 100 girls with demon faces staring at her, she turns to flee, only to have Demon-Faced Katie attack her and take the stupid kid away.

0/5 – Fuck this series.

Cloud Atlas

I loved every single trailer I saw for Cloud Atlas. I loved the hype around it, and going in, I knew it would a weird film. In the end, it was a glorious film that I think will be the type that I will show people as something they need to experience.

The problem with the film was the narrative. It jumps from MANY different characters and stories, which is great, but the languages change, and in some ways, it’s hard to even follow what is happening. That really hinders and already complex story line, that I think made it inaccessible for a large portion of the audience.

Hugh Grant was a juggernaut in his roles in this movie, but Hugo Weaving shocked me so much. He was fantastic in literally every single role. He was the perfect villain in every era, even as a woman.

I hate that this movie didn’t do well in the box office. It was long, but it was so damn good that it saddens me that the movie won’t get any recognition for its work. I doubt it will get much more than a nomination for make-up, which is a shame because that’s the best chance it had for a second life.

4.5/5 – This is a film that will be fun to unpackage for years. Each storyline could be its own movie if separated and fleshed out at all. That is so hard to do, much less do it well, and Cloud Atlas did it well.

Skyfall

Jesus. I felt sucker punched after watching this movie. The third film in the Daniel Craig James Bond series, Skyfall really goes to a dark place and fast.

James, growing older, is believed dead after a mistake from another agent. He recovers from his injuries and returns to duty after MI-6’s headquarters are blown up. The explosion was done by former MI-6 Agent, Silva, played perfectly by Javier Bardem. James is forced to face against an agent trained the way he was.

Silva and Bond’s rivalry spans all over the world, ending at Bond’s home farm of Skyfall. The final act of the film is a tortured piece for all the characters involved, and the action is fascinating and great.

The movie is just solid, and while I loved Casino Royale a lot, I think this movie just barely edges it out. It’s a shame that thanks to MGM’s issues, there will only be one more Daniel Craig James Bond film.

5/5 – This film just made me happy to be in a theater. I would watch it every day for a year and still find things to new about it.

Movies I wanted to see but never had the chance:

  1. Red Tails
  2. The Grey
  3. Safehouse
  4. Rampart(!)
  5. John Carter
  6. Brave (sorta)
  7. Savages
  8. Iron Sky
  9. Killer Joe
  10. Seven Psychopaths
  11. Silent Hill: Revelation
  12. The Man with the Iron Fists
  13. Hitchcock
  14. Les Miserables
  15. Django Unchained

And that’s that for 2012. Like I said, it was a great year overall. Some of the solid movies were some serious contenders to my Top 10 list, which is always a sign of a positive year in film. Now, I will take questions, but please keep it related to Rampart only.

Remee Update

Been a bit busy since last update to prevent me from having a solid night sleep. Last night, I wore the mask, and my recall was heightened noticeably. The mask works in regards to that.

Nothing more to report for now.

Weekend Updates

Already got behind because the last two night were hectic. Saturday night was a Christmas party at a friend’s house, which went late. Last night, I was awakened by my sick cat. Anyway, I should be good tonight.

Night 3
Went to sleep late and woke up before the lights went off. I gave up after that.

Night 4
Woke up a bunch after a good deal of vivid dreams. Forgot dreams after cat woke me.

Here’s a contribution, though:

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Front of Mask


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Back of Mask


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Innards


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Front of Box


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Back of Box


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Quick Start


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Full Instructions

Day 2 with Remee: Early Success

On my second day of owning Remee, I have successfully had my first lucid dream.

Nap 1
I laid in bed with Remee in nap-mode. I am extremely sleep deprived, so I can feel my body falling asleep quickly. I am in a dream where my wife and I are on the sofa, and I mention I am about to nap. She says I should get my Remee, and I said “Oh, I’m wearing it.” And she says, “that must mean you are dreaming,” and I say, “Yep.”

So, while Remee’s goal of using flashing lights did not get me my first lucid with the mask, the very wearing of it did.

Night 2
No lucid dreams, but I had a lot of very vivid dreams I recalled during the bulk of my sleeping. I woke up and removed Remee because I knew it was getting late in the night, and I had a few more vivid moments.

Tomorrow, I will include pictures of Remee, the box, and the instructions.

Remee Lucid Dreaming Mask

After my failed attempts with the Calea Zataechichi tincture (link), I laid off most aids for a bit until the Remee I had ordered in July came in. Yesterday was that day.

With this thread, I want to review Remee over the course of a month. Since lucid aids like this require a lot of practice to test their effacy, I want to give it a solid month to try it out.

Pre-Use Review
Remee comes in a small, nice-looking black cardboard box that is just barely bigger than the device. It’s designed cleanly and it gives you a load of information while looking quite sleek. It’s the type of package I could see being in stores everywhere.

Opening the box, you have two items inside: a small folded manual and Remee. The manual is a single double-sided page. One is a quick start guide that tells you how to get started right now, while the other side is a bit deeper. Since I write manuals for a living, I scanned this manual quickly and closely. There were a few areas for improvement, but I think without my editor’s eye, it will serve everyone perfectly fine. Remee is really simple to use because it just has two switches: a power switch and a selection switch. To use Remee for the night, you just need to turn it on. The settings save between uses, and it will go to sleep after 10 seconds waiting for the default 4.5 hours to alert you. If you want to change the brightness, you press the selection button once. If you want to change to sleep mode, you hold it for 4 seconds, or if you want to program it, you hold it for 10 seconds. If you want to test your pattern, you double click. That’s it. It’s a very easy to use and intuitive designed device in terms of making it easy to use and sleep.

The device itself is the epitome of custom design. I ordered red, which is more of a beautiful burnt orange. The color does look really nice and crisp. What shocked me most is how light the device is. It really feels just like a normal sleep mask. There’s no weight at all from the panel inside. I like this a lot since I used to own the REM Dreamer, and it was awful to sleep with because it was so heavy and bulky (for a sleep mask). 

From that topic, sleeping with Remee was ridiculously comfortable. It, again, just felt like I was going to sleep with a blackout mask. That’s the goal of masks like this – to help you sleep quickly and easily and awake you later. Other devices seem to forget that first part.

I haven’t programmed it yet, and I probably won’t until Night 14. Before receiving Remee, I’ve been doing reality checks based on the color red in preparation of my dreams having that color more and more.

Night 1
Nothing lucid, but I had a lot more vivid dreams that I recalled clearly, but I didn’t have time to write them down. Considering I’ve been sleep deprived for the last week, and the fact that I went to sleep late and have been having spotty recall, I give credit to Remee for this increase in recall.

Acer Has Been Added to the List

I am the type who doesn’t like to waste money. I am still driving the car I received as a present in high school, despite it being in a position where a replacement is justified. I kept broken glasses long past their usage limit, and I try to keep all my books in presentable condition.

Because of this, I am always reluctant to replace items that still work, especially relatively new items. A little over a year ago (maybe a year and half), I bought an Acer Inspire after my MacBook was rendered inoperable without a disc drive. My wife uses it just fine, but I wanted to upgrade to the latest version, and I couldn’t. So, after Apple said I would have to spend A LOT to replace, I bought a nice cheap laptop, and all was fine.

About two or three months ago, I noticed the first flaw: it was getting really hot. I installed a nifty widget on Ubuntu that allowed me to view my temperatures, and I saw it climb to over 92 degrees Celsius. That’s really bad. I took the battery out, and that helped for a while, but it returned. After that, I would have periods of frequent freezing which made watching videos impossible. I like to watch Youtube speeches and ideas, but when I can barely make it through a video, that severely hinders my productivity. It also makes writing this blog now quite hard as I suddenly cannot see what I am typing. So, against my internal frustrations, I purchased an ASUS.

I am just really getting bummed that Acer, a once reputable company, can not build a solid laptop that would last about 2 years. Are we getting to a point in our society where everything is so disposable that we can accept this?

I’ll post a review on that new computer once I get Linux and everything set up and playing for a week.

Blog 1 of 2: Updates on Stories

After finally editing stories 5 through 7, they are now posted in the reading section. I am going to back publish stories 8 through 16, which is due today. Now, that I have a good job lined up, I think I can focus my leisure time to writing and continuing this project.

As mentioned, I plan to wrap up a group of stories into an eBook which will serve as my donation issue should you like the stories offered. I am also working on publishing and republishing more of The Lake Chronicles before I continue writing future episodes. I think I have episode 1 – 3 complete, and Episode 2 was published leaving me with a little work left to do to hit that goal.

The next blog post will be an actual post about my new job and computer I just purchased, so I will try to keep these site updates spare.

Until then.

It’s Been A While

Well, here I am after a long time of neglecting this site. It’s funny, despite being in a technical field (Technical Writing as it were), I am still subject to the same nuisances that comes with art: mood dominants my productivity. After procuring new employment, I am feeling a fresh vigor to improve this site, submit some stories, and work on my novel.

I wish this productivity could have carried on a bit while I was unemployed, but the way my brain works is if I am not doing something that works towards my current goal (in this case, it was finding work), then I am wasting time/being unproductive, so it blocks me off from that creative well until I could satiate that craving.

My immediate goals (as in by next Friday) are to catch up with all the stories that I have neglected to do each week. This will be a bit of work, but I think I can pull it off or come close enough to count. By then, I should be close to compiling my first eBook, which is when I wanted to do my advertising for this site and my projects. In order to really benefit from that, I need to flesh out more non-fiction writing. I think I will aim for that goal to be around next weekend as well. After that, we’ll see what happens.

Thanks for reading.

Story of the Week Update

I have completed two of my three backlogged stories. My reader, my lovely wife, didn’t get the chance to give me some good feedback before I posted these two lost stories. My goal now is to publish four by Sunday night at 7PM EST. I won’t promise anything, but if I can reach that goal, then I will be back on task.