Friday, September 30, 2011

Got A Case Of The Hiccups And A (Corner) Gas Attack?

   Now for a little dose of Canada. flashback two years ago, I've never heard of "Corner Gas" when I happen upon it on a TV station. I don't remember now which episode it was, but the bit I saw was hilarious. It inspired me to put it on the DVR list and get cracking on watching. 
   I saw them all out of order, but in the end it's a sitcom so it's not important really. The show was comedy gold, I know this not because I liked it, but because even my mother liked it, and she rarely likes the shows I do when it comes to non-American stuff.
   Flash forward to last week, I was considering buying some of the "Corner Gas" DVD's as it is rarely shown in syndication in America anymore, while perusing the online DVD shop I use (nope no free plugs), I found a series that was also created by Brent Butt and that also starred him and another of his "Corner Gas" co-horts Nancy Robertson.
   Ironically in "Corner Gas" Butt owned a gas station and Robertson works for him, in "Hiccups" Robertson is a children's book author and Butt is her life coach, so he works for her. The role reversal here works. I bought the complete first season on DVD and watched it all in a 2 night span this week. The show feels more like a season two or three from the onset.  Mainly because Robertson and Butt had spent six years working together on "Corner Gas" but the rest of the new cast fits right in and you feel like you've been watching these characters for years. It probably doesn't hurt that Butt and Robertson have been married since 2005 either.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Go Go (away) Power Rangers.

   Let's face it, I grew up in one of the greatest era's for kid's TV. There were a lot of great shows, the two best of which were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The turtles were my first love, and yes I still own several (a dozen or more) DVD's with episodes of the 80's series, all four feature films and the made for TV film and arcs from the revamped series from the 2000's, not to mention that I still read old issues of the comics it was all originally based on.
   A close second back in those days long ago though were the Power Rangers. I had to rush home from school everyday to catch the 3:30 airing everyday, even those most were re-runs. Back then I must have watched every episode 5-8 times. As the rangers evolved, and I grew older I still watched, but not nearly as adamentily. They evolved from the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to the Zeo Rangers, from Zeo to Turbo and Turbo to another and another. (Yes they are still evolving slightly, though not linked as much as they were in the past I'll have more on that in the future.)
   I never saw the second film Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, and the concept of the Turbo Rangers, including the new Zords and having a child magically grow into an adult sized person when morphed seemed off to me. Sure there is supposed to be some suspension of belief but by that age of my life I was already turning into the cynic I am today.
   I've sporadically seen a few episodes here and there since then, but never really been able to call myself a fan since around 1997 or so. I was roughly 12 years old.
   Recently I've been feeling nostalgic and revisiting my childhood; Or the very few vestiges that I had actually abandoned. So I got a smartphone, downloaded the first two seasons of MMPR, roughly 60 episodes and watched majority of them in about a 2 week span. It's not as bad as it sounds the edited version without commercials, credits and the opening theme make each episode between 13-18 minutes.
   What I discovered from this experience though, is that the show didn't get bad as I got older, it was always bad. I also discovered that I must like bad shows, as even though it was bad, nay terrible, I watched them all, and then added Power Rangers Zeo to my netflix que so that I could continue on watching more and more of it.
   I'm sure I'll get sick of it before I get through all 400,000 seasons, but maybe not. Maybe this time I watch it to fruition. There are always more episodes of TMNT to keep me busy though, so I'll probably give up and go back to my first love before to long.
   Stoke me a clipper, I'll be back by morning.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The One Year Movie Challenge!

Note: This is not my collection, not even a small fraction of my collection.

   I started this back in May in a note on Facebook, but I've decided to share it with the rest of the world too.

   I'm a very avid movie fan, always have been, always will be. I own nearly 3000 dvd's. I watch an inordinate amount of films, though ironically not nearly as many since I started this challenge. Basically what I am doing though is keeping track of all of the movies I watch, be it on DVD, at the theater, on a BluRay disc, Netflix or even on plain old TV.  I'm keeping a list and updating it regularly.  I'll give periodic updates here in case anyone is interested. Here is a copy of the original note and the list from May 1 until now. Note that TV series do not count on this, yet I do watch those in complete season sets as well.

Starting May 1, 2011 I'll be attempting to create a list of every single film I see this year.  I'll note whether it was on TV, DVD or in theater, but in essence Ill be keeping a daily track of which films I see from May 1, 2011 through April 30, 2012.

Feel free to add your own comments or observations on this note as it is updated and changed over the year, or to make your own list as well. Also feel free to let me know who else to tag, I've got too many moviephiles on my friends list to know who all would be interested in this.

And now, for the list...
1. Tek War -via Netflix. Been trying to catch this for a long time, based on a series of books written by William Shatner, and it caused a spin off TV series that lasted one season. Directed by William Shatner as well.
2. Easy A- via Netflix, starring Emma Stone.
3. Dogs Decoded- via Netflix, a documentary about dogs.
4. 9/11: The Myth & the Reality, via netflix.
5. The Green Hornet -Blu-Ray DVD.
6. The One Percent via Netflix.
7. Thor at the Theater.
8. Hot Tub Time Machine -DVD.
9. Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie -Netflix.
10. Up in the Air -DVD (loved the ending.)
11. Thor: Tales of Asgard -Blu-Ray
12. The Rookie - on TV.
13. Being Lincoln: Men in Hats - on TV, very strange documentary.
14. Power Rangers: Mystic Force - Dark Wish. - DVD
15. X-Men First Class - in theater.
16. The Untouchables - on TV.
17. The Four-Faced Liar - Netflix
18. Rookie of the Year. -Netflix.
19. X-Men First Class. - Theater.
20. Green Lantern -Emerald Knights -Blu-Ray.
21. Diner -Netflix.
22. Then & Now An Evening with Joe Quesad and Stan Lee -DVD.
23. The Green Lantern - in Theater.
24. Chasing Amy -Netflix
25. The American President -Netflix.
26. True Blue 10 years of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour -Cable
27. The Phantom -Cable.
28. Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie -Cable. (yes cable is that sad in a hotel room on vacation...)
29. Hooper -Dvd
30. Stroker Ace -Dvd.
31. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg - Netflix.
32. Varsity Blues -Cable.
33. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. -Theater
34. Captain America: The First Avenger- Theater
35. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.-DVD.
36. Undiscovered: Disney Parks. - Netflix.
37. Between the Folds. -Netflix.
38. The Almighty Thor -Netflix   (Total trash)
39. Skyline - Netflix
40. The Missing -TV
41. Young Guns -TV
42. Black Swan -BluRay
43. Predators -DVD.
44. Hobo with a Shotgun -Netflix
45. Paper Man -Netflix
46. The Expendables -Netflix
47. Tangled - Netflix.
48. The Fighter -Netflix.
49. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull -TV
50. Zombieland -TV
51. The Bounty Hunter -TV
52. X-Men: First Class -Blu Ray
53. Thor -Blu Ray
54. Weird Science -Netflix
55. I Love You Phillip Morris -Netflix.
56. Star Trek (2009) -DVD
57. Inspector Gadget's Last Case -Netflix.
58. The Bob & Tom Comedy Tour -Netflix

Sunday, September 25, 2011

If I give you a dollar, you can keep most of the change, all I want is a quarter back.

   Fantasy Football is a fickle beast that's for sure.  Until a few years ago I never played in a league with more than 1 other person I knew.  That is due mostly to me being a big nerd, and most big nerds not being sports fans. So yes, that makes me an outcast even in the nerd community.
   About three years ago I joined a league with anywhere from 8-10 people from the Monroe area.  I know most of them, even if I don't know them really well. That makes the league a little more fun, when you can beat, or get beat by someone you know.
   My first year in the league I was a late add, and didn't get to live draft, so I suffered through a season of mediocrity, and finished the year by losing the third place game, fourth out of ten wasn't terrible, but I knew I could do better.  Sure some of the guys in the league are smarter than me, and most if not all are wealthier than me, but I was a former sports writer and at the time a recent college graduate with a lot o free time on my hands.
   When the next season rolled around we lost three players, and added one "rookie." The rookie being a fantasy football veteran with a knowledge all of the game greater than my own.  We separated into divisions for the first time, which at 4 teams each made being able to beat your own division important.  In the league we play the division teams twice each, and the non-division teams once each.
   The best three teams in the league were unfortunately all in my division, but I hung in and only had 3 losses in the regular season, two of them to the Rook.  We were fast on a collision course in the championship game, when the unthinkable happened.  Both of our teams suffered some pretty heavy under performances in the semi-finals and neither of us made the title game.
   Again I lost the third place game, making me finish 4th in the 8 team league that year. I had the second best record, and had scored the most points of any team in the league.
   This year I was more prepared than ever before for the draft. Seven of us returned with one newbie this season as well, a man I know nothing about. I really wanted to draft 4th or 5th ideally to get the best chance at a good top to bottom roster. I drew the 8th spot for the draft, which I found out 9 minutes before the draft. *gulp* That changed my draft strategy completely.  Instead of going conventional I drafted Wide receivers with my first two picks, Andre and Calvin Johnson.
   That move worked perfectly, not only did I get the top two receivers, but it spooked a few other managers into going early and drafting WR's with their next picks leaving me a pair of really solid running backs with my next two picks.
   I ended up with most of what I wanted, though I got there unconventionally, I drafted Peyton Manning in the mid rounds, thinking he'd be out a month at most, so a QB wasn't a big priority, I also snagged Tony Romo, whom I have no confidence in, but though could manage until Manning was back.
   Just days later we found out that Manning will most likely miss the entire season, so I chose to spot start his replacement week one, whom I had to pick up off the waiver wire.  It was a mistake. I thought the team would be down a lot and he'd get a ton of yards in the second half, they were, and he did, but he also tossed 3 interceptions making his score low.  Luckily I finally beat my buddy and won week 1.
   Week 2 I started Romo, and he missed half the game with an injury, but came back in to throw for a TD and well over an extra 100 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime.  That injury turns out to be cracked ribs and a punctured lung. He may play Monday night, but I can't start him.
   So again I was scouring the waiver wire.  I picked up Joe Flacco, who would be fine in a pinch, but I don't have confidence in him either.  Finally I decided to spot start Ryan Fitzpatrick, playing against the Patriots.  My thinking the same as week one again, that he's throw for a ton of yards while trying to make up a huge deficit.  It worked once again, the stats aren't in for the week completely, but I have a big lead heading into the afternoon games and Fitzpatrick scored 21 fantasy points for me, and lodged a comeback to beat the Patriots from down 21-0.
   Still in the fickle world of Fantasy Football, I have no idea what I'll do for a quarterback next week.  I guess life ain't easy for "A Boy Named Suh"

League standings going into week 3:
Division A

1.A Boy Named Suh2-0-0

5.Strange Daze1-1-0

6.Team T-M-T1-1-0

7.MotorCity Gearheads0-2-0
Division B
2.D Fence2-0-0

3.Dickens Cider1-1-0

4.4th & Chuck Long1-1-0


8.Billys Bombers                                           

Ndamukong Suh, the inspiration for my team name.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Keys to a Shiny New Australia

And Penny will see the evil me
Not a joke not a dork not a failure
And she may cry but her tears will dry
When I hand her the keys to a shiny new Australia.

   Okay, so initially I was gonna write on Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog, which is wicked cool, but I've decided not to. Instead I've decided to write a love note to the land down under, a land I hope to someday visit and possibly never return from.

   I'll admit that America is the land of plenty, but Australia seems to have it all too.  They have some of my favorite comedians, fantastic movies and TV shows that never get imported and two of my best friends in all of the world. What more could a boy ask for?  Not much that's for sure.

   I mean sure, it's really hot there, goods and services are more expensive and the culture seems a bit backwards at times.  All of that is ok though, I mean on hot days stay inside, the pay helps even out the price difference and I've always wanted to learn about new cultures.

   My only concern with going there is this: What would I do if I were attacked by a Kangaroo? Guess I'll just be staying home for now then.

Stoke me a Clipper, I'll be back by breakfast.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fryday Anyone?

   I fully expect most of you to not get the title unless you are fully entrenched in pop culture, and also listen to the Hollywood Babble-On Podcast, hosted by Ralph Garman and Kevin Smith. Be that as it may, it makes me laugh, so deal with it.
   Yes you guessed it, I am blogging about the Rebecca Black song "Friday" and not ironically but purposely posting this on a Friday, as you see, I'm not really very witty, I should have done the ironic thing and posted this next Tuesday.
   First a brief history, Rebecca Black is a 14-year old girl with slightly wealthy parents. Yes I'm assuming there, but hey they put out $4,000 but their supremely untalented daughter to record a song. What it boils down to is that the girl has no talent, and the song was written by this company for her in about 10 minutes, but like most popular songs it has a somewhat catchy hook.
   Social media went nuts a few months after this song, and its accompanying music video were uploaded by Shoutfactory to its Youtube stream.  Even with all of the autotuning going on, the girl still sounded dreadful, but she managed to get about 100,000 views, which is quite impressive for a then 13-year old girl who is not famous and has no talent.
   Then in March of this year, Daniel Tosh discovered the dreadful song.  He posted about it on his blog. Tosh has a lot of followers, they clicked through and the song blew up. She started getting hits in the millions on the youtube video that had since been moved to her own personal account. At least her parents were smart enough to buy the rights to the music and the video included in that $4,000 price.  The song also became available on ITunes and sold about 40,000 downloads within a week.
   I just don't see why everyone picks on her so much.  She's managed to become famous, made some money and even got to be part of a Katy Perry music video.  If you don't like her music, simply don't listen. For me, I'll be listening each Friday, and attempting to hear the song in Ralph's "FRYDAY" girl voice.
   What do you think, should people let it go and let her move on? I mean come on she's only 14. If you want to blame someone, blame Daniel Tosh, he's the one that made the world aware of her existence.

   Please feel free to follow me on twitter @NHDaveH or check out my Facebook page

Stoke Me a Clipper, I'll be back by Monday!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Sonic is your Screwdriver?

I would gladly credit that art to whoever made it, but I received it in an e-mail and don't know who actually made it.  If anyone out there does know, please tell me.

   That's right Whovians, it's time I got around to discussing the longest running science fiction TV show in the history of the known universe. Doctor Who is more than a TV show or some books or whatever you may try to classify it as. Sadly until recently it went mostly unknown in the US. For a show that has been on the air for the better part of 50 years, it rarely got airtime on this side of the pond when I was younger.  It's a very sad thing really.  It's not like the UK has been hoarding the show, it just never got much interest here as Americans stuck with shows like Star Trek and Lost is Space, both of which were comparable shows to early Who episodes.
   I can't speak definitively as I wasn't alive during much of the first run of the show.  The show originally ran from 1963 until 1989. I wasn't even born until December of 1985, so I think it's excuseable that I missed out on the original run. I also missed the only US broadcast of the TV movie made in 1996, again I was not quite 11 and not yet into Sci-Fi, though had it been advertised during an episode of Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I probably would have been all over it, though those are blog topics for another day.
   I am ashamed to admit that when the relaunch came about in 2005, I also missed that at first.  It wasn't until mid 2007 that I saw my first episode, seven of them in one day to be exact.  It was the same friend that turned me on to the show Scrubs, where I also first saw it in a Marathon format. Sorry I keep getting off topic, but I've got 25 years of stuff to cover here, and at four or five posts a week I'm actually falling behind... Ooh something shiny on my desk. Once I saw my first few episodes of Doctor Who, they were all with the 9th Doctor for those keeping track, I was hooked.  I've now seen every episode and special from 2005 onward, and probably 100 classic Who episodes.  I own about 25 classic Who DVD's, all the seasons from the re-launch and the 1996 movie.
   Well that's it for now, a quick introduction to my Whovian lifestyle.  Please expect more on the Doctor in the future as well.  I've got lot's of stories, I mean I haven't even touched on the spin-offs yet. We all miss you Sarah Jane Smith.
   Leave me a comment and let me know how sonic your screwdriver is.

Please feel free to follow me on twitter @NHDaveH or check out my Facebook page

And don't forget to follow the words of Abe Lincoln and "Be excellent to each other."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why Google Plus Will Take Over the (web) World

   Facebook was the biggest internet sensation, since well, nothing really.  It was and continues to be the biggest thing to hit the internet that is legal for all, if you catch my drift.  Facebook was launched by a group of college aged students, and geared toward college aged people, but it grew to so much more than that and quickly expanded its horizons to include people of any and all ages. For better or worse that made the site have more than 500 million worldwide users and made Mark Zuckerberg the youngest self made billionaire in the world. That's all fine and dandy, but today they've went to far.
   Today Facebook rolled out some pretty massive changes, changes that I, and seemingly everyone of the 2500+ (well at least those that have managed to figure out how to post their hatred of the changes that is) people on my contacts list don't like.  The old design was superior in ease of use; that's pretty much all that matters in today's world.  It was easy to use, so everyone used it. end of story.
   Also today, in a completely related note, Google Plus emerged from it's closed beta and can now be used by the masses.  Personally, I'm a big fan of just about anything Google does.  I find its search engine to be the best for diverse uses, I've had a Gmail account since high school, and Google Chrome is the only browser I use when I have a chance.  They also have many, many other services that I use, just not quite as often.
   I was invited to Google Plus the end of June or early July, sometime in that week anyway.  I was soon to head off on a vacation so I didn't even activate it at that time.  When I returned from North Carolina, after an average to below average trip (That is a story for another day though...) I finally hooked into Google Plus, and found that it was a bit foreign in concept to me.  Being honest, I didn't spend a lot of time on it then, and have rarely logged back in since.  That was however during the closed beta test when most of my friends didn't have accounts either.
   Now that the beta is open to the general public, I honestly feel that Google will knock this out of the park as well.  With the negative changes Facebook has made it's only a matter of time before people jump ship. So mark my words, Google Plus will take over the web world, and eventually it too will fall. Facebook is not the be all end all of social networking sites, it's just the best one around today. That could change tomorrow though, I mean just look to the past, does anyone even remember what a Myspace account is?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Zynga,You have got to be kidding me.

   I like many millions of people got downright addicted to the original Mafia Wars game not long after it was released. It was far from a perfect game, but it didn't require any time commitment like a traditional game. You could play for hours on end, or if you had 30 seconds between whatever else you were doing.  It many ways it was a perfect game for a the modern society of people that have issues focusing.  The game continued to grow and grow, as did the number of both daily and monthly active users. I'm not going into great detail about the exact gameplay because lets face it, if you got this far, you know the game.
   Then game started to expand, offering more and more items to collect, and eventually opening up new cities to explore and take your 500 best mafia buds with you to conquer.  Along the way, fans discovered that Zynga either didn't care, or had a large group on vastly inferior programmers. The only thing worse than the programmers are the customer support people that obviously don't play the game and understand the issues that people have.  Improvements were made, but rarely were they properly beta tested before hand.  Often any improvements that were added took away or broke other aspects of the game. The diehards moved on with the game though. As I write this even they are working out the bugs in the newest city that went live last night, then was taken back down when a major glitch appeared that affected thousands of players accounts. Now it appears that Zynga is ready to screw the pooch again, as they get ready to launch Mafia Wars 2.
   A preview trailer has appeared today on the Facebook page for Mafia Wars 2, but it shows absolutely no game play, and only poorly animated 'scenes' from the game. This is poorly conceived on two fronts for the fan base.  First off, the company has never once shown that they are capable of coding a game properly.  Now they expect us to believe that they can code and properly made a 3D fully interactive game. I'll never believe it.  The other side to this coin, is that while this is a free game, there is the option to pay to improve your character ( I would say gameplay but that's just not true...) and many people have put in anywhere from $5 to several thousand dollars on their characters. Regardless of how long they hang on to the original Mafia Wars, creating an entirely new game let's players know that eventually they will phase out the original.  I just don't get why they don't leave well enough alone and keep 'upgrading and improving' the product that has gotten them this far. Fix what is broken before you move on to something new that's even more broken.

There I've said my piece, though that's not what this blog posting was originally going to be about. Expect another Mafia Wars related post in the future.

Monday, September 19, 2011


   Life as a journalist is always interesting, no two days are ever alike.  Two very neat things have happened to me in the last three days that I just have to share with you all.
   First off, I covered a fantastic event on Saturday that was called Victory Day. I've posted the slide show already on our site, and a large story will be running soon. There are also 7 short videos on our site that will be linked to those stories, so if you are interested in that at all, I encourage you to check back on the News-Herald site in the future. The event would have been special enough, as I'm always amazed when people, especially kids are willing to give back.
   Victory Day was all about helping children with either physical or mental disorders and giving them a day to be just one of the group instead of sticking out in the crowd. Personally I volunteered to cover the event (Yes that means I didn't get paid to do it.) and I did so for numerous reasons. I would be remiss though if I didn't say that one of the reasons was that former University of Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr was the keynote speaker. For those that know me, they know that I'm a huge college football fan, and that UM has been my favorite team since I was young. Carr won a national championship in 1997 and forever made himself one of my heroes. I went just to hear him speak.
   However, when I got there, the opportunity to speak with the coach one on one arose, and he made himself even a better person in my eyes. He spoke to me like an equal, and even took the time out to introduce me to other people from a couple of other news organizations and in the community as a whole just because we were talking as they walked up.  That impressed me two-fold, one that he thought enough of me to introduce me to them, and two, he actually remembered my name, something I wouldn't expect many people that met hundreds of people that day to do.  He also impressed me in the sense that from talking to him, he was truly passionate about helping these kids and not just there for publicity.  You could see it in his eyes that he really cared.
   The second interesting thing that happened popped up this morning.  As part of my job here at the News-Herald I am expected to check on Facebook and Twitter from time to time. I logged into my FB page this morning, and what I saw as the most recent update shocked me a bit.  True it was nothing monumental but it was really cool. A story I wrote for the Sunday issue of the paper that included a quote from Congressman John Dingell had been shared via his Facebook page to all of his followers.  For a young journalist, it was just a really 'Neat-O" moment.
   Thanks for reading, and I promise I'll get back to the Nerdy with my next post. I've got plenty of topic ideas ready to go.

Friday, September 16, 2011

X-Men: No Class

   OK, the film doesn't really have no class, but it's far from "first class" entertainment when it comes to tying into the other movies in the series.  It obviously was trying to tie into those movies based on cameos and other small things, but way to many things don't add up when it comes to series continuity.  That aside, the film was still enjoyable. I mean who doesn't want to watch X-Men fight Nazi's? OK sure, that doesn't technically happen, but it could have.

   Plot Synopsis: Before Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time, working together to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known.  The film  features a star-studded supporting cast, including Academy Award-nominee Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone), January Jones (“Mad Men”), Rose Byrne (28 Weeks Later), Zoë Kravitz (“Californication”), Nicholas Hoult (A Single Man), Lucas Till (Walk the Line), and Emmy Award-nominee Oliver Platt (“The West Wing”).

   I'll start with the visuals like I did in my last review the transfer to the disc is great, very few flaws, and watching it HD rather than on the grainy theater screen was a true treat. (Jennifer Lawrence half naked most of the time didn't hurt either...) The effects were all pretty believable in this world, but nothing to write home about.

   The audio here was pretty standard, again nothing to write home about.  The only thing stood out as excellent to me was Magneto's daunting theme music, but nothing was blatantly bad so it's slightly above average at best. The sound mix worked well together, but it just felt like it was lacking something to me.

Now for the extras, this disc isn't packed full geeky goodness like some, but what it has is fantastic.  First off it starts with 10 free digital comics that help to tell the back story of the actual "first class" and they are all great, though I'm still adapting to the digital comic phenomena. Also included is a 7 part making of documentary, that while annoying to be broken into segments that run about 10 minutes a piece, is still a very fine documentary in the long run.  Several deleted/extended scenes are included (sorry I didn't count them and don't have the disc sitting next to me as I write this), as is some behind the scenes info on scenes, and a really cool feature that lets the viewer 'control' cerebro in a feature that when you find and click on the various mutants you get scenes from all of the films that mutant has been in within the live-action franchise.  The glaring  omission is the lack of a director's commentary.

Final grade is a 3 out of 5 on this one. There just isn't enough stuff to put this edition over the top.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Hammer Time!

No, this is not a post about MC Hammer, but rather a review of the Thor Blu-Ray and DVD combo pack that was recently released (Sept. 13 in America).

   Synopsis: The powerful but arrogant warrior Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he soon becomes one of their finest defenders.

   The movie was just as good as it had been in theater, which I saw with a group of my friends on the opening weekend.Chris Hemsworth, who I can't recall seeing in anything prior to this was an amazing casting choice for Thor. Tom Hiddleston turned in a fantastic performance as Loki and Natalie PortmanKat Dennings andStellan Skarsgård were all well above what I expected from the film. Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo seemed to be more cameo appearances that actual roles in the film sadly.  Each had less than 5 minutes screen time. The script was done well enough that it was believable in this universe that Thor and the other Asgardians were real and not simply a toss in just to get the character into next summer's Avenger film. I'll leave a film review out of this for now, since I am reviewing the DVD and not the film proper.

   For the purpose of review, I bought the BluRay 2 disc edition of the film, and am working off of that.  There is also a 3D version, which I chose not to go for since I do not yet have a 3D TV or a 3D DVD player, key on the yet there. I want one of each badly.  Not that I am a huge fan of 3D films, but I am a huge fan of technology and it's never bad to have options to watch more stuff and different stuff.   I'll start with the visuals. The film is visually stunning, beautiful backdrops and believable special effects.  The frigid visuals of Jotunheim going against the beauty and grace of Asgard, all tied in together with the stark nothingness of the New Mexico desert, put it all together mix in one part ageless beauty from Portman, and add in the hulking mass of a man in Hemsworth for the ladies and this film has it all visually.  The transfer to the disc, while not flawless is fantastic.

   Moving on to the audio aspect, the transfer is fantastic.  The sound mixing has a 7 channel mix for Region 1 and a 5 channel for Region 2.  The film has many dynamic thundering sounds that are all mixed in well enough to seem realistic. Sure no one truly knows what it sounds like when an ice giant dies, but the audio mix here is pretty darn believable. 

   Now for the stuff you really came here to read about, the special features.  This set is jam packed with stuff. Director Kenneth Branagh gives us great insight into the film with his commentary track.  There are 11 deleted or extended scenes, all of which have commentary from Branagh.  There are also no less than 7 featurettes that detail every aspect of the film.  Though standard on nearly every DVD these days, the teaser and full length trailer are also included.  Subtitles are included in several languages other than the standard English and Spanish, and several other trailers are also included. The best part about all of these special features is that they are all in HD quality, something most extras on other DVD's are not.
   Overall I'd give this DVD a 4.25 rating out of 5.  There aren't a lot of areas that need improvement, but it could have done better in some regards.  All in all it's a fantastic fun experience for both the casual observer and the hardcore fan.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is this thing on?

   OK, so I'm a bit new to this, kind of.
   I've started several blogs in the past, and after a few months, many updates and fewer than 2 readers (thanks Mom) all of them eventually ended. This time will be different though, this time I'm getting paid to do it, kind of.
   I've started a new job recently, for which I am very grateful. I'm happier now than I can recall being at any point in the past five years, but enough about me specifically, if you want to read about me, check out my column that was recently published in the News-Herald. That explains a brief history of my past, and just what my new job is.
   Now on to the good stuff, what I hope this blog will be about. I'm a self professed nerd, geek, whatever feel free to insert your own adjective there. I love comic books and movies, and sometimes I still bust out the crayons and a Ninja Turtle coloring book, though not from my youth, that was a recent purchase. In this blog I will write about all things that I'm interested in.  I have a very obsessive personality so once I get hooked on something I go hardcore until I'm very knowledgeable on the subject--like the time I watched all 5 seasons and 7 Babylon 5 movies in about 6 weeks. I'll keep you all updated on what geeky stuff I'm up to, and hopefully you will return the favor and let me know what your into, and possible turn me on to some new stuff in the process.
   With that I bid you adieu, for now.  I promise, "I'll be back."