Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Real Ghostbusters Episode Listing

Welcome to The Real Ghostbusters episode listing for my blog.  Blogger doesn't make it easy to keep sets of posts together in a neat package, aside using labels which I think aren't constructed well enough.  I've decided to make it easier to find any particular episode you may wish to look at here while including a link back to this post on each episode page.  I'm positive that season one were episodes 1-13 and are in correct order here but the rest of the episodes I'm just following the Time Life listing.  I hope you find it easy to navigate and enjoy the posts!

Ghosts R Us - Episode 1
Killerwatt - Episode 2
Mrs. Rodger's Neighborhood - Episode 3
Slimer, Come Home - Episode 4
Troll Bridge - Episode 5
The Boogieman Cometh - Episode 6
Mr. Sandman, Dream Me a Dream - Episode 7
When Halloween Was Forever - Episode 8
Look Homeward, Ray - Episode 9
Take Two - Episode 10
Citizen Ghost - Episode 11
Janine's Genie - Episode 12
Xmas Marks the Spot - Episode 13
Knock, Knock - Episode 14
Station Identification - Episode 15
Play Them Ragtime Boos - Episode 16
Sea Fright - Episode 17
The Spirit of Aunt Lois - Episode 18
Cry Uncle - Episode 19
Adventures in Slime and Space - Episode 20
Night Game - Episode 21
Venkman's Ghost Repellers - Episode 22
The Old College Spirit - Episode 23
Ain't NASA-Sarily So - Episode 24

If you like this show then you may also like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Rising Sun – Book Review

Afraid of Japan yet? You will be..

Michael Crichton’s novel about the Japanese business presence in the United States is an interesting read for any who have curiosity about foreigners here in America.  It’s not your typical science fiction thriller he is famous for writing but rather a murder mystery involving high end Japanese businessmen in Los Angeles.  The more I read his novels the more I appreciate what knowledge I’m being instilled with, although a work of fiction he always incorporates as many facts into the story as possible.

                The story centers on a liaison for the Japanese who ends up investigating a mysterious murder a couple floors above a party for the Nakamoto Corporation.  The liaison gets help from an older man who has been around these types of events during his own career.  Together they set out to find the truth as any true detective would be obliged to do.  The most fascinating aspect of the book is learning the business tactics of the Japanese and how they feel superior to Americans.  The Japanese pride themselves on having the best technology and working tediously to stay ahead of everyone else in that field.  They buy out any American company they can to get more of a foothold in this country.  If you don’t know much about the Japanese culture this is a page turner that will put some interesting thoughts into your brain with no doubts.

                As the two men quickly try to unravel what happened on the night of the murder they ultimately focus their attention on video tapes that recorded it.  You learn some about video tapes and what they’re capable of as well which is a neat addition to what’s going on in the story.  It ends up being all about putting pressure on everyone through all sorts of devious acts that culminates in more of a worthy ending for a Crichton novel.  Its true some of his stories don’t wrap up so nicely but the ride throughout is enough to overshadow it.  After finishing the book you either hate the Japanese or realize how inadequate Americans really are in this day in age.  The book shows the good and bad side of the Japanese in a way that makes you want to improve yourself as a result.  I know at least I did. 

                I’ve never seen the movie that corresponds with this book but I’m more eager to now that I’ve read this book.  If you’re into murder and mystery along with trying to figure it all out in a fast paced sequence of events then this will please you most likely.  Crichton has a style that really makes me be able to relate to the character(s) in the story.  He seems to always have at least one person that is simply an everyday type that is thrust into some unforeseen event.  It makes you wonder what you would do if put in that same situation.  It’s a short read as well so take some time during your busy schedule or make it your bathroom reading material for the next week as you relieve yourself.

Valentine's Day, What Lies Beneath & You've Got Mail

There are so many movies to watch in so little time these days that I bring to you another edition of my mini-reviews.  I love to write reviews at length and detail with splendid screen shots but that eats time fast.  I’ve resorted to at least giving some thoughts about movies I’d most likely never want to give my precious time to in a more detailed review.  Without further delay let’s begin.

My mini-reviews are as follows:

Valentine’s Day (2010)

                When I saw the DVD cover for this movie I wanted to see it 100% because of all the familiar faces on it.  I mean isn’t it like 20 or so of them?  Anyway it’s a decent love angle where all the characters intertwine with one another in interesting ways.  There are people you like along with those you despise depending on your view of what love is supposed to be.  Ashton Kutcher is the lead role for the most part and doesn’t annoy me like in so many other parts he’s played.  I’m going to pick one of the stories from one character in particular that really got me in the heart and I didn’t even see it coming.  Julia Roberts plays a soldier flying back home and she sits with Bradley Cooper for nearly the entire movie.  They talk back and forth and entertain you as much as the other little stories but you learn Roberts is coming home to visit someone special.  I immediately think a husband or at least boyfriend but at the end I was moved by even more than that.  She comes home to see her little boy and embraces him after not seeing him for almost a year.  The boy had his own story that gave no indicator of Roberts being the mother or the elderly couple who were Roberts’ parents apparently.  It’s a funny movie with that love deal as well but it’s worth a watch.  I know I ruined the best story for you but it’s possible you can still feel the love in that scene in the right mood.

Rating: 6.5 of 10

What Lies Beneath (2000)

                I was never into movies like this at the time it came out and I’m still not but that’s why we have wives so we can become aware of these anyway.  I like the two leading people Harrison and Pfeifer, well what guy doesn’t like her right?  The movie starts off a bit silly and I found myself laughing while trying to focus on how the story is trying to be serious.  The typical unraveling process of a movie like this isn’t anything special but the acting performances really lift it.  Harrison Ford is a busy as can be man at work while Michelle Pfeifer is a stay at home woman who recently had her only daughter jettison for college.  Pfeifer begins to see a ghost and even suspects her neighbor of murder as she is the one who seems to be losing her marbles.  In a movie like this you always know something is going to have to twist at some point but you get the idea it must be Ford because of the lack of any other characters.  Toward the end it all pieces together that he’s the bad guy who had some love obsessed college girl after him until it resulted in her untimely death.  The depth of Ford and Pfeifer’s characters is acceptable and you understand why Ford did what he did.  It’s not some hogwash story filled with drivel that falls along the lines of a cheap thriller that pops up around October every year.  I’d recommend it since its not gory and nasty but more suspenseful if anything.

Rating: 7 of 10

You’ve Got Mail (1998)

                 In watching this now it’s neat to remember how the beginning of this internet era we live in today all began.  Do you remember that annoying AOL dial up?  When I saw it in the movie it took me right back to those days and I was forever happy dial up died.  Meg Ryan is a silly funny character especially in the movements she makes throughout the movie.  She has a small time book store that prides itself on service and high prices!  Tom Hanks is the corporate monster everybody hates but reluctantly goes to because the prices are so low.  The two of them meet and become enemies to a degree as they learn about each other while maintaining this e-mail connection in which neither of them knows who the other is.  It plays out pretty funny and clever but does drag on for my liking.  I’d imagine females would melt over the romantic way Hanks eventually snags Ryan.  It’s neat to watch Hanks be the corporate raider looking to destroy any bookstore in his path.  It’s possibly as bad as Hanks could ever be anyway; he seems like such a nice guy.  He slowly transforms into a man who grows a heart and longs for more than what his pitiful father is.  He wants that true love with someone who will share it for the long haul.  I especially like how a boy about 5 years old is Hanks brother while a little girl around 10 is his aunt.  No, I’m not making this up it’s actually in the movie!  Watch it and you’ll see, it’s worth it even to a science fiction nut like me where there is 0% of aliens or anything remotely strange and creepy going on.

Rating: 7 of 10

I hope you enjoyed these brief summaries.  Here is a link to my other mini-reviews check them out!
Dark Shadows & Thor

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dreaming of East Chicago?

I had this dream over two weeks ago but it still remains on the surface of my mind.  I’d say a good 99% of all our dreams go forgotten by the time we relieve ourselves shortly after we wake and those that remain, well that’s the mystery.  I don’t know what this dream may be implying but here is what I remember of it.

                I’m riding in the passenger seat of a car while my friend Spanky is driving us.  The area we are driving through reeks of a downtrodden society.  The buildings are mostly abandoned at first glance, lawn maintenance is nowhere to be seen and the overall look of some post apocalyptic scene haunts my vision.  There are a couple shady passengers with us in the back seat and Spanky has the look on his face that everything is well in hand.  I don’t say anything and as we continue to drive the sun is blaring down on us.  I could feel the heat in the dream it was something of an oddity as temperature doesn’t usually play a role in my sleeping stories.  The sky was clear and no clouds could be seen which made this terrible area seem more pleasant than it actual was.

                We eventually arrive at this building with more sketchy people waiting outside as Spanky appears to be dropping off the people in the back seat.  I remember feeling extremely nervous and almost afraid standing awkwardly as I had no clue what was going on.  We soon left and Spanky drove us to another part of this glorious city.  It’s weird how I knew in the dream that we were in East Chicago but it looked nothing of the part that I remember nor did anyone ever confirm it was the place.  We now left the car on foot as Spanky really wanted to sight see around which I felt uncomfortable with as random shadows of figures appeared around alley ways and such.  The strangest thing was we came across an old restaurant building by the name of Wendy’s.  It looked deconstructed in a burnt to the ground type of state without any signs that it was ever on fire.  There were no burned pieces of wood or ash of any kind.  Spanky pointed out an old logo for the restaurant still visible inside and claimed it was the logo used back in the 1980’s.  I still don’t understand his fascination with walking around this place but he seemed to be searching for something but was attempting to hide the fact that he was.

                It ends like that, a cliff hanger of sorts that dreams normally do.  I’m curious as to why it’s been hanging around in my brain for such an extended period of time but this is the mystery of dreams.  If you enjoy this post then you can head over to the link below for more dreams.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jurassic Proportions - BLOG

I have been on my Jurassic Park reviews lately and now I’m much more satisfied with how they are looking.  I had to take time away from everything else to put my perfect touch on this franchise I hold higher than any other as far as movies go.  I’ll get to ‘The Lost World’ & ‘JP3’ with no doubt in the future but for now I hope you thoroughly enjoy the original.  I have a deep rooted passion for the movie and I hope I’ve helped you to love it more than you might have.  I’ll have new content coming but for now check out these Jurassic Park links if you haven’t already:

Jurassic Park - How it's bonded with my DNA

Jurassic Park the movie review

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Photo taken in Hong Kong by me!
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Monday, May 21, 2012

Battleship (2012)

I blend in, ha-ha

What more can you ask for, aliens and bringing the relic Battleship back into action one more time to defend the earth!  The navy is setting up for routine naval exercises off the coast of Hawaii when it’s clear an unknown entity has answered the call sent off into space at long last.  The courageous men and woman (Rihanna!) take the battle directly to the aliens although technologically the odds are tipped against us.  It may take the brave men of naval years past to finally get on even enough waters to stop a possible impending invasion.  It’s an action romp on water that trickles in the science fiction element enough to put it on the worthy list of alien summer blockbusters of all time.  If you don’t agree with me take it up with that spinning ball of metallic death from the movie!

                As much as I like to completely omit the first few scenes in the movie due to that standard type of setup in a movie such as this let’s give it a skim.  You get introduced to two brothers who couldn’t be more opposite of each other.  One is a navy captain who is disciplined and set on a career course for wholesome living while defending the waters of the USA.  He is what all father’s want for their daughters right?  The loser drunk brother is the younger of the two and after a terribly awful attempt to impress the movies eye candy actress gets forced into the navy by his older brother.  The woman he tries to woe ends up being the daughter of the admiral, the one and only Liam Neeson.  The younger brother is likable enough and acts well but the other one lacks in that department.

                Alex, younger brother, eventually rights ‘his ship’ so to speak, ha-ha right?  There is a soccer match that introduces Nagata, a captain who riffs with Alex.  It’s a simple scene showing the unstable nature of Alex and what he needs to do in life to become a better person.  It’s not anything deep with philosophical roots but it’s a blockbuster so it really suffices if you ask me.  Alex has managed to hook up with Sam, Liam Neeson’s daughter, but is too afraid to formally ask the admiral for her hand in marriage.  It’s all part of the shakiness the character goes through in the beginnings of the movie.  The navy embarks on their training exercise skirmishes off the coast of Hawaii which promises to be the last for Alex.  Stone, Alex’s older brother, feels he failed his brother as he tried his best to help his brother attain a good life.  It’s a classic brotherly bond that fits right into the simplicity of what we’ll call a story for now.  Rihanna also makes her appearance around this time and she really does well in the supporting role.  It’s around this point that I briefly begin to demand some alien action to occur.  You can only take about 15-20 minutes of blockbuster story before you want to ‘boo’.  Alas my thoughts were heard and now we get to the part I enjoy.

Heart Cookie Courtesy of Pink Panda Craft Shop
                A super satellite was launched into space to harness the power to send a signal to a distant planet in another galaxy in hopes of communication.  The basis behind this is to find a planet with suitable environments to travel to.  Humans are bent on migrating to another world I’m telling you.  It’s not a complex setup which does take away some excitement but it’s solid enough of an idea to work for this movie.  Finally five foreign objects in space are headed straight for earth but they collide with each other.  Were the aliens driving drunk?  How do you travel across galaxies only to crash into one another at the last second?  A rebel alien decided not to go along with the plan to check earth out?  There are quite a few possibilities but nothing is explained at all.  It doesn’t hinder the flow though as the communications ship crashes into Hong Kong!  I was cracking up at that only because my wife is from Hong Kong and she has that look on her face like why us?  The other ships head straight for a small building with satellites in Hawaii that sent the signal originally.  The aliens are quick to set up communications with their home world and that represents the basis for the rest of the movie.  The aliens come across as humanoid with superior intelligence to humans overall, although they’re not so far advanced that we can’t hang tough with them.

                What ends up happening is the aliens form an impassable shield around the Hawaiian Islands that cut off everything except for three destroyers and one ancient surprise.  What’s that surprise, well I’ll tell you later, ha-ha, don’t I suck?  Alex, Stone, Nagata and Rihanna are all trapped inside engaging against some amphibious vehicles the aliens operate.  It doesn’t go well for them as they end up losing all three destroyers and Stone perishes with his ship.  It’s sounds sad but his acting needed to be stopped and a timely placed death healed that.  I’m not a monster I just want the movie to be more entertaining that’s all.  There is a typical despair Alex goes through as all this wildness is occurring and thrusting him into the position of captain.  I felt a bit of sorrow as Stone died but I always feel properly placed sacrifice in a movie can really do wonders if you allow yourself to feel it.  I know it’s a blockbuster but it’s fairly well done and I was impressed.

                Liam Neeson is stuck on the outside of this barrier so we don’t see much of him throughout the movie, pity because he played the role very good.  The down and almost out sailors are forced to life boats to drift along helplessly thinking earth is doomed.  The aliens many times chose not to kill humans when given the chance and only did so when the fearful humans attacked first.  I got the feeling the aliens were on earth to do something else but it’s never clearly defined which for me is disappointing.  I always love a good purpose from aliens along with origins but I don’t fret it much this time.  The aliens launch crazy spinning wheels of clanky mayhem throughout the movie that demolish key points to inhibit humans but not destroy them.  That’s something else I noticed as I watched, it seemed the aliens were harvester like in that they wanted something we had.  It’s impossible to know and speculation is all we can offer ourselves, again sadly.

For lack of movie stills, you're stuck with me
                Our heroes Alex and company resort to one last means of stopping the aliens.  They become aware that the satellites on Hawaii are what the aliens are trying to use to contact their world so they head for earth’s last hope.  The Battleship ‘Missouri’ is the surprise secret I was talking about, not that you couldn’t figure it out for yourself anyway!  Alas our heroes have no clue how to operate such an ancient ship or as Nagata called it, “A museum.”  The weary men and Rihanna fear it really may be over when a new source of hope presents itself.  The veterans of naval years from long ago appear all over the Battleship like they live there or something.  It’s a rousing feeling that stirs up your emotions as you suddenly feel it’s finally all coming together!  The battleship is described as ‘tough to sink’ and they’re going to need every advantage they can get.  It’s quite hilarious to see the veterans working with the younger people.  If ever a movie has shown us that old people or handicap people aren’t useless in this world then its battleship.  It’s fantastic and it’s done admirably. 

                The showdown ensues as the Battleship converges on the mountain top full of communications that needs to be shut down.  On the way they come across the generator ship for the shield so Captain Alex decides to risk all to destroy it to make way for reinforcements.  It’s a true alien @$$ kicking scene you can’t help but go wild for as Alex makes a daring move to dodge the alien fire then send devastating counter fire right back.  They have only one shot left and aim for the communications as they all are prepared to make it their last fight.  The shield from the alien technology goes down and Liam Neeson orders every fighter plane to aid the ancient ship.

                Action movies with explosions normally really do not excite me but I give credit to this attempt.  Ships sunk, alien warships were vulnerable and death occurred in masses to keep the movie at a level consistent with what might happen if this actually happened.  I never found myself thinking, ‘Yeah like that would happen or Are you kidding me?’  What becomes of the remaining aliens is unknown but its left open to ponder what they were up to in the first place.  I’d say action fans would be pleased most with this movie with science fiction fans not far behind.  I’d like to breakdown this movie more but I want to get this out there nice and fresh so it can help you decide if you’d like to go out and see it!  I recommend it highly but you probably already guessed that didn’t you?

                Rating: 8.5 of 10

I’ve used my own images for this review and hope you find them suitable.
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dark Shadows & Thor

I’ve been able to get back to that ‘spare time’ I was lacking the previous weeks to bring you some more content.  I do hope you enjoyed the ‘Gay Marriage’ proposition I posted recently as I really did have a splendid time writing it.  I watched some new movies, for me anyway, including ‘Thor’ and ‘Dark Shadows’.  I also watched an old friend ‘Lost World Jurassic Park’.  Can you guess which I’m most likely to want to review?  I also put the finishing touches on a ‘revamp’ of my post recalling why I love Jurassic Park so much.  I had to go back to my roots and make sure I was satisfied with that post so I added more content along with photos.  The direct link for it is here:

My mini-reviews are as follows:

Dark Shadows (2012)

                The special effects in the movie are just as good as they can be in this day in age but that’s not why we wanted to see this movie right?  The story is a poopie if you ask me.  I know with Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeifer you’d have talent to work with but it’s just not ‘unique’ in that (normally?) Tim Burton way.  I love to see made up worlds from the mind of this man but this world reminds me of ‘Pirates of the Carribbean’ or something that’s out of a ‘normal’ setting.  Tim Burton and normal don’t get along, they’re polar opposites.  That’s why I admire most of what he does but I’ll leave it alone for now at least.  The actress playing the ‘witch’ character was awful and sucked up too much screen time for my general liking.  Her strange attraction for Johnny Depp is just too impossible to believe even in a silly movie like this and that’s sad.  The movie does have some solid ‘ha-ha’ moments but other than that it’s discouraging as we’re used to seeing higher quality stuff from Burton and Depp.  If Depp is a vampire then hasn’t he created a small army of them by the time the movie ends considering how many he bit?  It’s not a thinking movie, just laugh when you’re supposed too.  There is an actual moving scene when a small boy gets abandoned by his father over greed basically, I do want to give that the attention it deserves.  If you’re into the vampire phase right now you’ll probably like this more but I for one thought this one to be a dud.

                Rating: 4 of 10

Thor (2011)

                The superhero wave keeps coming at us and you’d better get used to it.  I’m fairly unfamiliar with this storyline but it’s interesting I’ll credit it that.  The nine different realms picks at my science fiction brain that at least held my attention.  I also only watched it when I found out Natalie Portman was in it, sue me.  Alas she is no more than a giddy schoolgirl nerd falling head over heels for the almighty Thor.  Did I mention he got tazed?  That was probably the best moment for me in the entire movie!  Or was it when the doctors gave him a shot to calm his nerves?  Either way you may or may not know what I’m rambling on about so I’ll stop now.  Thor is the typical immature young man, who wants to make his father proud.  He does something stupid, gets banished to earth (wow, who would’ve thought) and must learn the true meaning of being a king.  Thor aside, even though it’s his movie and he looks like Brad Pitt, Loki is the character to keep an eye on.  It’s Thor’s sidekick bro but he’s a complex guy which really makes me wonder about him.  You see there are these ice giants (the enemy) who Loki is unknowingly a part of since he has spent his entire life with Thor and his race.  Now it’s not a major game changer since Loki just wants to please daddy (Anthony Hopkins) like Thor does and eventually doesn’t get picked to be the future king or something.  It’s a familiar story and there is nothing unique to set it apart except the ‘terminator Cyclops’ hybrid enemy Thor must defeat near the end.  Seriously what was that thing?  Oh yea SHIELD is also in this movie but seems more like a ‘has to be there’ type of deal when it’s just extra.  I’m not sold on Thor but he does have a very well trimmed beard.

                Rating:  4.5 of 10

Here is a link to my other mini-reviews check them out!
Valentine's Day, What Lies Beneath & You've Got Mail

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gay Marriage - BLOG

Marriage is between a man and a woman the last time I checked.
the social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies

This is the first explanation on the website and thus will be taken as what is ordained to be most correct.  Why go with number two when number one is always easier right?  It’s a joke take your time.  Sensitive people please stick with me; I’m only loosening you up.

                Homosexuals are making quite a big deal about getting married to one another, especially as election year looms.  Am I missing something or are the homosexuals trying to imitate heterosexual behavior?  Now put your mind in a place of understanding by allowing the concept of how behavior affects people.  It’s clear that men and women differ in behavior, particularly natural instinctive behavior correct?  If you get two of the same gender behaving generally the same to one another, then a different end result would begin to formulate.  What I’m suggesting is perhaps marriage isn’t the actual path homosexuals are supposed to be following, but do they even realize it?  They're obviously trying to go in the opposite direction of the flow so why not commit to a whole new culture instead of copying from an existing one (marriage) that isn't set up for their lifestyle?  I think they're lazy.  Well consider it, they are clearly prideful of their behavior and demand an equality that isn't even necessary.  Instead of creating a new label for the action they are striving for they opt to cling to what their counterparts in sexuality preference use.  Now do you see where I’m going with this?  It’s an ever-changing world and it’s possible a new explanation is needed to describe what homosexuals seem to be going after.  Shouldn't the homosexuals have another term used to describe their 'joining together'?  Perhaps they need to regroup back in the closet and rethink their purpose, I'm terrible aren't I?

                Look I’m not interested in the fight for or against ‘gay marriage’.  Think about all the times you either checked “single”, “married”, “divorced” etc. boxes while filling out forms, now add a new box entitled, “in league”.  Here read this -
There you have it, “a covenant or compact made between persons, parties, states, etc., for the promotion or maintenance of common interests or for mutual assistance or service.”

Right you see ‘promotion’ standing out because all this jibber jabber about homosexuals ‘joining together’ is promoted by protests, parades or rainbows.  They are promoting themselves to be together by any means they can.  Why not just make up a new classification so everyone can be at ease?  The heterosexuals will still have their ‘marriage’ and the homosexuals will get this brand new ‘in league’ status to be gay about, sorry I had to, don’t take it personal.

This next bit is a tad off topic of ‘gay marriage’ but I felt like adding it.

Down the road I wonder if a homosexual couple will adopt children while raising them up to be homosexuals as well.  Wouldn't that be the course of action they would attempt?  I doubt a heterosexual couple would intentionally raise their offspring to be homosexual.  The natural tendency of humans is to head for the opposite sex so I'd imagine those teenage years would be even wilder than they already would be!  “Try dating that guy son, ‘but the girls look so much better, uh dad’s’.”  I know what some of you might be thinking now in your rage of reading this outrageous blog, what about the people who are born homosexuals?  Let's consider how many people believe in evolution, in this day in age I'm sure it’s growing by the day.  If you know anything about evolution you'd know it’s the "only the strongest survive" type of deal.  Now if people are being born to attract naturally only to the same sex than the human race is no longer evolving in a way that would ensure their survival.  If no one mated in the long run then humanity's time is already numbered.  In my view it’s a scapegoat to justify the simple choice of homosexuality, that's right believe it or not it's still a choice.  Its human nature to escape any type of negativity regarding the actions we take so claiming it’s something that occurs in the womb that is out of our control will deflect the guilt one has in being homosexual.  It's not my fault I was born this way!  Unless you're Lady Gaga I don't think that will hold up.  

"To me I can understand why they wanna get married.  However, I don't understand why homosexuals would like to have kids."  -my wife

“Marriage is for opposite genders so if they want to chase that feeling then they are deceiving themselves, you see?  This is why new terminology would be more fitting to their cause.” –me

I hope I’ve stirred the pot up but also helped you realize something you may never have even thought about in an entirely new status title for our gay neighbors.  A new era in this country is coming so why not get a jump on it by simmering the hatred while we can before it gets too bothersome.  Go vote YES on ‘in league’ status and deny ‘gay marriage’ while supporting it at the same time, in a way.  I’m a confusing SOB aren’t I?

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

When Halloween Was Forever

Episode 8 – Season 1

Samhain has always been my favorite ghostly villain in the Ghostbusters world but upon assessing this episode’s overall use of him has left me a tad disappointed.  I love the back-story on Samhain; the originator of Halloween has a spooky ring to it.  I really like the character design for him as well, the pumpkin head truly represents the holiday.  I would have liked to see a more dominant presence or act done by him through the course of the episode but it doesn’t happen.  He’s mere eye candy in most scenes and his apparent ignorance of the Ghostbusters leads to a sour ending for me.

Peter doesn't hit on Cynthia?
The Ghostbusters begin the episode trapping spirits on Halloween day, very fitting.  The rise of spirit activity has sky rocketed and even caused the ghosts to be more difficult to trap than usual as noted by Winston.  If it’s tough for him I can only imagine what the other three scientists must be going through with their weaker physical prowess.  Cynthia Crawford, a reporter, is on the story of the recent ghostbustings going on throughout the city.  I like her presence in the episode and it’s a shame she’s not integrated into the show more.  She would have been able to connect the Ghostbusters events to the general public more, solid possibilities were there.  Later at home after watching the report on TV Peter, as the TV is turned off, says, “I think we’ve seen that three more times than we had too.”  Winston states, “I don’t like it.”  Peter adds, “Me either, I always look terrible on TV” one of the funnier moments this episode.

You might want to avoid carving this pumpkin.
Egon is figuring out why the increased spiritual activity is occurring, in a less than overall entertaining scene.  Slimer is funnier than usual as he searches for candy in Peter’s jumpsuit during the conversation they’re all having.  Peter earlier in the scene threatened Egon by using Slimer to slime his sock, Egon conceded while Peter rewarded Slimer with a lollipop.  Egon is suspicious that the Halloween legends may be true but he hasn’t quite been sold.  You have to admire his stubborn tenacity in discovering the truth.  Meanwhile at a museum two goblins release Samhain from his tomb which is awesome.  It’s a great intro scene for him but alas it may be one of the few moments done right to do him the justice he deserves.  You get to see the immediate effects of his power as he flies through the night bringing supernatural activity to high levels.  The music selection is a bit lame from the actual soundtrack it’s taken from, sad times.

Blindly rushing out to face the supernatural forces!
Later at night in the firehouse Egon and Ray are working together on some random machine when it breaks all of a sudden.  Egon thought they were building a “Spectral Differentializer” while Ray thought it was a toaster.  It doesn’t sound like it would be that funny, but it actually is!  Janine answers the door for some trick-or-treaters but gets scared by the two goblins who released Samhain and the guys head out in a frenzy trying to get a handle on the situation.  Samhain meanwhile has the power to make lesser ghosts gravitate toward him unwillingly; he ‘reels in’ Slimer so to speak atop a tall building.  Samhain senses Slimer helps mortals and despises him for it.  Samhain seems to be building up an army of ghosts for his plans but has no knowledge of the containment unit’s plethora of ghosts.  Wouldn’t it be wild if Slimer was forced to reveal that information to him?  I believe that plot course could have provided a more exciting finish to the episode.

Light doesn't brighten up everyone's day.
Ghosts are meanwhile terrorizing the city as the Ghostbusters, on foot, try to capture them all.  Where’s ecto-1 guys, how can you trap more than four ghosts?  Are they running back to the firehouse to empty each trap, no they probably are just slacking and not catching many ghosts.  Peter probably convinced them since they’re not getting paid for this to take it easy, ha-ha!  They figure out that time is stopping and it dawns on them that Halloween will last forever.  Samhain is finally pissed off at them as he slams a section of brick wall near them forcing them to recognize him.  It’s the scene in the episode that really saves it even though it’s not the best it still could be.  I didn’t like Peter recalling a line from the actual movie about showing Samhain the town, it wasn’t a good line.  Samhain tells them to stop bothering him and his “little ones” as he annoyingly says too much for my liking.  I do love it when he states very evilly, “I am Halloween.”  I’ve always felt Halloween and the Ghostbusters is the best possible combination for a successful story.  The legend of Halloween that only the Ghostbusters can stop!  I like the power of Samhain to cause global eternal night.  That’s a big-time supernatural power to possess and he wasted no time in using it.  How they stop that is beyond me, we’re talking about an immense amount of spiritual energy aren’t we?  Alas Egon discovers his weakness, light!  So along with the Gremlins, two of my all-time favorite evil entities hate light.

I'm surprised Slimer didn't eat the pumpkin first.
The ending is disappointing.  Egon gets search lights in position below Samhain’s haunted building in a silly way.  He tricks a pair of ghosts driving a small car to pull several giant lights into place as the others march up the building busting ghosts methodically.  Samhain faces them on the top by holding Slimer hostage, weak!  You have the power of eternal darkness on a worldwide scale while becoming stronger as a result of it and you try to hold Slimer hostage?  The Ghostbusters neglect to blast him several times in the confrontation which is odd behavior especially from Winston, he always shoots first!  It’s an uninteresting conversation between the forces when Ray simply shouts, “Pizza!” to get Slimer away from his tortured state in Samhain’s grasp.  I can imagine Samhain reading the script for this episode and muttering, “This is major B.S.”  Egon blasts the light on the top of the building and Samhain gets trapped.  Isn’t Samhain strong enough to resist the beams in the very least?  As the Ghostbusters put Samhain to rest in the containment unit they use their newly installed ghost scope to view him inside.  He sits patiently looking quite annoyed at his current predicament.  Janine turns off the power and has Slimer float inside a pumpkin to scare the crap out of the Ghostbusters!  In that sense it ends on a funny note.

I still like this episode enough for the presence of Samhain and the great potential story behind his very existence.  I admit being disappointed but thus is the world of the Real Ghostbusters.

Rating: 9 of 10


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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Catch Me if You Can (2002)

The chase is on as an FBI agent tracks down a man cashing phony checks all over the world.  The main plot is creative but it’s the side stories throughout that really makes or breaks the movie depending on how you enjoy them.  I like the young Frank’s never quit desire he learns from his dad to do the best he can for his parents, particularly his father.  The bond they had was what put an emotion into this movie that later was picked up by the FBI agent.  I’ll elaborate on it as we go through the movie.

Can't dance out of your tax problems.
                It all starts in 1963 when life is good for the Abagnale family living in New York.  They’re wealthy, happy, dancing and Frank Abagnale (Christopher Walken) is winning awards at his club.  Frank Sr. is married to a French woman he thinks is the best thing since sliced bread as far as his words are concerned.  His looks at brief times tend to say otherwise.  He’s proud of the means he snagged his wife over in France when there was heavy competition for her.  Their son Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a somewhat mischievous young man of 16 years of age.  As far as the beginning of the movie is concerned this is the American dream being displayed.  He pretends, in his new school, to be the French substitute teacher which draws nothing but laughter from his father.  It’s here that you first experience Frank Jr. impersonating to be someone else, it’s very funny.

I run in and shoot once or twice?
                Times get tough for the Abagnale’s though as Frank Sr. is busted for tax evasion I believe, well he’s under investigation at the very least.  The wealth falls away like leaves in autumn as does the happiness and the dancing, too bad.  I really admire the father’s devotion to his son; he teaches him as many life lessons as he can through this difficult phase in life.  Frank Jr. grasps all the knowledge his father gives to him.  I liked to see the excitement in young Frank as he acquired his father’s experiences.   For me I truly loved to see the father open a checking account for his son so he could be “in their club”.  Chase bank denied Frank Sr. a loan to cover his business simply because he wasn’t a client and he was a risk.  He didn’t want his son to face harsh times for a life he chose that isn’t rewarding anymore.  It means something to me to see the father put aside his own troubles to better his offspring.  It’s one of my favorite Christopher Walken performances in a movie too.

If he were a turtle, he'd be shell-shocked.
                It gets worse as the mother wants a divorce.  It’s obvious the dwindling cash flow is what drives her into the desire to leave.  She is a materialistic person while leaving love as a secondary aspect to her life, it’s sad.  She also is seeing one of her husband’s friends on the side which Frank Jr. discovers.  Did I mention this mistress she sees has wealth?  She basically bribes her own son to keep quiet about it and you feel the pain of a broken home befalling you.  If you were ever part of one you know the inner conflict and burdens you face through the process, I would know.  I feel sorry for Frank Sr. as he is losing nearly everything at once.  He has heart and conviction with his family and it’s always difficult to watch a decent man go down.  He should have paid taxes and it bites him severely.  Frank Jr. is forced to choose between his parents in an emotionally touching scene.  His father, being the strong person, tries to make it sound as if it’s nothing major.  Conflicted, Frank Jr. runs away in pain and confusion.  The emotion in the movie’s beginnings is well performed.

Boys and their toys am I right?
                Frank Jr., now out on his own, tries to use phony checks everywhere but doesn’t succeed at first.  He learns what his father taught him about the Yankees and remembers they always win because everyone is staring at their pinstripe uniforms.  Whether this illusion is true or not is not the focal point itself.  He observes pilots, who are like common day athletes. They’re highly looked upon and it’s the uniform that catches the eye of one’s attention.  Through a series of scams he becomes a trainee, so to speak, type of pilot or even ‘dead head’.  This is where he begins to really get into his craft at making fake checks.  I love the sticker he gets off the airplane toys for his paychecks!  He wants to get all the money and the old lifestyle back for his family.  He begins this illegal operation with the most meaningful intentions you see.  The troubled attitude he displays of his parents separation is also noteworthy, it’s sad.  He wanted a normal American life but it ends up being anything but that.

You can't fool your old man.
                He meets with his dad for dinner showing off that he’s a pilot.  He offers him a brand new car in good spirit but his dad refuses.  What would his dad do if caught in that car?  How could it be explained?  Frank Jr. didn’t think it through that well he just wanted to make his dad happy knowing he wasn’t.  It’s a heartfelt scene I connected with as Frank Sr. was broken but holding it together during his conversation with Frank Jr.  They discuss how he met his mother and that he was the only man in the room who got her.  Christopher Walken impresses and dominates the scene.  Frank Sr. closes the dinner by telling his son in a sly way that he knows his son is no pilot but he doesn’t disapprove of it.  As Frank Jr. thought he had everyone fooled around him he is still learning lessons from his father.  I believe moments such as that are what drive Frank Jr. to be so detailed in his ruses later on.

You don't cross Tom Hanks gentlemen.
                Frank Jr. takes plane trips all over and our new pal Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks), FBI agent, catches up to him at a hotel.  On the drive to the hotel Carl is driving with two agents joining him.  They insist he is far too serious at his job and want to hear a joke from him.  Carl tells a knock, knock joke as his buddies ask whose there, he replies, “Go fxck yourselves.”  Possibly the best scene in the movie is Carl meeting Frank Jr. in the hotel room.  As the very nervous pencil pusher Carl has Frank Jr. cornered in the room at gunpoint Frank Jr., quick with the wits, convinces Carl he is a secret service agent who just caught the perp.  Luckily for Frank Jr. he was in the bathroom when Carl barged in shouting FBI!  I believe that gave him enough time to think his way out of it.  He was also wearing a black suit to further imply he was indeed working for the government as well.

Frank Jr. is this close to soiling himself I'd say.
                Carl demands I.D. and Frank Jr. hands over his entire closed wallet to him.  At that moment you can see Frank Jr. fearful that his run of luck may be over.  All Carl needs to do is open the wallet!  Frank Jr. heads to the window to see a blind man he briefly knows from the hotel being assisted into a car.  It does rather look like he’s being arrested to the unsuspecting Carl.  The word luck spills from my lips every time I watch this scene as it’s very well done.  Frank Jr. manages to sneak out with his printing press, he claims is ‘evidence’, as Carl lets out a huge sigh of relief believing the case was closed.  He wants to return the wallet to Frank Jr. but he says he trusts him with it.  Alone in the room Carl is curious and opens the wallet to see a bunch of labels from various products, a habit of Frank Jr’s. is collecting labels.  Carl has been had as he looks out the window to see Frank Jr. running away.

Santa can't save you from me boy!
                At Christmas Carl speaks with Frank Jr. about the mishap at the hotel, over the phone.  Frank Jr. tries to apologize for embarrassing him and that he didn’t want to resort to it.  Frank Jr. is a bit down and levels with Carl even telling him exactly where he is.  You also learn here that Carl has a daughter who is four, but he never gets to see her much.  This is when you discover an aching man who has a failed marriage so he dives into his work to hide the pain.  Suddenly you feel sorry for Carl in a way because he seems like a good enough man.  I believe Frank Jr. connects with that then abruptly hangs up as Carl states he has no one else to call even on Christmas.  Frank Jr. begins to realize that living on the run has its disadvantages around the holidays.  Shortly after Carl finds out that Frank Jr. is but a teenager.  Carl is very diligent in his research and that impresses me.  It’s nothing unrealistic but rather just a hard working individual chasing the ultimate result of capture.

                The next portion of the movie I wasn’t terribly fond of.  Frank Jr. learns that he has become the “Skyway Man” in the newspapers.  He is becoming famous for flying free.  He decides to become a doctor and then a lawyer all the while he falls for Brenda (Amy Adams).  Obviously the young Frank wants something resembling a normal life.  As he pretends to be a doctor and lawyer he learns the lingo from watching the corresponding television shows which is silly but funny.  He wants to marry Brenda and quit his ways of check fraud.  Why not he has countless dollars packed into suitcases at this point.  He calls up Carl and asks him to stop chasing him, yeah right.  Carl denies him that request naturally and informs Frank Jr. that he will be caught.

                Frank Jr. meets with his father to invite him to his wedding.  Frank Sr. is complaining about the government saying he made a deal with them to accept a job as a postman to cover the tax situation but they still want more.  Frank Jr. desperately tries to coax his father into coming and to bring mom.  Frank Jr. still wants the old life back but his father knows it’s in the past now.  Frank Sr. is crushed, you see a man who has lost it all.  I can’t say enough for Walken’s continued performance in this movie, I admire it.  He informs his son he’s proud he has the government on the run for him but he can’t stop now.  Frank Jr. conflicted once more heads off not knowing what lies ahead.

                Carl catches up to Frank Jr. at his wedding engagement party.  Frank Jr. tells Brenda the truth about his life and begs her to come away with him in two days at Miami.  She isn’t a bright girl and is very troubled at the reality of the situation.  Who could blame her?  A random doctor wants to marry her while he’s changing careers to be a lawyer?   How odd is that?  He leaves out the window, of course, and escapes moments before Carl enters the room.  Why not give chase to him then?  He can’t be far.  It’s obvious he recently escaped out the window!  Why is this a “let him get away again” point?  Carl is a tedious serious man and suddenly giving up on this trail seems off.  The entire segments of the doctor and lawyer deal are iffy.  It stretches the previously believable scams to levels I didn’t enjoy as much.

The French are idiots Carl! Let's go to London!
                It’s a set up at Miami airport that forces Frank Jr. to think of a new exit strategy for leaving the country.  Brenda obviously spilled the beans about the alleged plan to meet at the airport.  I know Frank Jr. is young but he seems like a very clever person so how did he NOT see this one coming?  You knew Carl was in the house when you escaped so you knew he would be questioning the crap out of anyone he could get around.  Never mind this let’s say we push forward.  Let’s just jump ahead a bit as Frank Jr. escapes narrowly on a plane to Europe.  He uses random high school girls to surround him at Miami airport in the disguise of flight attendants.  It’s a somewhat funny gag but at this point it’s just reaching too far for me.  It took too long to set up the one scene it was building toward.  By now I want Carl to bust this kid!  Carl is told by his superiors he let him get away which stings him.  In a way it’s the truth, he did all he could be couldn’t catch a mere teenager.  He tracks him to France; the town Frank’s mother grew up in, and arrests him at long last.  The French government wants to kill Frank Jr. for stealing so much money from them and I’d agree with them.    
                Frank Jr. eventually gets completely out of control as he imagines that he is uncatchable and free to do as he pleases around the globe.  Frank Jr’s. game comes to an end as he’s thrown into a French prison for awhile.  Carl after years of persistence gets Frank Jr. back to the states.  It’s on the plane ride he learns that his father had died which tears him apart inside.  Your reckless adventures around the world made you lose sight of the people you began to do this for in the first place.  He ends up working for the FBI fraud check department, with Carl, for the remainder of his sentence.

                It’s a back and forth chase that gets a bit too unrealistic.  Now considering this movie is trying to portray a true story you expect it to not venture into such extreme situations so often.  The way Frank Jr. always escapes is monotonous.  When he finally does to Europe why not just steal “X” amount of dollars, buy a house and live out your life?  Or how about taking care of dad, isn’t that what you wanted all along?  Why keep going so long, the thrill of the chase?  For all the cleverness and ingenuity Frank Jr. had he succumbed to adventures backlash of being caught.  I’m surprised the French didn’t kill him when they had the chance.  He stole a lot of money.  The performances of Tom Hanks and Christopher Walken are what kept me watching.  I enjoyed the father-son testament they portrayed to young Frank as he had gone through life so precariously.  The side stories flopped a bit but the grand scheme of the check fraud is interesting enough to tie the parts I liked together.  The movie really suffers from just being too long.

                Rating: 8 of 10

I’ve used my own images for this review and hope you find them suitable.
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Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Shining Ones - Book Review

As I have completed reading my 11th novel this year, which is beyond record setting for me this year, I have a yearning to extend my book reviews beyond the one paragraph summary I've been doing thus far.  I've been able to stick to my New Year’s Resolution to read more and it’s delightful to remember that there’s a whole other world out there written down to explore.  Reading has affected me in more than one way no doubt but the way my mind leaves the “real world” and emerges into a book is extremely relieving.  The tires and rigors of a job can be pushed aside while the sometimes mundane daily occurrences in life can be overshadowed.  To conclude this introduction I suppose what I’m getting at is I recommend to incorporate reading into your life, its far more worthwhile than I remember from the years ago when I read more often.

                This is the second book of “The Tamuli” and you’re probably wondering why I chose to begin my book reviews in the middle of a series.  I actually didn't put any thought into sharing the books I've read as much that’s why.  I own books 1 – 3 of this Tamuli series to get a taste of what the fantasy genre is all about.  I’ve owned these books for around 10 years at least and finally cracked them open while blowing off an inch of dust.  I’ve always been a science fiction person and most likely will be until the day I die, there’s so much possibility in the unknown of that universe that enthralls me.  My experience in the fantasy universe has left me wanting to branch out to at least one more genre of books.

                The author, David Eddings, writes amazingly well.  I couldn't explain in words actually how well it’s written, that’s why I’m not the author.  It’s a fantasy novel but it doesn't read like it most times.  What I mean is that it’s easy to read and an extensive background in folklore or goblins isn't at all necessary.  I've always had the predetermined idea that fantasy books weren't educational enough to be worthwhile reading, basically.  I never had that complete thought in my mind until I chose to put it into words for sake of this review but I more or less was thinking it.  It’s quite interesting the things you can learn to help improve yourself in a positive way through reading such a book as this.  I’m not talking about how to kill a ten foot troll but how you can improve your conversational skills which I’m not at all highly skilled in. 

                I’d hate to ruin a novel such as this by spoiling it for you so I won’t.  If you find yourself wanting to break off from a bad habit or simply change things up in life I’d look no further than reading.  The Tamuli series is as good a place to begin as any so get cracking.

                I’ll leave you with a bit of a tease as to how this story goes.  In the world that is created by David Eddings an evil has already been stirring up trouble here and there.  Ancient armies of long past are rising from the dead to serve an evil cause.  A well known hero named Sparhawk with the aid of his allies will do what they can to defeat the evil in their world.  There is also something else that makes this story somewhat different, Bhelliom.  What is it and how does it make this book unlike a typical “hero must save the world” story is up to you to read for yourself.

                Here is the back of the book summary in case I didn't quite interest you enough in it.