[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Friday, 2013-11-01

Ender’s Game review

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 20:22
Ender's Game

Just got back from seeing Ender’s Game (in IMAX!). I really liked it — enough to see again (when it comes to DVD or Netflix), which is quite rare for me. A couple of scenes felt a bit overwrought and artificial (conversation in car, conversation on raft), but other than that, I think the dialogue and the acting conveyed the characters very well. I sympathized with almost everyone.

My only complaint — and it’s a small one — is that this seemed too much movie to squeeze into the time allotted. The screenwriter did a splendid job of it, in my opinion, but I can’t help but think that, like Dune, this much story really needs to be a miniseries to be done justice (but not a series of movies, like The Hobbit, which is like too little butter spread over too much bread).

But that’s a minor criticism. Ender’s Game is really good movie, worth seeing in a theater (although maybe IMAX is overdoing it, what with the EXTREME CLOSE-UPS).

Happy Vixen

Filed under: Family — bblackmoor @ 12:50
Happy Vixen

Someone is really happy to have her cone off. 🙂 It’s an animated GIF: click the image to see it full size.

Thursday, 2013-10-24

Russell Brand on voting and revolution

Filed under: Journalism,Politics — bblackmoor @ 08:58

Most of the time, we know Russell Brand as the goofball douche-monster best known for his (former) drug use, promiscuity, and obnoxiousness (oh, and his brief marriage to Katy Perry). But when the guy gets up on his soap box, he can be lethal, as these MSNBC anchors found at in June when he humiliated them on live television. The guy can display moments of pure brilliance, and when he gets a head of steam behind him on social and political issues, he’s one of the most charming, eloquent, and thoughtful guys in the entertainment industry.

Take, for example, this interview with Russell Brand with Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman on the BBC yesterday. Paxman basically tries to shame Brand for broadcasting his political opinions despite the fact that Brand doesn’t vote, and Brand does a brilliant job of upending his argument, demonstrating why voting in this system doesn’t amount of a hill of goddamn beans given all the injustice of the economic disparities we are facing.

(from Underestimate the Intelligence of Russell Brand at Your Own Peril, Pajiba)

I have been voting since I was old enough to do so, but I confess that I, too, have suffered from “weariness and exhaustion from the lies, treachery and deceit of the political class that has been going on for generations.” I think he’s entirely too optimistic about the possibility of change, though. Power exists to perpetuate itself, and I am not aware of any effort to restructure society in a more egalitarian fashion that has been successful.

To me, voting is like trying to affect the trajectory of a bowling ball by leaning to one side while it rolls down the lane. It accomplishes nothing, but it makes me feel better.

P.S. Here’s a follow-up video shared with me by Roger Carden.

Saturday, 2013-10-19

Cult Movie Night — Burnt Offerings/Legend of Hell House

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 13:10
Legend Of Hell House

The theme for Cult Movie Night this month was “haunted houses”. The first movie was one of the films that scared me the most as a kid, Burnt Offerings, starring Oliver Reed, Karen Black, and Bette Davis. One of the things I really liked about Burnt Offerings is that (spoilers!) the haunted house wins. That’s pretty unusual, even today.

The second movie was Legend Of Hell House, starring one of my favorite actors, Roddy McDowell. I love Roddy McDowell in just about everything, and he really excels in this. He’s the only person who keeps his head together from start to finish, and he turns out to be the hero of the movie (although he doesn’t start out that way).

One of the things that I found really entertaining was how effortlessly he shrugged off the ghost-possessed sexual advances of the female cast. Of course, we know now that McDowell was gay, so those scenes have a level of irony that the director might not have intended. We don’t know whether whether McDowell’s character was gay (unless we’ve read the novel, which I have not), but when the ghost-possessed temptresses fail and fail and fail again in their attempts to seduce him, you can just imagine the ghost’s frustration at McDowell’s apparently indomitable willpower. (“What is it with this guy? Is he made of stone?”)

Next month’s theme: 1995 Ice-T movies! What’s that? You didn’t know that was a genre? Sure it is!

Wednesday, 2013-09-25

A Monster In Paris

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 07:54
A Monster In Paris

Not too long ago, I spent a day watching animated films I’d never seen before on NetFlix, including The Great Mouse Detective, Hercules, The Emperor’s New Groove, and a movie I had never heard of before, A Monster in Paris. While I enjoyed the other three movies well enough, the best of these, to my surprise, was the movie I had never heard of.

In Paris in 1910, during a city-wide flood, four friends experience adventure and discover love when two of them accidentally create a giant monster in a brilliant scientist’s laboratory. I do not wish to tell you any more, because I would like you to discover this wonderful film for yourself.

A Monster In Paris is a beautiful, charming film, with humor and a heart that is too often lacking in American films (most Pixar films being the exceptions). One of the Amazon reviews refers to this an as “undiscovered pearl”, and I couldn’t agree more.

Friday, 2013-09-13

The banality of evil

Filed under: Movies,Society — bblackmoor @ 07:48
The Girl Next Door

Watched “(Jack Ketchum’s) The Girl Next Door”. It’s based (very loosely) on the true story of a girl who was tortured to death by her guardian and some neighbor children. Netflix called this a “thriller”. It’s not a thriller. It’s not a mystery, or a whodunnit, or a suspense film, either: it’s horror. Unlike most horror, it does not depict evil as smart, strong, sexy, or suave. That kind of evil exists only in fiction. “The Girl Next Door” shows the kind of evil that actually exists in the real world, and it’s utterly banal.

In the real world, evil isn’t Hannibal Lecter. In the real world, evil is a pathetic wretch that abuses children.

Thursday, 2013-08-29

One small step toward sanity

Filed under: Intellectual Property,Politics,Software — bblackmoor @ 10:15

New Zealand has finally passed a new Patents Bill that will effectively outlaw software patents after five years of debate, delay, and intense lobbying from multinational software vendors.
What’s hot on ZDNet

Aptly named Commerce Minister Craig Foss welcomed the modernisation of the patents law, saying it marked a “significant step towards driving innovation in New Zealand”.

“By clarifying the definition of what can be patented, we are giving New Zealand businesses more flexibility to adapt and improve existing inventions, while continuing to protect genuine innovations,” Foss said.

The nearly unanimous passage of the Bill was also greeted by Institute of IT Professionals (IITP) chief executive Paul Matthews, who congratulated Foss for listening to the IT industry and ensuring that software patents were excluded.

Matthews said it was a breakthrough day “where old law met modern technology and came out on the side of New Zealand’s software innovators”.

(from New Zealand bans software patents, ZDNet)

One small step on the long road to sanity. A few more steps I would like seen taken:

  • Eliminate patents on life forms or portions of life forms
  • Eliminate trademarks on fictional characters (copyright covers those)
  • Eliminate “works for hire” (the abuse of which has been rampant for decades)
  • Shorten copyright protection to a reasonable period (20 to 30 years is more than generous)

Of course, if these steps are ever taken, the USA will be the last to take them. When it comes to sanity with respect to patent, trademark, and copyright, I look toward New Zealand and the European Union to lead the way to a more reasonable future.

Wednesday, 2013-08-28

Rules for Hollywood

Filed under: Movies — bblackmoor @ 18:45
Movie and popcorn

Good morning, afternoon, or evening, Mr. or Ms. Hollywood producer. Thank you for coming. I present to you seven rules that you must follow from now on. No, sorry: there are no exceptions. Policy, you see.

  1. Do not use the “fade to black” transition more than once per minute during any theatrical trailer.
  2. Hold the camera still while filming. If the camera operator is not capable of holding the camera still, enroll them in a drug treatment program until their shakes go away.
  3. Do not remake any movie that was good the last time it was made. One good version of any film is sufficient.
  4. You may make a film version of a TV show, but the film must belong to the same genre as the television show: if the TV show was a drama, the film must be a drama; if the TV show was a comedy, the film must be a comedy.
  5. You must wait at least two years before releasing another movie about a superhero in which the same actor plays that hero.
  6. You must wait at least ten years before releasing another movie about a superhero if the actor playing the character has changed since the last time.
  7. Some day we will all look like a cross between Terrence Howard and Kristin Kreuk, but until then, at least make an effort to match up the appearance of the actor with the appearance of the character. Don’t cast pasty white Englishmen as Indians. You might even try casting an Indian as an Indian.

We may add new rules here from time to time, so please check back periodically. Ignorance will not be an excuse for failing to follow these rules.

Thank you.

Kel-Tec KSG 12 ga. shotgun

Filed under: Firearms — bblackmoor @ 11:37

If I hadn’t just dropped way too much money on a couple of courses, I would seriously consider picking up one of these. I haven’t bought (or even wanted to buy) a new firearm in years, but this is a really neat design. I don’t hunt, so the fact it wouldn’t be legal to hunt with is not important to me.

Thursday, 2013-08-22

8th Annual Blackmoor Halloween Party

Filed under: Family,Friends — bblackmoor @ 20:52

You may have been cordially invited to the 8th Annual Blackmoor Halloween Party! If so, keep reading. If not, avert your eyes!

Costumes are encouraged! Snacks, drinks, and Halloween Chili will be provided. If you have special dietary needs or are prone to complain about what is offered, bring your own.

You may bring guests and/or children, but you are responsible for their behavior.

We have abundant amounts of room, including a couple of private rooms. Regardless of where you sleep, you will need to bring your own bedding (such as a sleeping bag or inflatable mattress). You may also reserve a room at the nearby Best Western Plus Crossroads Inn & Suites.

Please RSVP, so that we can plan appropriately. Thanks!

6 PM, Saturday, November 2, 2012
Let us know if you want to arrive early!

Castle Blackmoor
70 Starling Ln.
Troy, VA 22974-3278

« Previous PageNext Page »