Tuesday, December 28, 2004

DVD review I, Robot

Are you decommissioned?

Grab your popcorn, sit back and enjoy this action packed sci-fi thriller. “I, Robot” delivers big budget special effects with strategic product placement and Will Smith’s backside. Those are true, time-tested marketing ploys to get some free press. Yes they worked.

“I, Robot” begins with an apparent suicide of an engineer pioneer for U.S. Robotics. Detective Spooner (Will Smith) is sent to investigate. Spooner has a reason to be suspicious of labor robots. Is that why he was chosen as the lead investigator? Someone is trying to leave him clues to a classic robot mystery. (Who operates the robots?)

The NS4 robots are about to replaced with the newer updated model NS5s. Everyone wants and gets one. Hold your flux capacitor, those pesky NS5 models have a secret. One NS5 model (Sonny) is the prime suspect. What. A robot.

The NS4 robots have three rules: Rule #1,Obey humans, Rule #2, Protect humans from harm! Rule #3, everything else not covered by Rule #1 and 2.
Of course human nature must tend its ugly hand. Detective Spooner and Director of Robot Relations Susan (Bridget Moynahan) join forces to destroy (Not kill) the NS5s.

Is this film a premonition of the future of our society? The labor robots do everything from cooking, cleaning and pleasure dealing for humans. Who cares! Can I get one now!

This film utilized mostly green screen acting. Not even noticeable with the actors. The “Making of” is interesting and divulges the green men. The bonus features include upcoming movie trailers of “Electra” and “Robots.”

Monday, December 27, 2004

Reggie White # 92

Being a Green Bay Packer fan for life, I am very sad at the passing of Packer legend Reggie White. "Reggie" gave the Packer organization a rebirth when he signed to come to Green Bay.
The Lombardi trophy could not be achieved without him. I am glad that I had a chance to see him play in person. Reggie touched many people with his heart and leadership in this community. I will always remember meeting him at our company party. He spoke of his accomplishments and family. That day he touched everyone with his heartfelt honesty.

Let him in the NFL Hall of Fame this year!

My condolences go out to his family and friends.
He will be missed!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

"The Bourne Supremacy" DVD review

Suspense thriller that delivers!

I enjoyed the first Jason Bourne movie “The Bourne Identity“. The sequel “The Bourne Supremacy” continues on the same premise and follows Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) five years later. Someone is trying to assassinate him at his secluded beach area of India. Now he must find out who is trying to eliminate him. And find out why!
Jason Bourne is still uncertain of who he is and where he came from. He is a government trained assassin and slowly regaining his memory. He must get answers from his boss and the top secret government program that put a hit on him. (Trenchmark) Jason Bourne is very intelligent and resourceful of his surroundings. Corruption is rampant. Who is going to clean up these loose ends?
"Supremacy" is action packed and filmed with the viewer in mind. This movie is filmed with close up action and cameras everywhere. This movie is a pure suspense thriller that fulfills the bill. Joan Allen (Pamela Landy), Julia Styles (Nicky), Karl Urban (Kirill) and Franka Potente (Marie) are outstanding in their supporting roles.
I found out that the Director Paul Greengrass (Bloody Sunday, 2002) deliberately tries to get the viewer in each action scene. Handheld cameras where used a lot and Matt Damon did all of his stunts which makes this film entertaining.
I recommend purchasing this DVD because of the behind the scenes commentary.
What I liked the most of the bonus features were the ten minute featurettes of each subject matter. Topics like action fight scenes, Go-mobile (car chases), Explosives and what is it like filming in each country. All of these subjects were commented on by director, actors and producers. Kudos to the producers for filming in the actual city and country of location: Germany, India, Russia, Italy and United States.
Most bonus features on DVDs contain one long “Making of” feature. And you have to weed through some long commentary to find something of interest. Not on this DVD, that’s why I recommend purchasing this DVD.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

"The United States of Leland" DVD review.

Can "Why" actually be answered?

“Why” is open to everyone! The United States of Leland is about Leland P. Fitzgerald; a teenager who just killed his girlfriend’s mentally challenged younger brother. How does this affect everyone around Leland? This movie explores those different points of view.
The United States of Leland is written and directed by Matthew Ryan Hoge. Don Cheadle (Pearl) and Ryan Gosling (Leland) are the major actors. Pearl is a writer/teacher with aspirations of writing another novel that is actually read by someone this time. He meets Leland in a youth detention center. Pearl befriends Leland hoping to get what no other person could get a “Why!”
Ryan Gosling does an outstanding portrayal of Leland. Leland leaves you thinking about your own father. And leaves unanswered questions in your own head: How can a seemingly “good” kid be a cold-blooded killer? How come he can’t remember the murder?
Kevin Spacey plays Leland’s fatherless father (Albert T. Fitzgerald) and best-selling author. Mr. Spacey also is part of the production company for this movie. (Tigger Street Productions) Albert cares little about his son Leland, but is trying to get his next bestseller out of him.
Do I dare to categorize this as an artsy movie! I guess it depends on what the definition of an artsy movie is. Does it make you think after seeing it? Does it answer life’s questions?
Can a movie do that? All I know is that it got me thinking.
What is replaying in my head from this movie; “To be a writer someone has to actually read your sh$t!” Pearl says.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Why are there so many BAD drivers?

There are drivers who intentionally cut you off, speed up when you are trying to pass them, slow down when you catch up to them and have the audacity to give you the one finger salute.

It is a game played on the highways and byways of America and abroad. You see drivers looking in the rear view mirror when trying to turn left when they should worry about oncoming traffic. That scenario is a accident waiting to happen. That car is usually t-boned at the intersection. Why? Are you worried about the car behind you? What for? Look at the oncoming traffic. And please get through the intersection as fast as possible. Another t-bone waiting to happen!

What about drivers who actually stay in your blind spot? Do they even know about a blind spot? I actually wonder if they do, because they would be in the accident also. Please stay out of other drivers blind spot! Don't even try to stay on the side of eighteen wheeler. But I see it every day on the freeway.

Where do some drivers get their license? Or do they have one.
I am a defensive driver. I know that. I anticipate what could happen at any given time. I assume that each car on the road is a hazard waiting to happen.

On the other hand, if you are a offensive driver, you probably don't care about anybody else on the road. You are too busy trying to get to "your" destination. Speeding is your game.

You ask, "What about Road Rage?" I will report that after I have tried it.

Until we meet again; ON THE ROAD! Four days til Christmas!

Writer. Wannabe.

"To be a writer someone has to actually read your sh@$T!", this tidbit from the movie The United States of Leland sticks in my head.

Who actually is reading? Fans. Fanatics. Psychos. Literature critics.

I would say all of the above. But does the writer actually care? Probably not.

Writing is an escape. Log. Time frame. Required. Way of life. Experience. Different things to different people.

Can you write? Everyone can!

Will someone read it?

Monday, December 20, 2004

Smile! Posted by Hello

Collateral (Widescreen 2004) DVD review

Well filmed!

This film is a classic Michael Mann signature genre hit. You know when a serial killer always has a signature. That signature will always be there. Can you see it? Can you feel it? “Collateral” is a signature Michael Mann crime thriller film all the way.

“Collateral” is about a contract killer (Tom Cruise) who has ten hours to kill five people in Los Angeles. The unfortunate cab driver Max (Jamie Foxx) is in the wrong place wrong time when his next fair is Vincent (Mr. Cruise) For a mere $600.00, Max is thrust into driving this hired killer around to each contract or be killed himself. Vincent must be a killing machine to take five people in ten-hour scenario. And he IS.

Tom Cruise absorbs Vincent’s character and brings him to life. Vincent is well schooled and rehearsed in combat, tactical recovery and covert operations. (And he utilizes them all!) The interaction between Max and Vincent is like a clash of opposite polar forces. Different views, personalities and upbringing are topics of discussion. Jamie Foxx plays Max’s character superbly. Max’s growth in the film is only supported by Jamie’s vastly improved acting skills. Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx work well together in this film.

The film takes on a “24” feel for time. But the length of the film is actually two hours. Jada Pinkett Smith takes on a supporting role as a prosecuting attorney. She compliments Foxx’s on screen personality.

If you are a Michael Mann fan, you will not be disappointed with this film. Who doesn’t like Tom Cruise? Jamie Foxx? Okay then see it!

Purchase the widescreen DVD only. Don’t miss this bonus feature; “City of Night: The Making of Collateral” features the actual lead actors discussing their roles. N-I-C-E.

Packer Mondays!

When the Green Bay Packers lose on Sunday, it is a very rough Monday morning. First you have to listen to all of the nay sayers. "I told you so!" Yeah, Yeah Okay they lost. But they are going to the playoffs this year again. We have two games to try to mend our porous defense.

The Jags did in the Pack yesterday. Brett Favre's interceptions. Yikes!

Can the defense, turnovers and penalties be fixed in time for the playoffs? Time will tell.

I live and die with the Packer season. Ups and downs. Curve balls and maybe Dodgeball. My ranting and raving on this Monday comes at the hands of the Packers.

Work seems like WORK today. Maybe I should be doing some work.

Next up. The Minnesota Vikqueens on Christmas Eve. This is for the NFC North division title. I believe it can be done.

Now be quiet and get to work.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Entertaining! DVD review "The Chronicles of Riddick"

“Anger is a gift!” in the words of RATM. Sometimes you feel like crushing and slashing anything in your path. What! Someone cut me off on the highway. While I ought to! Are holiday shoppers pushing and shoving their way to the front of the check out line without conscience? Right in front of you! Can you believe the madness?

“The Chronicles of Riddick” continues the story of a Furian boldly named Riddick (Vin Diesel). Riddick from “Pitch Black” fame emerges from hiding due to an aggressive, money hungry bounty hunter Toombs (Nick Chinlund). Riddick slashes his way back into the limelight on the planet Helion Prime. He confronts a world conquering Lord Marshal (Colm Feore), a Necromonger, who is trying to assimilate planets into his Underverse way of life. The Necromongers are “Death from above” brainwashed assimilated, conquered planet members. (What’s that?)

Riddick jumps to the forefront to help save the world from being conquered. With his night vision sight and unfazed confidence, Riddick fights his way to the final showdown. (Sight unseen)
This movie has awesome special effects and fight scenes. The very hot, hot Crematoria planet jail escape is like putting your hand in a freezer for an hour, then in a butane blue torch flame.

I will patiently wait in line to purchase this DVD as pure entertainment. Enough said!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Scratch-offs and Instant Lottery tickets!

Scratch-off or Instant Lottery tickets
How do I increase my odds of winning?
Research scratch off games. Do a history search on each game.
The majority of states have online websites that post paid out big winners of each scratch off that is in play. Find out if your state does. There is start date and a date to redeem by for each scratch off in play. If there are any big winners left in pool, play that scratch off.
On the State’s lottery website look for Scratch offs (Scratchers, Instants, Lottery Instants) click on page, then look for unclaimed prizes or claims remaining. Here you will find valuable information regarded remaining big winners available for each scratch off. Some lotteries will only give you big winners remaining as whole. This information does not tell you what amount is needed to determine what a big winner is. It could be as little as $25.00. Call your lottery office to clarify this information.
On the other hand, some lotteries websites (i.e. Minnesota, Washington) will break down each individual scratch offs tiers for the big prize per dollars paid out. (1 of 4 paid out for $1000.00) Click around lotteries website until you find were they post this valuable information. If you can’t find any payout history call lottery offices to see if they offer that on their website. They might only have a hard copy available. Request this payout information for the scratch off that you are going to play.
Each state must have a payout history for each scratch off game. This information might not be available to the public, but it should be. This policy can be changed to favor the scratch off player. Some states offer this already, but it is not publicized. The state lotteries want to keep it low profile. If the payout history for "in play games" is not available write to your state representatives to change this policy. Or just to ask "why!"
Certain scratch offs are played only in designated areas. Look for local or city only areas and not statewide availability scratch offs. Play the scratch off with less location availability. Smaller pools or total number of scratch offs can be determined by looking at the overall odds for the scratch off. Add up all of the tiers or dollar payouts into a dollar amount. This is your total payout. Find the required percentage of payout amount mandated by the state. This is in the Annual Report area. Generally payout percentages are between 60% to 80%. The remaining is profit. Multiply this percentage to the total scratch off payout to get the total number of scratch offs. Play the scratch off with the lowest number of tickets. Each lottery website should have a list of vendors that sell lottery scratch offs. Call each vendor to see if they have that particular scratch off.
As a note, the annual report breaks down the percentage of lottery revenues that goes to profits, charities, education, funds, fees etc. Each state mandates where your lottery dollar goes.
All new scratch offs have a date to start play. Not all scratch offs have a big publicized start date. Maybe you have seen some of them in commercials and radio announcements. "Play this scratch off and win!" The scratch off is probably associated with a big business partner and the business is trying to get some major publicity. This scratch off is probably very huge in total ticket count and available statewide. Look for scratch offs that start without any public notice. Look for a start date and then ask vendors for that particular ticket. Play that scratch off. You know all of the big winners are still available.

Review of movie "The Terminal"

Ensemble cast of characters!

If you see Tom Hanks associated with any movie you think to yourself “This is going to be a good or great movie.” Then you see who the director is; Stephen Spielberg. Yeah, this is going to be a great, can’t miss movie. Right.

The Terminal is about Victor Navorski (Tom Hanks) who is trying to get to New York for a family wish. He is from the fictitious Middle Eastern country Krakozia. While trying to get through customs his country is coup d’etat. Now the United States does not recognize his country, so Victor must stay in the International Arrivals Terminal until his country is recognized or go back to his country under siege.

New York’s Kennedy Airport is the backdrop for The Terminal. A plethora of characters cross the path of Victor. All of these characters fit well into their supporting roles. Stanley Tucci as the hard core Terminal Director who wants Victor out of his terminal at any cost and Catherine Zeta-Jones as a mistress flight attendant stand out. But the housekeeping worker steals the show.

This movie has a cute story that gave me some laughs with a touching plot ending. See this movie for the ensemble of actors. The movie is filmed in realistic terminal conditions. Kudos to Mr. Spielberg!http://www.don-d-basina.com