Thursday, October 09, 2014

Gone Girl: The Movie

This movie snuck up on me out of no where. I feel like I should have known about it, though, given how many people I know who have since confessed to having read the novel. I fully intend to give Gone Girl a read after this fantastic film adaptation. There are a few things that may keep a viewer from enjoying this movie, however, which I don't feel are flaws with the film. Overall, though, I highly recommend viewing it before reading anything else about it as a lot of what makes this movie as good as it is though is the way it carefully manages the revelation of plot twists and important information throughout the run time. This makes a really good discussion of the quality of the film dependent upon information that would constitute significant spoilers. So, you'll have to trust me, and then read the rest of this later.

The first part of the movie drags and feels predictable, reaching a point where a thoughtful viewer may safely conclude that either everything is as it seems and the movie will be straight forward and mediocre, or a bad twist is in store that will tank the movie for the sake of being surprising, or that there is a really well developed twist coming. This part of the movie is the most difficult to watch. It's well filmed and acted, and the music is well done, but it feels very straightforward and uninteresting. We've seen this movie before, where we slowly see that the supposed victim appear to be the criminal.

It initially feels so bland that the twists that make up the movie would be a complete surprise if it weren't for the fact that the film is developed by David Fincher. It's pretty clear that the movie had places to go with a director like this, and it goes to them. Gone Girl is a brilliant and thoughtful thriller with clever twists and turns all the way up until the end. The list of actors and actresses all deliver brilliant performances and the film itself is technically superb in its execution. The cinematography and direction underline the themes of the film constantly and deliver the story to spectacular effect.

This is a must see for fans of genius psychological thrillers and is genius in the horror of the finale. I strongly recommend seeing this film.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Some Days

Life is so full of obstacles that are either so trivial or impossible to overcome that success or failure is generally meaningless. A guaranteed outcome is ultimately empty, you tried the impossible or you accomplished the expected.

It is when life sends you a challenge that is on the very edge of what is possible that should make your blood pump. These opportunities are few and far between and they push you to be faster, stronger, smarter... in a word, they challenge you to be better. Your very best. These challenges must be embraced for what they are, the opportunity to be incredible. These challenges should be embraced to the fullest, because they do not present themselves every day, and because they mean so much.

Some days you just have to be a badass.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

As It Happens

It turns out that some people do read my blog. Thank you so much to those who commented on my last post! I will leave commenting turned on, and limit my anti spam to just using captcha.

I've been absorbing a lot of great media lately. I've seen a good number of movies recently and read a large number of books. My favorite book that I have recently finished was easily Homeland by Cory Doctorow, and my favorite recent movie was surprisingly Noah.

All the movies I have seen in theater have been pretty solid though. The weakest one is easily Captain America: The Winter Soldier. When it was all said and done, the movie was only a little better than an average super hero movie. The big standout next to Noah was The Muppets: Most Wanted. I LOVE the recent Muppet movies. They're immensely enjoyable and the new one was as funny as the old one.

Noah was a surprise, though. There haven't been very many good movies based on the bible in years and years and years. It's a genre that tends to get flooded with movies that target a very small audience with greatly differing standards that also tends to be too divisive to do what needs to be done to make a good movie. Noah does it. It really gets into the really cool pre flood biblical mythology. Fallen angels, people living hundreds of years, and the like. It depicts a man who is genuinely concerned with purpose and what is wanted from him, and has some very cool psychological tension. I would recommend this movie to anyone, I liked it a lot. It was a genuinely good movie.

Also, my back yard is getting cozier and more developed. Time to start working on a patio to keep chairs and a table on next to the fire pit I just built.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why We Can't Trust Anyone

Well, it appears you just can't leave your doors open online. I left captcha off of my comment forms for as long as I could, but I haven't had a real comment in almost a year, at least not directly on my site, and I certainly haven't had a fraction as many as I have spam comments lately. It's not worth the trouble, I'm constantly being emailed now having to read how my useless blog is "Exactly the type of information" some robot is looking for and how much they appreciate my contributions and wont I please visit their porn site, etc.

I am strongly considering turning off comments entirely, really. I haven't had a real one in so long.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Upgrades And AMD APUs

For the third year in a row I'm incredibly disappointed with AMDs APU offerings. The processors themselves are just fine. They're adequately powered for a low level gaming machine, and their quality ranges from playing all games at low settings and low resolution to playing all games at medium setting and high resolution or high settings and medium resolution. The problem is really with the upgrades. A decent video card in a complete system is a stepping stone, as long as the socket is compatible. The PCIE-16x has been pretty standard for a while and even among the graphics PCIE slots there has been a lot of inter compatibility. I've been able to pop in just about any video card that's come out for years and years now. Same with the AMD 2, 2+, 3, and 3+, each and every one of these sockets offered a wide range of chips that scaled from entry level to high end.

And this is where the APUs have just flat out failed, three years in a row all the socket has changed, limiting you to inside of a single generation of chips. You've cut out every prior generation of consumers from upgrading in any meaningful way. They can't upgrade the processor without changing the motherboard, at all. And if you upgrade your video card on its own you're torn between a very tiny Crossfire upgrade or an expensive upgrade that totally discounts your system's APU graphics core. You certainly can't use one of the new APUs. When this happened in the first generation it was upsetting, but three generations in a row is unforgivable. AMD APUs are off my list, it's not happening again. I'm not going to buy another system that requires a full system rebuild every year for a modest increase in performance. Because when you get down to it, the third generation APUs are nice, but they're not nice enough to justify a third new motherboard and processor to run them.

As for the upgrade route, I'm currently using an A-10 6800k, I ended up deciding to grab a 6670 GPU for my Steam Box, a decent little card that will give me a modest crossfire performance boost for my APU. I really can't wait to see how much improvement I get to milk out of the combination. Would be nice to see a really good improvement in Crysis 2 and Skyrim, the two benchmarks I've been using lately. The new A-10 7850k is just absolutely not worth the system rebuild cost. It'd be close to 250$ for a performance increase of a fraction of what an equivalently priced video card would offer.

By the way, Ninja hoodies are pretty cool, I love mine.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Thinking About Things

So, I've been thinking a lot about movies and books where the characters clearly voice one opinion, intended as the message of the story, but the actions clearly paint a different picture.

This one was kind of a weird monster. All of the narrative problems aside, and any of the other things you might not have liked about this movie, one thing it did really poorly was stick to its message. It tried to explore the idea of a machine with a consciousness and a life as valuable as a human being. And then at the end it sacrifices the machine specifically to save a human being, showing which one of them is really a person.

You're as good as real people, unless one of the real people needs a new heart.

A really good experience comes from a cohesiveness, where the film says its messages subtextually as well as overtly. Terminator salvation was particularly disappointing because it came from the otherwise excellent Terminator franchise. Take Terminator 2 for instance. The future is what is important, not any one person regardless of emotional attachment. They say this over and over again, and then they repeat it in the subtext, any character can die as long as they accomplish the goal of saving the world from Skynet. And in the end, to prevent the world from repeating its mistakes, the terminator destroys itself, because it has to.

Terminator Salvation could have made a similar argument, but they didn't, really. They didn't even look for other solutions. The machine was a convenient sacrifice.

I'll spend some time thinking of other movies where the message differs from the underlying values of the story.
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