Category Archives: Movie Reviews

Valerian and the city of a thousand planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Poster

First off, this was a fun movie. I won’t say it didn’t have some ‘drink’ moments, but it was pretty good fun. It tried to be huge, with fantastic scenes changing constantly, but it failed to be consistent, so it made no sense half the time. Just off the top of my head:

  1. Multi-Dimensional world? Man, that was so complex that it has to show up again…nope.
  2. Bashing through walls into completely different (and recently described) sections…that were supposed to be on opposite sides of a giant city? Yeah, that happened.
  3. The spaceship can enhance his fighting ability? He doesn’t mention that till the last scene.
  4. Aliens fishing for humans in the red zone?

But, the one that killed me, absolutely ruined it, was a superior officer hitting on a sergeant under his command. Absolutely improper and bugged the crap out of me, constantly.

So, the plot was simple and fun. They did a good job on one alien species, the Pearls, but the others were just goofy. I saw it with a beer and a hot chick, so I rate it a good solid 3 for movie night.

Suicide Squad – Movie Review

I took the wife to a movie last night. It was a really good time, partly because the movie theater business is dying. This is a really nice theater in a good part of town watching a hot movie only a week after premier. There wasn’t 50 people in there. Of course, I spent 27 dollars on tickets plus a few on coffee. Not bad, but equivalent to buying the blue ray pack. Well, I don’t much like crowds, so this was fine. We had a nice night.

Suicide Squad is a great movie. I understand people’s quibbles, but they are wrong. Well, let me be more clear. The Marvel superhero movies are good. Character development is a bit scanty in them, character arcs are fairly underdeveloped. Lots of fun action and snarky comments. Critics hate them, people hate critics, it all works out in the end.

Suicide Squad is somewhat different. At the end of the movie you will know a lot more than you ever wanted about Deadshot and Harley Quin, Diablo and Flagg also get a good treatment. I admit that I spend most of the movie hoping someone would blow Boomerang’s head off. Croc was a bit shallow, but he had a character, they just didn’t look at it. Enchantress scared me, really, made me think Horror Story from first look. Amanda Waller is the Devil. Not sure I remembered anyone else. Joker showed up, was scary crazy. Katana was central and boring, sorry.  In an extended version, they’ll probably add 30 minutes of Joker, which won’t really improve the movie. It was good, tight even, at two hours. Lots of action, but it isn’t complex. It is mostly smashing weird looking things on the head.

I’d just say that this movie felt a lot more adult than Avengers or Spiderman. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’d say that they aimed the age of viewer in the 20s at least, not the usual teenager. It hit this nearly 50 year old in the feels. I liked it a lot.

All Work and No Play makes Jack a Dull Boy

all work

Right, so I’ve not been blogging. I haven’t tweeted, facebooked, or frankly emailed anyone but one friend outside of work. Last few weeks have been busy.

Planning the family vacation, it’ll be a week away from all of the above, camping in Mississippi. I hope the weather is nice. Weather here stinks, pretty much all the time. (Washington DC, come for the terrible weather, stay because the traffic won’t let you leave.)

So, I’ll try to write some science these days. I’m putting in a bit of work on my current fantasy novel, but it is very slow. I’ve been working on spending more time at home with the wife and baby. Less at work. The guys at work appreciate that, but they have a lot for me to do as well. I’m pretty over booked.

Watched a movie, “Home.” It is great. For those of us with less than stellar records in human relationships, Oh is so us. Most scientists don’t think of themselves as scientists, just guys who do a job. We try to be happy, friendly sorts, but we’re the “not good” at social. Watch it. Of course it is a tear jerker, damn cartoons.

I’ll “the science” later.



Star Wars

starwarsTFA3-970-80What is there to say about Star Wars?

Episode IV was a wonderful movie, V was a good movie, VI wasn’t too bad, had some really good parts. I had some good parts, II didn’t, III was so bad that … it was bad on every level of storytelling.


What keeps Star Wars alive, when all around it is failure and bad fan fic? Simple, we all want it.

Explore an infinity of new places, bam. Just get in your hyperdrive capable vehicle and take off.

friends watch back

It isn’t utopia, though there are some utopian areas. It is a real place with a lot of bad, and some really nice good. It is a wild west kind of place, where you carry a blaster and have good friends watch your back.

I actually thought the Disney “Rebels” and “Clone Wars” were very good cartoons. I’ve enjoyed them. I hope that the new movies follow those leads more than the crap of I – III.

What happened to them? Really, it was a film maker who was afraid of his source material. He wanted to look “bigger and smarter” and got shown up as dumb. Writers take note:

Star Wars IV – VI is Arthur, specifically it is Morte de Arthur. Arthur has become the Dark King. Modred in this is our Luke Skywalker, so a likeable boy. He is joined by Morgan le Fae (Leia Organa) and the Druid Knight (come on, he makes a point that he doesn’t believe all that Jedi religion stuff.) His Falcon and Wolf… a Wolfee….

Ok, so the rest is pretty much putting these trappings on a good old fashioned space opera.


So the rise of Arthur should have written itself. ANYONE could have written it. But, the usual failings. 1) All the big things have to happened to Anakin at one time. 2) Space Operas aren’t comedic love stories. 3) Character development was in the toilet. 4) Subtle much? Look, a perfectly normal Anakin could have ended episode III. Or he could have been burned and not completely evil, just foreshadowing. Instead, all in. Bad Writing. Bad Story telling.


Bah, a humbug it is.

Movie Review – Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

My movie review system … well, I don’t really have one. I like the one proposed by a good friend of mine, determining how good a movie was by how many drinks you had to make it enjoyable, (You assume you had a good time, it simply goes without saying, but you may have drank a couple beers and had a hot chick for company to make the time go by more joyfully.)

Well, this movie moves to the top of my rating. We had a great time watching it. I drank 2 Wee Heavies by Sam Adams, probably counts for 4 drinks, and my hot chick was in attendance. So a ranking of 5 is the highest ranking I’ve given any movie ever.

Whenever we watch a movie, there is a sub-plot of “Could we do this costume at Dragon Con?” We had some fear though, if we did these Martians and someone recognized it…cute and ironic…but what if:
fan “Wow, Santa vs. the Martians! That is one of my favorite films!” 
me : “Gosh, go away, you scare me.”

BTW: Beer Review – Wee Heavy by Sam Adams,
Drink them. It is a Scottish Ale – sweet and spicy. Drink them.  

Hawk’s Beer and Movie Reviews (Yea!)

Good Monday to you all and I hope you had a happy Mother’s day. (Ok, for those of us who are guys, if we survived without major damage we’re in luck.) For me, it was a couple movies, a play, skipping fighter practice, and generally getting up with the baby. (And sleeping a bit in the recliner, for which my back may not forgive me.)

The Play was Alice in Wonderland. I want to congratulate Bob Jones of Madison Alabama for a wonderful play. My son had a relatively obscure part manning a projector under the stage, though he also helped in building the set. I’m glad he is learning a skill in high school.

Movie Reviews: We rented Looper and went to Iron Man 3.

Loopers: I like the concept of a time travel flick. This one is flawed.

What the F’ is this gun? Can they not find guns in 2030? They have flying motorcycles, but …

1) Don’t kill people in the future, all crime is solved….
(except the story hinges on a murder and burning a house down… in the future.)

2) Don’t kill Loopers in the past, it changes the future. (Except maiming the shit out of them doesn’t apparently have any effects until the most recent 10 seconds.)

3) Killing yourself or dying stupidly causes a restart on the loop, except when it doesn’t.

There was a very cool moment when our hero or villain saves his memories of a past that no longer exists… or changes something. It seems very important, except it stops being important and has no further impact on the story. I guess it was the only way the hero could shoot the woman in the end…but it frankly didn’t get enough explanation for me to figure out before now.

Loopers – sucks. Don’t watch it. Maybe 1 star in 5 or something. I wish I had drunk more beer before the 1/2 way point. I left and went to work on dishes.

Iron Man 3: This is obviously the 4th story featuring Iron Man. If you have missed any of the previous stories, go back and watch before you get to this one. Oddly enough, this is the story where he finally breaks down and tries to figure out where he is going.

The Mandarin. ARRRGH!!!  Ok, all throughout I thought – “This guy talks like a loony liberal leftist from a freaking demonstration. He plays all the tropes without a single worthwhile concept.” Pissed me off. (Turns out, it wasn’t supposed to be so obvious, but it was part of the plot.)

Iron Man Mark 42: When they become available for the general public…wait for the upgrade. This is the freaking Windows 2000 of the armor world. The final battle felt like Tony was using 20 suits of Nerf armor and the villain had somehow picked up the “Iconic Villain Slaying Sword” the hero was supposed to have. Hated the final battle
That said, this is easily the best Iron Man movie. Easily. I loved 1 and was ok with 2. Avengers was amazing, of course, but this was a movie. It was long, it had character development, and you got to know the villains and the heroes. It had surprises and it wasn’t all “pow” “biff” “bam”

Iron Man 3: If you don’t see this movie, there will be no point in having a conversation with you in the future.

Beer : Tried a Milk Stout – Left Hand Nitro. nice beer. Really liked it. So far, I love Left Hand Brewery.

Look at that nice head… I assume they shook the bottle first, I’ve poured four of them without generating a cm of head.

Look, if you’ve never had a milk stout, try one. Different. You may hate it, you may love it. I can’t tell you what you will think, but frankly, they are dark and creamy and full of flavor. Enough palate nonsense for two beers at least. As a milk stout, the only crime of a milk stout is being thin and weak. I’ve had a few of those. Brewers look at the library paste they are supposed to be putting in a bottle and think, “Gosh, we should water this down with a couple pale ales so that folks will drink it.” *WRONG* If it forms much of a head, then they watered it down. Milk stouts have a tiny, thin, foam that doesn’t last. It has a mild hop aroma. it has a strong sweetness that overpowers the malt flavor – but you can smell the chocolate malt they could dump on top of all that lactose sweetness. Tastes sweet with coffee and dirt (chocolate). Good stuff. Oh, the Nitro is 6% alcohol, so it’ll give you a wallop. Might should start at the next one down…but damn it was good.

Movie Reviews for this Weekend

Hellbinders Poster                              TRON: Legacy Poster

I saw two movies this weekend, Tron and Hellbinders. No, I’m not recommending you go out and see them. Why? because they both sucked. Oddly enough, they sucked in completely different ways for different reasons.

The Good:

Great action sequences, well delivered fight scenes.
The History, the mythology, the science, all A+.
A good plot: ie. The villains had a plan and a way to enact it, the heroes had a plan and a way to enact it, the side characters were involved and manipulating both sides.

TRON: Legacy
Great Special Effects
Some well thought out devices on the Grid.
Lots of great acting, well delivered lines, believable characters. Even the side characters had a lot of life to them.

The Bad:

The lines they gave the actors were beyond bad. The acting itself went from mediocre to bad. The buddhist monk was probably the only believable character, though the “Soulless” killer (Ray Park) was terribly fun. But heck, even he wasn’t sure about the plot. “I’m only in this to save my friends…well…I guess they are my friends, not like we like each other or something, but they are as close as I’ve got.” Umm… wow, deep motivation to sacrifice your life.

This was the epitome of low budget. The desert was a California beach. The warehouse was used for two unrelated scenes, the same four rooms were used for everything. Besides some spraying blood, it really didn’t do a lot of special effects. Oh, a pile of guts fell out of one chick when she was sliced open… 

Yeah, I drank a beer and a double of rye and had my wife laying across my lap. That’s a 4 shot ranking. Doesn’t get any better (worse) than that.

Plot? Um, the evil (ish) program is going to invade the Earth through a machine that would be lucky to output one at a time if the power was on … oh, and they don’t have guns, just worthless (on Earth) disks and pointy sticks. Yeah, shortest lived invasion ever.

Action got a bit dull. Throwing, shooting, zoom zoom. Ok, its a video game, sure it plays well.

Basically, it fell apart about 1/2 way in and nobody could figure out how to save it. So it cruises on relying on action sequences, character growth, and developing love interest.

How? Oh, our old hero could stop the bad program at any time, but it would probably kill him. SO, he lets the villain kill off an entire species. Complete genocide. He saves 1.  Sorry, I rank  your hero status as ZERO. 

No plot, no science, no reasonable trail of events. Just action – character- and very nice acting.

Oh, I’d probably have liked it a bit more if I had broken into the Rye last night. I frankly gave it 2 shots at the time, but probably would have gone 3 if it wasn’t a school night. Sadly, I really loved the original TRON, and the Legacy makes me weep for crappy plots and half-assed writing, even when led by top actors.

Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil Poster
PS: I also watched Hoodwinked II. Not as good as the original. Fun and stupid, bring a date or bring kids. 1 shot. 

K-19 the Widowmaker

K-19 The Widowmaker was probably the most boring movie that Harrison Ford ever made (60 on rotten tomatoes isn’t fatal). Ya know, if you want a cold-war, war movie, then the submarine corp is not where the excitement was. Movies like Red October are a lot more exciting (95 on rotten tomatoes), but are complete fiction.

The difference is, of course, that k-19 really happened. What happened? The Soviet Union decided that it needed to build a nuclear submarine which would carry a ballistic missile to American shores. The work was rushed and shoddy. The people who were in charge were immune to criticism, so they made decisions based on schedule and parts availability, not the time necessary to complete the job and what parts were necessary.

SO: The K-19 has a crappy reactor, not a modern (1960) design. They did have better designs, but not any available. It needed significantly more coolant to stay safe, it was not built into that design, so the NECESSARY backups were not installed on that submarine…because on the correct reactor they would have been secondary backups.

People died during construction. This isn’t usually a big thing in Russia. When you have drunks doing welding of giant steel plates, people die. When the workers are assigned a job based on which admiral was given command, not on previous work on submarines… significant work fatalities

They didn’t have a lot of necessary radiation gear placed on the K-19… they used chemical gear instead. A ridiculous exchange. They could have done as well with swimsuits.

The commander was a hard-ass Russian, he was a patriot who took orders, and didn’t run home to port at the first sign of trouble. A bit of a mistake that.


Well, the story isn’t completely over according to Google Earth. The ship has been decommissioned and is going to be a bar or motel for retired submariners in Moscow. The ship used to film the movie was sunk, raised, caught fire, and sank again. Looks like trouble followed it home.

The USSR did a lot of damage to the planet. By igniting a nuclear warhead under a US Cruiser and a NATO base, K-19 could have started WWIII. Looks like we lucked out on that one.

Wednesday Fun Stuff

Ok, so what is with the world this year?

Mrs. Osborn being searched like a terrorist!

Tornadoes ripping up my town!

Dr. DNA teaching college! (oh wait, that has been going on longer than this year.)

Still, a terrible prophecy must be about to unfold, or I’m going to be funded for testing, or something equally portentous for world security. I’m retaliating from near certain peril by posting less than serious bits of fluff.

(Yesterday was Monte Python day, if you missed that then you have had your head in a can or something.)

“Just a bit more peril?”

Ok, this is very cute. Yes, I get the politics, but hey, its funny.

Obi-Wan Kenobi Is Dead, Vader Says


Figure 1. Thor Doing Intense

Go See Thor. Look, its a movie, so don’t expect Shakespear. Still, I thought character development was quite nice, especially on Loki, Heimdal, and Lady Sif. Action is well developed without question. The plot is moderately predictable, but it is fun watching them get from Point A to Point B. I love Lady Sif, if she will marry me my wife will sign the papers. (Of course, she wants Thor. Apparently he is “pretty.”) Thor is an Ass, the frost giants aren’t much of an enemy, and his warriors three are about as shallow as possible for characters with speaking parts. Overall, I didn’t feel like I wasted an hour. It has a similar feel to the Iron Man first film, a good bit better than IM 2. Captain America looks like it also will be worth watching.

What is different between this and the older superhero films?
 Look, nobody really bothered acting in Superman. I mean, the girls were there to speak lines, Supes was date candy, and there was a fistfight or two. The film basically sucked. Batman… look, I like Batman films, but they all basically sucked. There wasn’t 10 minutes of acting in 2 hours. Dark Knight was a bit better, but everybody knew it was Camp, and just didn’t turn on their “A game.”

Starting with Spiderman – some of these films have gotten serious. Sure, some of the actors are there for camp, and really don’t act worth a damn, but a lot of the actors bring their A game. Makes the film a lot more watchable. As an example, Anthony Hopkins has an A game which is a ton better than his Odin performance. But, a B game from AH is still quite good, and about par in this movie. Natalie Portman doesn’t have an A game, but her B game is fun. She can do intense well, which helped the serious scenes, but doesn’t have a lot of range well developed. Tom Hiddleston takes the weak-link part and makes it soar. Loki is amazing. I don’t want Loki as a villain, I want him as a hero…anti-hero… can he have his own film?

There, I performed my “movie review” function as promised. I’d review the only other movie I have seen in the last month, but it was the other Natalie Portman film “Your Highness” and I don’t write penis jokes. Oh wait, yes I do…

Figure 2. Jane Foster doing Intense

Your Highness is contains roughly 1 hour of penis jokes. There are approximately 30 minutes of girl’s boobs and Miss Portman’s butt. I liked it, but hey, I’m a guy, what else do you want?

Figure 3. Natalie Portman’s acting assets.