Posts made in September, 2013

Riddick

Posted by on Sep 24, 2013 in Movies/Music/TV | 0 comments

riddick

Finally the stars aligned and I was able to make it out to see Riddick. I will be discussing the film here assuming that you have seen it, so if you want to remain spoiler-free, I suggest you stop reading now.

I loved the first 15-20 minutes of the film. They truly showcased the superhuman will to survive that has typified Riddick in the previous films. It was gritty, grim and ugly. I loved watching him figure out the planet on which he was marooned, finding the essentials of water and shelter, and doing gruesome triage on his injuries. I don’t think the narration kicked in until at least 15 minutes had passed, which I also enjoyed. Silent, grim and determined.

I’m not sure that the film needed to be tied into the previous films, but I am thankful the backstory of Riddick and the Necromongers from the dreadful Chronicles of Riddick was kept to a minimum. That is one of those films you’d prefer to forget was ever made – like the fourth film in the Alien franchise or the fourth film in the Indiana Jones franchise. In any event, I guess we needed to know why Riddick was on this awful planet, and since he came here straight from being the Necromonger King, I guess we had to hear about them some more.

I loved the dog. I loved the dog so much even though I know the dog was doomed. I wanted more of the dog in the film.

When Riddick calls for rescue from the bounty hunter station, I knew we were headed into Pitch Black redux. That was fine with me – I had heard the film was essentially exactly like Pitch Black so that was my baseline expectation going into the film.

A bounty hunting crew lands full of contemptible characters, demonstrated by the killing of the bounty-rape-victim-female they set loose and then shoot for sport after they land. The audience is set to detest them and cheer for Riddick to kill them all at this point. Also hearing the call is a military-style unit who also lands and offers the bounty hunters assistance. Interestingly, the leader of the military unit (Johns) is the father of the policeman/bounty hunter who had Riddick in custody from Pitch Black. Second in command is Dahl, played by Katee Sackhoff who I love from Battlestar Galactica and Longmire. Dahl is great – it’s nice to see a strong female character amidst all the men in the film. I’d love to see she and Riddick team up in a future film.

Lots of characters. Lots of meat for Riddick to chew through.

As would be expected, he starts to pick them off one by one. He nabs the power cells to both ships and hides them and offers to give them one if they’d let him have the other ship. Just like in Pitch Black, there is a crisis moment coming — a giant rainstorm which will unleash beasts buried just beneath the surface of the planet. So they’ve got to get their acts together by that point.

Eventually, Riddick’s dog gets killed and Riddick gets captured. This was when the main plot issue I had in the film happened – they prepare to cut off his head but the power cells for the ships are still buried and he’s the only one who knows where they are. It didn’t make any sense to me. And when he breaks free and kills the guy who killed his dog, the guy died too fast. I wanted to see Riddick’s feelings for the dog come out in his killing of the dog’s murderer. But we didn’t get that in the film.

More killing, rescuing of the power cells, and Riddick’s survival instincts are showcased for the rest of the film. Surprisingly, the remaining characters (Johns, Dahl, and one of the bounty hunters) rescue Riddick (since when did Riddick need rescuing?), give him a ship and send him on his merry way.

I got the impression another showdown with the Necromongers is lined up for the next film. Frankly, I’d be happy to see that in a flashback scene while the film deals with something new and interesting.

All in all, the film was more than just a Pitch Black rehash. Riddick is great, as always, and Johns and Dahl exist as characters I wouldn’t mind seeing again in the future.

Oh, and if you’re a Riddick super-fan and have any idea where I can get my hands on the SciFi Channel’s short film they made as a promo for Pitch Black called “Into Pitch Black”, please let me know. I think it used to be available on YouTube but I can’t find it anywhere. I remember that short film made the hair on the back of my neck stand up — it made Riddick a truly terrifying character.

If you’re a Riddick fan, you will enjoy this flick.

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This Week Online – Sept 23, 2013

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Food, Geek Culture, Kickstarting, Movies/Music/TV | 0 comments

Hola folks -

This week had wide ranging things of interest. I hope you enjoy!

  • Do you eat meat? Are you a vegetarian? Do you think about the impact of what you eat and how you eat on your health, your community, or the planet? This is a well-written and well thought out article on what it means to be a conscious carnivore.
  • Two key members of House Lannister from Game of Thrones appeared on Sesame Street recently. Enjoy Peter Dinklage (singing!) and Lena Headey!
  • Did you back Neal Stephenson’s videogame kickstarter? It was all about creating a realistic motion capture sword fighting game. I’m a huge kickstarter participant and I remember looking at this. I thought to myself, I’ve been mad at Stephenson since he stopped writing good books, so I’m not going to back this project. Petty, really. Well, now I’m glad I didn’t back it. Definitely a lesson in the pitfalls of kickstarter investing and in thinking about where you decide to put your money.
  • Have you upgraded to iOS7? Do you know about the privacy settings that you need to enable STAT?
  • Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are awesome. And their friendship is a thing to envy. Truly, these two are way up on my list of people I’d invite to a dinner party.

Enjoy these tidbits. I’ll be back tomorrow with a review of Riddick!

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Avgolemono

Posted by on Sep 18, 2013 in Food | 0 comments

You may not know what this soup is if you don’t eat Greek regularly. Think of the most splendid homemade chicken-and-rice soup you’ve ever had, add a lemon flavor throughout the broth, and make it creamy as well. That’s avgolemono! It’s really fantastic, and now that the season is changing to Fall and the weather is cooler, I am craving soups!

avgolemono

 

1. Roast a whole chicken (3-4lbs). I like to rub mine with olive oil, stuff with an onion and a lemon (and maybe some rosemary), and pepper liberally before roasting.

2. Make stock with the roasted chicken. I like to add onion, parsley, celery, carrot, bay, leeks, peppercorns, garlic, ginger, thyme, and anything else that is starting to look old that is kicking around in my veggie drawer. Throw it all in a pot, cover with water and boil for an hour. Strain everything out of the broth and reserve all of the chicken meat.

3. Put the broth back on the stove and add 2/3c arborio rice (or 1/2c orzo). Cook 30 minutes. Add all of the chicken meat back into the broth.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 1/2c lemon juice. Pour 2 cups of (slightly cooled) broth very slowly into the bowl, whisking continuously. Once incorporated, add the mixture back into the soup pot and stir to blend throughout.

5. Add 1Tbsp salt and 1tsp pepper.

I’ve found this recipe makes about 12 cups of soup. It freezes really well, so if you decide to eat half and freeze half, you’ll have easy soup to have again in the future.

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This Week Online

Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Geek Culture | 0 comments

Here’s another fun list of things from the Internet. Things have been slow in the geek-verse lately. With the advent of the new TV season and fun things coming out in the theaters this Fall (plus some trips to see various shows by yours truly), activity will pick up!

Enjoy!

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Fun Stuff on the Internet

Posted by on Sep 9, 2013 in Food, Geek Culture, Movies/Music/TV, Web Shows | 0 comments

It’s time for another list of fun things to watch/read on the Internet!

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The World’s End

Posted by on Sep 5, 2013 in Movies/Music/TV | 0 comments

worldsend

 

You might think The World’s End is your run-of-the-mill “forty-somethings try to recapture the magic of their college years” movie. You’d be completely wrong.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are back again, and their onscreen camaraderie is flawless in this film. Pegg plays the lead character, Gary, who is a drug-addled Sisters of Mercy t-shirt wearing waste of oxygen who has made nothing of his life. He gets the idea to gather his buddies together and go back to Newton Haven, the tiny town of their youth, to complete a legendary pub crawl – the Golden Mile – drinking 12 pints in one evening. The lads attempted this in 1990 and failed spectacularly. Gary, grasping for any accomplishment in his life, decides this is the one thing he wants to complete.

Along for the ride are Oliver (Martin Freeman), a real estate agent with a permanent bluetooth headset in his ear, Peter (Eddie Marsan), a car salesman working for his dad, Steven (Paddy Considine), a construction boss, ladies’ man, and Gary’s main rival from back in the day, and Andrew (Nick Frost), a sober lawyer who hasn’t spoken to Gary in years.

This film is the third film in the Cornetto Trilogy, the first two films being Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. All three films are delightful, mainly because of the witty scripts and the interactions between Pegg and Frost. However The World’s End is the most nuanced and most mature of the three films by far.

Along the pub crawl, there are homages to The Stepford Wives, Drunken Master, murderous robots, aliens and the end of the world to contend with before getting to the final pub, The World’s End, for the final pint. The path the lads take is full of unexpected twists, delightful moments, and hilarious jokes.

Simon Pegg has said that there is no way to catch all of the complexity of The World’s End in one sitting. I cannot wait for it to come out on Netflix as I plan to watch the Cornetto Trilogy soup-to-nuts all over again.

Oh, and the soundtrack is brilliant.

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