Thursday October 18th, 2018 22:24 A modest proposal

In: Anime, Music/Movies/TV, OtherNo Comments

Sunday April 8th, 2018 13:55 Stop overrating “A Quiet Place”

quiet

I’ll admit up front that the first half of this new sci-fi thriller is brilliantly done. The tension and lack of dialogue came across thick, akin to 2009’s The Road or 2013’s All Is Lost. Non-recent references would include the eerie quiet of some sections in The Holy Mountain, the close-quarters of Albino Alligator or the heaviness of existential dread in the (superior remake of) Cape Fear.

But even in the midst of that brilliance, they tipped their hand by showing the mother of the group to be pregnant.

A family that meticulously constructed a soundproof basement, alarm system, hidden food storage and laid miles worth of sound-dampening sand – all, apparently, without making so much as the minor toy-bleep noise that caused their son’s near-instantaneous death – have decided it’s a great idea to bring a newborn to this party.

Are you kidding me?

And once they cued the inevitable ‘dad’s out while monsters make it into the house and mom’s giving birth all at the same time’ nonsense, they had the gall to make that tropish garbage even worse by having the mom hide away, only to silently emerge with a bouncing baby boy 90 seconds later.

I’m no parent or expert on childbirth, but it takes me longer than that to pee in the morning. Producing a watermelon-sized mammal seems like it’d take more time.

There’s also the bit about the daughter having her common sense glands removed when it takes her 4 total tries to figure out that the painful feedback from her cochlear implant perfectly coincides with the monsters running away. This, while her character was clearly smart enough – at least earlier in the film when it was convenient – to have figured that out immediately.

Lastly, what little monster logic was presented flew out the window the second anyone started explaining things.

There’s the comically-simplistic whiteboard shown in the background of basement shots. A list of strengths and weaknesses that might well have been the product of a middle-school group-project brainstorming session.

I can’t recall the exact wording, but one of them proclaimed that the monsters hunted by sound. This fact warranted being written in large letters, lest anyone forget, despite that the toilet-rag NY Post ran it as a banner headline that was prominently shown in the first scene…or that they built an entire farm around that fact.

Pretty sure we got that one. Maybe jot down something the entire remaining human population doesn’t know?

Then there’s the fact that a total lack of sight (besides being an overdone baddie trait) completely changes all the previous encounters.

The monster knew, when the toy space shuttle went off in the soon-slain son’s hands, not to attack the toy itself, but the area just beside the toy where the human would be. We know this because the toy is still around to lay at his memorial site, months later, completely intact.

For those who haven’t seen it: these monsters are at least twice the size of a grown human, and the toy was a dollar-store special you could break by looking at it the wrong way.

How did the monster know a human was holding it? How does the monster differentiate between human-made sounds and nature-made sounds (take a trip to the country – nature is bloody loud)? If it can distinguish, why is the waterfall a magical place of therapeutic yelling?

Then the bigger questions:

How many of these monsters are around such that any sound anywhere means instant death? Is this such a dumb beast that an entire family can walk on pre-defined sand paths for years on end without a pattern being noticed? Is this a worldwide event, making any available shelter equally valuable/practical? If so, why is it hard to raise someone on a shortwave radio – which are unusual but not at all rare? Did they somehow attack relay antennas or broadcast wide-band interference? If so, how did it take more than a week to think of disruptive waves as a weapon, let alone a year before it happened by accident?

That last one is a golden nerd-hero opportunity, and neither nerds nor geeks miss those.

Long story short (oh, how I wish it was), they were doing so well for about 45 minutes, only to succumb to cheap convenience in the next 45.

And the former does not make up for the latter.

In: Music/Movies/TVNo Comments

Thursday February 22nd, 2018 15:26 Cisco Easter Egg

Just poking around at IP phones today when I ran across this device:

2018-02-22 15_22_55-Cisco IP Conference Phone 8832 - Cisco

If you look real close, you will see that the person they are calling is none other than:

Neu im Kino: TragikomĖ†die "Rushmore" mit Jason Schwartzman

That is all.

In: Computers, Music/Movies/TV, OtherNo Comments

Sunday January 14th, 2018 02:02 Some men are unsalvageable

As is obvious from my previous post, I recently went to see The Last Jedi.

But as a rational human who doesn’t hate or disparage people for the happenstance of naturally-occurring chromosomes, it had never occurred to me to think that anyone would see that film as particularly feminist, let alone have a problem with it.

I mean, I know there are several characters that have vaginas and everything, and a few of those were in positions of power at that point in the storyline. Yet at no point did it encroach upon anything that seemed like a director or writer going out of their way to make a woman more prominent than the story called for*.

As such, it surprised the hell out of me to learn that some jackass made a cut of that movie called (couldn’t make this up): “The Last Jedi: De-Feminized Fanedit (aka The Chauvinist Cut)”

And…

wtf_mate_chan

I tracked this down – if you want to, feel free. I’m not linking to this garbage – and, Bless His Noodly Appendage, it’s everything it sounds like and more. A sample of the description:

– No whiny/reluctant/murderous psycho Luke.
– NO HALDO! She simply doesn’t exist. Her whole subplot doesn’t exist. The Kamikaze is carried out by Poe. ( = Poe dies.)
– Leia never scolds, questions nor demotes Poe.
– Lea dies. Kylo kills her.

– Phasma is finished after the first blow by Finn. (Women are naturally weaker than men, she isn’t force-sensitive, and we know nothing about any exo-skeleton in her suit)
– Asian chick speaks less, doesn’t bully Finn, Finn doesn’t try to escape, she is never formally introduced. She is just there and occasionally smiles at Finn or screams “Finn!”. She has no sister. Serves her right for all the heinous stuff she did.

Aside: just then, I had a lot of trouble copying and pasting. My own computer doesn’t want to see that shit

Not-so-Aside: The “asian chick” is named Rose. Hers was not a good character, but she has a name, you racist, misogynist twat. You only noticed her because Kelly Marie Tran was so good they made what was originally a throwaway character into something more. I might not like the end product either, but my opinion is incapable of changing how good she is at her job.

As I said before, I’m not a big fan of this film. But I just became a very big fan of someone kicking this douchebag in the nuts.

Like, hard enough so he can no longer breed, if you please.

The traditional parlance would suggest I say it ‘takes a lot of balls’ to do something like this. I disagree.

It in fact takes a distinct lack of balls, as any real man would not only barely notice the completely uncontroversial and entirely realistic female presence in this film, but would never be offended on any level – certainly not at a level that they felt the need to waste their precious time on this earth (apologies to the word ‘precious’ there) cutting up a handycam recording of a movie such that it got rid o’ them uppity wimmins.

You make all men look bad, and you’re out of the club, asshole. You’ve been demoted to ‘testicular cancer’ status; seems appropriate for a cancer upon us all who stains the name of those whose happenstance of naturally-occurring chromosomes forces us to share the trait of having testicle.

*Clarification: Ain’t a damn thing wrong with a director or writer going out of their way to make a woman or women a prominent part of their story. But it does bother me when they do so in a way that makes it stand out like someone is shoehorning a female character into a position that combats the logical flow of a story. It’s counterproductive to both the film and (what I assume is an earnestly good version of) the intended impact. If you have to do that, your story is flawed. A character worth shoehorning should have been better written into the story to begin with, and you might just need to start over. Same goes for non-white characters.

In: Music/Movies/TV, News, PoliticsNo Comments

Wednesday January 10th, 2018 10:42 Taking a stance on porgs

It’s an incredibly unpopular idea, but I must officially say: fuck porgs.

porgs

Now, before someone lights my ass on fire: yes, I think they’re adorable and awesome and in any other context, I’d be typing while sitting on a human-sized porg pillow right now.

But the big problem with The Last Jedi is that it couldn’t decide if it wanted to take itself seriously.

They threw out some incredibly heavy shit in that movie:

  • Kylo having to decide whether or not to kill his own mother
  • Really, almost everything that happens to Kylo
  • Luke damn near killing his own apprentice – which was an amazing parallel to his father’s actions
  • Multiple decisions involving the sacrifice of hundreds of members of the dwindling resistance

In the middle of all that, if they just had some cute, funny porgs popping up a few times, it would have been perfect to relieve some of the tension. Instead, we also got:

  • Little orphan slave kids
  • BB-8
  • Rose
  • Fathiers
  • Vulptex
  • Luke, Finn, Poe, and DJ cracking entirely unnecessary jokes, some using modern-era idioms they couldn’t possibly have known
  • That weird little fat thing in the casino
  • The Caretakers
  • Chewy feeling bad about eating a porg (Seriously, he already killed it, plucked/skinned it and cooked it. Not to mention he’s a Wookie.)

Some of those participated in the heavy stuff, and, individually, I’m on board with everything in that list.

But damned if having all that didn’t make me cringe in expectation of another gag being thrown in at an inappropriate time.

Never was that feeling worse than that badass scene with Luke walking out in front of an entire Imperial walker division. The shoulder brush tested the waters, but was subtle enough to be okay. I deeply feared they’d completely ruin that one.

So, long story short: fuck porgs.

Unless you’ve got an extra one I can take home.

In: Music/Movies/TVNo Comments

Tuesday January 2nd, 2018 16:43 First thoughts of the new year

I was configging a workstation on the Dell site, just to see what the price would be, when I noticed that selecting the ‘no mouse’ option enabled the following spec code:

nomse

And now, all I can think about is this:

Perhaps 2018 will be an improvement.

In: Computers, Music/Movies/TV, OtherNo Comments

Friday September 29th, 2017 15:00 25 years too early

For whatever unholy reason, I’m still on Epitaph’s presser list, even though I haven’t written a single published graf in a decade. But I’m not going to be the one to take myself off, lest I miss learning about things like Propagandhi finally releasing a new album.

It’s been many, many years since I paid them much attention. In my reactive return to the album that made them instant punk legends, it did strike me how this little ditty was true in its time, but has never been more so than now:

(for those less adept at translating this type of vocal barrage)

Mark your point of failing. It begins where you concede.
Hesitate. Procrastinate. Sedating.
All configured to impede your path.
You need a good kick in the ass.
Now take a step back and have a long hard look.
Hold it to the light and read it like a book.
Analyze the past and present to see what is to come.
Now wrap your lips around the barrel of the gun.
Mark my point of failing. It began where I gave in.
Comfort. Convenience. Placating.
Construed to suck me in, to their trap.
I need a good kick in the ass.
As time passed I realized we don’t need rules to survive.
Just common sense and means to subsist.
So from here on in I will resist.
I’ve finally realized. I’ve found my way at last.
It’s finally evident.
We all need a kick in the ass.
The basis of change: educate! Derived from discussion,
not hate, not myth, not muscle, not etiquette.
Intellect, not “re-elect!”.
Status symbols yield to respect between sex, species, environment.

In: Music/Movies/TVNo Comments

Sunday November 22nd, 2015 02:06 Post change, ergo propter break

Every time I touch someone’s computer and, a week later, they wonder aloud (or in print) if it had something to do with what I did, this plays in my head:

In: Computers, Music/Movies/TVNo Comments

Friday August 8th, 2014 00:19 The Amazingly Ignoble Spiderman

After having read quite a number of review titles – I never read reviews before seeing a movie if I can help it – and playing the truly awful PS game, I was avoiding watching Amazing Spiderman 2.

I’ll not go into the whole thing, but it took a mere 20 minutes for them to get to the thing which bugs me the most about both of the recent movie series: Spiderman is not a weepy little twat.

In this incarnation, he gives up on dating Gwen because he’s seeing images of her father everywhere and it’s making him feel so bad and he promised and so sad and…

tumblr_inline_mmwozvt1bY1qz4rgp

The reason I find the Spiderman story so compelling is because his character is built on tough decisions, consequences and how he deals with them. When he decided to walk away from Gwen, it was about the lesson he learned from Uncle Ben’s death and his desire to protect Gwen even if it meant they couldn’t be together and his responsibility to the city and oh my god so much more than some whiny teenager whose feelings make him go pee-pee in his underoos.

Spiderman is a character of strength and sorrow, stature and selfishness, survival and susceptibility.

And he deserves better than this.

In: Music/Movies/TVNo Comments

Tuesday October 22nd, 2013 01:39 In which Will Smith attempts to shed his last remaining goodwill from the Fresh Prince

I just had the displeasure to watch After Earth.

after_earth_wallpaper_01_wide-580

This one really got to me. Why? Because it was good filmed entertainment while still managing to be a horrible movie.

Let me splain:

Ignoring any and all markers of quality, it was enjoyable. There was some suspense and action and it moved along at a good pace. They set up a story, told it and concluded it. From the ‘I want things to happen in front of my face such that I get the sensation that a movie is occurring’ standpoint, you can’t go wrong.

In every other aspect, they did.

We won’t cover all the points, as the major ones are far more than sufficient.

For starters, they made me wait a half an hour before I knew why I should give a shit about what happened in the first half an hour. Not in a clever, suspenseful, can’t-wait-to-find-out way. More like running someone over with your car, then driving on to the hospital to let the EMTs know where to pick him up.

This is a two character movie. Up until the point at which they made their casually-located revelation – that the kid had a sister who protected him from an evil monster while dad was away, and they now blame each other for the incident – all I have to go on is that Junior wants to impress Daddy, but he’s a bit of a failure (and whiny to boot) while Daddy is a stereotypical dickish military father.

Pro tip: when you write a movie and keep things from the audience, let the words ‘critical character development plot point’ serve as a danger sign.

I needed to know that up front, so I could build a mental image of their relationship such that, later on when that relationship is tested, I can view any successes as a triumphant overcoming of past troubles.

Which I did not.

This story is really rather good in concept. Come on. Humans flee earth then, by horrible happenstance, a boy and his father end up back on the now-overrun by hyper-evolved killer animals planet, where the boy must face his fears and the father his misplaced emotions to simultaneously survive and forge a deep bond that transcends years of family strife? Um, yeah. I’ll watch that.

But not if you’re going to fuck up the order of the story.

Or if you’re going to put Jaden Smith in it.

Okay, when he was young and cute, he and his dad did Pursuit of Happyness and it was great.

As a teenager, he’s a kid whose range extends no further than the fact that he was born with a permanent look of worry on his face.

The movie is 100 minutes long. He is angry for four of them, angry-crying for three, pathetic-attempt-at-badass-faced for two. Little bastard was worried/scared for the other 91.

We get it, Will. You’re proud of your son. That’s wonderful. Now keep him the fuck away from the set while Daddy is working.

While you’re at it, buddy: every single hardass military father in every even halfway decent movie that’s had one has taken a second or two to show a little emotion to the inevitable child character in the film. Did you have bad plastic surgery, or is that the face of a man who just realized that his son is a crap actor?

Whew. Glad I got that off my chest.

Now to go watch a movie with a military father-son combo in which unavoidable circumstances forces a cooperation that makes the young strong and the old look deep inside to face the long-dormant feelings within.

I’m shooting for something better than After Earth.

Major Payne will do.

In: Music/Movies/TVNo Comments

Whois

IT guy, dev, designer, writer.

Got a degree in print journalism from UF but history dealt some bad cards to that industry, so I moved back to an earlier love: the computer.

Was recently at ZMOS Networks, but am now the Senior IT Associate at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

My name is moderately common, as are a couple screen names, so always look for the logo to make sure you're reading something with official Km approval.

You can get to me directly with kyle(@)kylemitchell.org