Sunday, August 18, 2013

micro movie reviews.

  I've seen quite a few movies this summer.  They are all awesome, because, well, I don't waste my money on the un-awesome.  Here's a few quick reviews.

The Wolverine:  A welcome improvement of the somewhat muddy 'X-men Origins Wolverine,' a warm mess that should have gone back to the drawing board the moment someone green lighted the title 'X-men Origins Wolverine.'  The Wolverine uses some classic Frank Miller comic book material as source, but takes suitable cinematic liberties.  Without spoiling too much, Logan heads to Japan to kick some ass.  There are bad guys.  Hand claws, and tough talk, ensue.  I enjoyed it.

Now You See Me: I managed to make it months without spoiling the ending of this movie for myself. So I won't do it for you.  There are decent plot twists, and a cast that seems to be having fun, all of which made this well worth the money.  The plot review?  There is magic, and heists.  Actually did quite well at the box office, which is hardly surprising with a cast including Morgan Freeman (who apparently fell asleep giving a publicity interview), Michael Caine (not fair, he's been in so many movies... I think I saw him in a crowd shot in my sister's wedding video), Woody Harrelson, That dude from the social network, and the guy who played the hulk.  No, not Edward Norton.  No Not Eric Bana.  NO not the 70's tv show.  Whassisface.  Avengers dude.  Never mind.  Just check it out.

Man of Steel: I'm more of a Batman guy.  Superman's godlike invulnerability makes it difficult to up the stakes in a Superman movie.  I mean, if the entire world isn't at stake, why should Superman interrupt a summer day grilling burgers?  But, as fits any movie with the Christopher Nolan stamp of approval (he produced), the movie is pretty solid and enjoyable.  Plot?  Sort of a combination of Superman and Superman2 from the 70's and the 80's.   He's born, he flies, there's Zod.  Yellow sun ass kicking ensues.  Enjoy.  Supposedly they are going to connect this franchise to the Dark Knight franchise and make the Justice League.  What are the odds that they change actors and boot Ryan Reynolds out of the Green Lantern role?

Pacific Rim:  My favorite movie of the summer.  Monsters, and Giant Robots.  To paraphrase my brother, "Acting C, Plot C-,  Overall rating A+++ I DID SAY MONSTERS AND ROBOTS."  Giant fun.  The apocalypse is cancelled, but luckily the sequel is not.  Awesomer movie.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

white house down vs. olympus has fallen

White House Down vs. Olympus has Fallen:  Some spoilers, but, I'll keep them light.  I watched BOTH of these movies this week.  Yes, in 100 degree heat, I'm taking some air conditioned air for the team.  I am so selfless.

Short answer, there is no difference.  Long answer, there is not very much difference at all.  But let’s break it down. 

Blood and Gore: With the hard “R” rating, Olympus has significantly more gore.  But there’s plenty of body count for the most bloodthirsty ‘Murican summer movie fan.  Edge: Olympus

Spunky Kids: Check and Check.  Whitehouse Down co-stars some punky Brewster type little kid who has a Vlog or a cell phone or some other plot device.  Olympus has Oliver from season 4 of The Brady Bunch who hides places.  Edge: White house down.

Bruce Willis:  White house down has Channing Tatum as reluctant hero John Cale.  They should have gone with John McCale.  He channels Bruce willis in Die Hard, taking a beating but persevering.  Olympus has King Leonidas, starring as Bruce Willis in A good day to Die Hard, or the expendables.  Kind of sort of ‘unstoppable baddass John McClane’.   Edge White House down.

Gratuitous use of Mini-Gun:  See body count.  Edge, Olympus has Fallen

Humor:  Nothing funny about terrorists taking out ‘Murica.  But it’s just a movie.  If King Leonidas is funny, he can’t do it while maintaining a NY accent.  Tatum and Jamie Foxx are genuinely funny together.  Edge: White House Down.

Plot Holes:  Neither movie actually makes any sense whatsoever.  Without spoiling anything, both groups of bad guys had sort of really really complicated plans requiring wild coincidences.  Edge: White house Down, b/c of the bigger Explosions. ‘Murica.

President:  Aaron Eckhart vs. Jamie Foxx.  Eckhart boxes.  Foxx shoots people.  Edge: Eckhart for getting his hands dirty.  Olympus.

Both movies are fine summer fare for a hot day.  Honestly, I found White House Down’s buddy cop tone to play a little better for my taste.  Plus the opportunity for a series of sequels, in which Jamie Foxx plays an ex-president who’s now in the secret service with his ex-secret service guard, guarding a new president.  Or, better, Tatum is the new President, and Jamie Foxx has to save him?  Throw in a mini-gun, maybe Chris Pine from Star trek, and some Somalian pirates, and we got as a MOVIE.  ‘Murica.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Oh, I do book recommendations too...

...and book disses.  As much as I'd like to just talk about awesome gear I own, I don't own so much stuff that I can drive frequent blog postings.  At some point in the not too distant future, I'll be reduced to extolling the certain merits of my brand of Chapstick (It's Burt's Bees if you must know).  But today, middlebrow book reviews.

Don't I appear enthralled
Ted Bell's Phantom seemed like something that would be exactly my kind of escapist fun.  A mean, it says right on the back, "Bond, Eat your heart out... There's a new spy in town."  Unfortunately, the reality is somewhat less thrilling.  It's trivial, sort of boring, and filled with weird inconsistencies.  Here's an example.

"Pablo strode into the room, and brushed the dust of the trail with his hat.  Esmarelda's eyes met his and her spine tingled as she looked at him.  She licked her lips as .... Wait.  That's totally the wrong book.

My bad. The Book: Phantom, by Ted Bell.  The Setting: Palo Alto California.   "A trail snaked through the redwoods that led to an overlook where you could see the Pacific on a clear night.  It wasn't clear..."

Where are the damn redwoods.
Here is a picture of El Camino Real in Palo Alto.  Now, you can say, that I'm picking nits, but the fact of the matter, he set his scene in suburbia, and Then turned it into Mt. Mckinley.  Beyond that, the protagonists main ally is uber-mensch and all around bear slayer Vladimir Putin.  In other words, it's pretty much like later books by Tom Clancy without the detailed research.  I hated it so much I bought two more by the same author.  DoH.!

Now, on the other hand, There is Jack Reacher.  These are great escapist novels, written by Lee Child.  They are all fast reads.  There is a whole mess of them.  I truly don't want to spoil the pleasure, but I'll link to amazon here, and let you get started.  I've seen them listed in chronological order, or in the order that they were published.  I don't think it matters a lot.

To be fair, the later ones are a faded product, but just slightly, and there are 17 of them.  And frankly, I enjoyed them a lot more than even the Clive Cussler books I enjoyed so much in my child hood. Basically, the guy is a brilliant investigator, who also happens to be 6'4 230, so on the rare occasion he can't sleuth it out, he beats the truth out of ya.  And he drinks lots of black coffee.  Classic.

It's a recommendation, not a review.  The link to Amazon has a ton of reviews.  I hope you enjoy it.

Morrison Luke Smith


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Post the First. The unbelievably cool, and now extinct Maverick Durance.

The Maverick Durance.

OH just read outside online's review.  Or stay here.  I bought the Maverick Durance 4 years ago, from Sunnyside Sports, in Bend, Oregon.  Now the company is out of Business!  Is this the end?  Am I now the proud owner of THIS FINE PROFLEX BIKE that has a suspension system made out of squishy rubber bits, or some other KEEN BIKE LIKE THIS FLYING V bike... In other words, did I get stuck with an Edsel, a Rotary Mazda, a Beta-Max, a Laser Disc?

Naaaah.  I got the sweetness.

See, That's the focus of this blog.  Why the stuff I like rawks.

The bike was not cheap.  In fact it cost more than my car, and my other 2 bikes put together.  (Yes, my car is an outrageous 1984 Volvo 240DL  POS wagon, held together by dirt and duct tape, but one that is awesome, for reasons to be discussed later).

But let's discuss it's strengths:
It climbs:
... like a mountain goat:  The Durance has a 2 height front fork:  It's can switch from either 5" of bouncy up front, or 6.5".  And when it's set to 5", the geometry is such that you hug the dirt and rocks like this guy, Ueli Steck. (Plus, he's amazing, so enjoy).  And there is some unique aspect to the rear linkage that takes out all the bouncy in the back, and makes it hook up like mad. "Bouncy" is a technical term.  If it matters, it's triple patented, ultra trademarked, and it was invented by Paul Turner, Mr. Rock Shox, etc.

It's light:
With the amazing Maverick fork, it looks like a motorcycle.  The large diameter aluminum tube make it look like a downhill bike.  But, through crafty design, and in my case, overpriced, shimano dura-ace parts (pronounced due-ah-chay for proper italian accent) it weighs in at a pretty svelte 26 pounds: Not bad for an XL frame with 6.5" of travel.

It's Bitchin
It just looks sweet.

This one has the nifty attachment where you can lower the seat with a flick of a switch for descents, and then, when you start to go cross-country, flip, whoosh, and your upright again.  'mazing.  Of course mine does not have that feature.  Who wants all that weight.  (ounces, OK, maybe this was just me being cheap).

But what about my concerns about obsolescence? Naaaah.  This is the best part.  At least for now, my shop can service this bad boy.  That's a huge deal in bicycle shock world, where you often have to mail off shocks for repair replacement.  In Bend, I drop it off, 2 days later, I'm rocking the huge hits of like 6'.  (Translation, I'm enjoying amazing squishyness and performance as I gingerly maneuver my 43 year old non-athletic bag of bones over intermediate trails)

And here's the judgemental part.  Maverick, If you're going to pay too much for a toy, make it this one.

(Yes, I am, in fact, a Macintosh Guy).  Sweet.  All this bike-aggrandizement has me stoked to ride.  
(c) Morrisonlukesmith